Monday, July 31, 2006

Indonesia In-Country Orientation - Best Practice Institute 2006

On Thursday, July 27 2006, the Best Practice Participants from Aceh and Riau got together for the orientation program in the English Resource Center at Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia Bandung. In this short program the participants went through some material that will be needed for teh Fall Best Practice Institute 2006 in East West Center, Honolulu, USA. The participants are: Usman Kasim, Muhammad Yamin, Sukmayati dan Eridafithri from Banda Aceh; and Ernofalina from Pekanbaru, Riau. They were introduced to East West Center, Asia Pacific Education and Best Practice Institute Programs. Furthermore, they discussed the Best Practice Theories such as differentiated instruction, reflective assessment, authentic assessment, constructivism, integrated learning, multiple intelligences, and technology integration. They also went through their favorite lesson plans that they will focus to re-work during this year's institute. Hopefully they will be inspired by the institute to continue growing as teachers and educators. Good luck guys!

Monday, July 17, 2006

East-West Center Alumni Bandung Gathering

On July 16, 2006, the Indonesian Best Practice participants got together at D'Palm restaurant in Jalan Lombok Bandung. In the photo you can see from left to right: Candra, Iwan, Nia, Senny, Kanty, Edi and Yudi.
We discussed our action plans as the EWCA and APED alumni. We rejuveniled our commitment to share what we have learned at the Best Practice Institute to our community in Indonesia. Most of the programs we talked about are workshops and teacher training. We plan to do it in Lampung this September and also in Bandung.
There were 3 refelction questions during this gathering:
1. How has the program helped you in your personal and career development?
2. What have you done differently after the program?
3. What are the problems you found in implementing Best Practice ideas?
They took the questions home and made some refelction to them.
Also, this gathering was the farewell moment for Iwan. Yes, it was Iwan's last gathering with the EWCA and APED alumni before leaving for the US in August. Thank you guys for everything. Good luck with our programs. Keep it up and make it even better. Everybody agreed to have Nia as the new facilitator/coordinator. The legacy has been passed on...

Education on Air @Radio Maestro Bandung 92,5 FM.

How sweet the sound! That's the tag line of Maestro FM radio. Every Tuesday, from July 2005 - April 2006, I was the coordinator and the resource person for Education on Air program in this radio. We talked about educational issues for 2 hours every Tuesday. It wsa also aimed at improving the awareness of the community regarding the modern educational teaching and learning philosophy. There were a lot of topics that we discussed. From multiple intelligences learning system, critical thinking, media literacy, assessment, national exam, educational system in various countries, cultivating the love of reading to children, cooperative learning, family learning, etc. Once in a while we also invited guest speakers to our show, from educators to novelists. I can say that it was fun and at the same time a breakthrough to reach the community and spark their interests regarding critical issues in the area of education.

Multiple Intelligences at a Glance - Teacher Workshop Nov 2005

Another last year flashback story. It's about a workshop that I conducted. On November 26, 2005 there was a workshop on multiple intellignces for fellow teachers at at West Java Junior High School English Teachers Training. A follow-up action plan program, 2005 Fall Best Practice Institute participants Iwan Syahril, and Anke Dewi Ratna Kania led the workshop called "Multiple Intelligences at a Glance," facilitated by Yudi Taryadi. This workshop brought the participants to realize the importance of multiple intellignces framework and how to apply it in English teaching setting. Although it was quite short, we managed to spark a lot of interest towards the end, and inspired the teachers to reflect on their teaching using the MI framework.

Vermont, Fall 2005. Visiting Woodstock Union High School.

I was so lucky to visit Vermont in Fall. Although it wasn't the best Fall ever in Vermont (the foliage was not perfect), but still it was Vermont. It was deadly gorgeous! Beautiful!
I stayed with Dr. Hasse Halley during my stay here. I met Steve, her husband and Goland, the grandchild. It was a unique experience for me because I am a Moslem and they are Jewish. Guess what? They treated me very well and with full respect. I felt very special to have this kind of experience. I will always remember this throughout my life. Well, during my visit here I observed how teaching and learning is conducted in some schools, joined some teacher meetings, talked to some educators, and met the community. I also watched the American football game and ice-hockey game. It was really fun. Our hosts, Hasse Halley, Keri Bristow, John Hiers and Gerry Hawkes were so flexible in arranging our activities there. And I celebrated Thanksgiving again. It was my second time celebrating Thanksgiving (my first time was in Canada, 1996). It was great. We had a big dinner and talked to some community members. We were also interviewed by a reporter and the next day our picture appeared in the local newspaper.
I made a series of talks and presentations about Indonesia and the daily life in my city. I even had the audience played some games and sang a song called 'Di Sini Senang, Di Sana Senang' (I am happy here, there, everywhere). I also taught Saman Dance (A thousand hands dance) to the dance class. The audience looked excited and asked a few questions about Indonesia. Well, this was the part of being 'the ambassador' of my country huh? I guess my undergraduate study in International Relations was quite useful too.
Oh, I also visited the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site in Plymouth, Vermont. It was special too because I felt that they really take care of the historical sites very well. It felt like the history is so alive. This is what lacking in Indonesia. Many historical sites just go wasted and people, especially the young generation, don't really know the history of their country well. It's a big homework for us. I am sure if we learn to respect it more and take a good care of the historical sites, it will bring a great positive impact to the young generation and the future generation.
By the way, there was a unique episode during my visit to Vermont. I was brought to the emergency room at Dartmouth Hospital in Hannover, because the allergic reaction to shrimp. It was strange for me because I ate shrimp quite regularly and it was ok. I guess on that day I was quite exhausted, having done 7 presentations and visited a farm. I guess my body was very weak and bamm.. there it blasted....boy, it wasn't nice at all....
I also visited Boston together with the other participants and with our hosts, Gerry, Keri and John. We went to Harvard Square, Harvard Libarary and Project Zero!!! Man, I was so thrilled to be there. I felt that Boston has some kind of aura and I felt so connected with it. I felt that I would love to live in Boston. I met Professor Peter Kiang, a Harvard graduate and the Director of Asian Studies at University of Massachussetts. He took me for a Harvard tour. It was so special to meet him.
I bought a lot of books in Harvard Square. Actually Peter bought me some (thanks a lot Peter!)and I bought some more. The prices were not that cheap actually although I went to some second-hand bookstores. I bought books about multiple intelligences and differentiated instruction.
Vermont was so special. The people that I met made it even a lot more special. My sincerest gratitude to Hasse and Steve Halley, Keri Bristow, John Hiers, Karen and Gerry Hawkes, Johanna and Donald Harpster, Mrs.Lewis, and the whole teaching staff at WUHS, Reinhart and Wittie and Neil Geinsberg (who travelled all the way from New York) and last but not least Peter Kiang who made me hooked into Boston.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Fall Best Practice Institute 2005 - EAST WEST CENTER, Honolulu - PICTURES

Fall 2005 Pictures in Honolulu. It was fabulous...!

Fall Best Practice Institute 2005 - EAST WEST CENTER, Honolulu

Fall 2005. Surprisingly, I went back to Honolulu! This time it was a program specially designed for teachers from Indonesia and Thailand. It took place from Sept 30 - Oct 20 2005. Initially my main role was just as the 'In-country Coordinator' for Indonesia. I gave some assistance to help the selected teachers to prepare themselves for the program. Finally, I was chosen to be the participant myself.
As soon as I arrived in Honolulu, I said to myself "Boy, I was here just yesterday! It felt like home." Yeah, I felt that Honolulu was my secondhome already. Everything looked so familiar.
However, this time was a bit different than the previous one. First, we stayed at a hotel, Double Tree Alana Hotel, not in the dormitory (I missed the dormitory!). Second, of course the people were different than before. So it was a different chemistry.
For the first week, we met our host schools in the US, went to 'Au Puaa', the cultural nature conservation in Oahu, and learned more about best practices. We learned about KWL, Jigsaw, Backward Design Lesson Planning, Incorporating Technology into Teaching, Improving Reading and Writing Skills, Five Step Process, Primary Sources, Differentiated Instructions, Multiple Intelligences, Lesson Planning, and Rubric Development. Wow, it was quite overwhelming, considering we were fasting at that time. Yup, it was Ramadhan at that time. We had to get up quite early, at around 3 or 4 to have our early breakfast and then slept again before we got on the bus to go to East West Center at 8 o'clock. Not to mention that we also wanted to explore Honolulu after the afternoon sessions was over. The ladies enjoyed shopping in the Chinatown and Waikiki.
Anyway at the end of the first week we flew to our host school. There were 6 host schools; Maine West High School, Illinois; Woodstock High School, Vermont; Metropolitan Learning Center, Connecticut; Scarsdale High School, New York; East Canton Elementary School, Ohio; Olympic High School, North Carolina. I myself went to Vermont! Yeah, I was very lucky. It was Fall, and I was in Vermont. BEAUTIFUL!
Our host was very nice. Hasse Halley, John Hiers, Keri Bristow, Gerry Hawkes and Karen Hawkes as well as the school principal Joanna Harpster. I learned a lot during my stay here. I will write more about my experience in Vermont in a different section.
I got back to Honolulu on Saturday October 15. We started the session on the following Monday. We shared a lot about our observation in each school. We collaborated in making a project, both Thai and Indonesian teachers. We used rubrics before we did our presentation. It was a wonderful and unforgettable experience for me. I learned a lot more and again the community of teachers from across the globe initiated by AsiaPacificEd, East-West Center grew even bigger. I know that one day we will meet again, and we will collaborate again and learn from each other again. Towards a Global Sustainable Learning Community!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Summer Best Practice Institute 2005 - EAST-WEST CENTER, Honolulu. - PICTURES

Wonderful moments, Honolulu July-August 2005. East-West Center.

Summer Best Practice Institute 2005 - EAST-WEST CENTER, Honolulu.

After the Kagan Summer Academy in Florida, I went straight to Honolulu to attend East-West Center's Best Practice Institute 2005. It was held from 25 July - 6 August 2005. There were two participants from Indonesia, Sofiyandi (English teacher, SMA 21 Bandung) and myself. We were engaged through a series of activities with the theme: "Integrating Southeast Asia into curriculum". We worked collaboratively through a number of projects with educators not only from the US, but also from Thailand, Australia, Korea, China, and Cambodia. I learned a lot about things like: the history and culture of Southeast Asian countries including my own country Indonesia, primary resources, blogger, picassa, integrating technology into lessons and lesson planning ideas. Moreover, towards the end of the institute I was involved in a team called TEAM REX where we created a project with the theme: Connecting Teens in the US and Teens in Indonesia. My lovely teammates were Adrienne Almeida (New York) and Leia Brooks (Missouri). We used "wayang kulit" (shadow puppet) as our media. It was so fun and again I learned a lot from my teammates too.
The funny thing was I learned a lot more about my country from foreign experts like Barbara Andaya, Jean Johnson and Leonard Andaya. They were so fluent talking about the history and the culture of Indonesia, a lot of which I didn't know before. I also visited a Kapolei Middle School where I met the principal Annette Nishikawa. I also made friends with many of the participants which we still stay in touch up to the present time. I can say that we have built a community of educators through this program. We share ideas, concerns, and success stories. It is true that we are now living in a Global Village!I feel that the impact of the program is so huge towards my professional development. Thank you very much to Namji Steinemenn (Director of AsiaPacificEd, EastWest Center) and her staff, Soo Boo Tan, Emily Lee and Grant Otoshi who made it possible for me to attend this wonderful prgram. Mahalo!

Kagan Summer Academy 2005

Here how it started last year. I was awarded a scholarship to attend Kagan Summer Academy in Lake Buena Viesta, Orlando, Florida, USA. It was held 17 July until 22 July 2005. I took part in 2 courses, "Cooperative Learning" and "Multiple Intelligences". It was so fruitful and many things made more sense to me. I got loads of ideas especially on how to apply multiple intelligences in the classroom. Kagan is just fantastic. They have done the things that teachers really need; tranforming the brilliant educational modern theories into classroom practical applications. I highly recommend Kagan workshops to all of you who are interested in finding classroom ideas, especially in the areas of multiple intelligences, cooperative learning, higher-level of thinking, brain-based instruction, and win-win discipline. Not only that! Kagan also provides us with many resources on teaching, learning and school administration. I feel so lucky to have joined Kagan workshops. One of the reasons of why I feel very confident about the educational issues that I have been exploring is having participated Kagan workshops. Oh, btw, I also met a lot of educators from across the globe; Holland, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, Ekuador, and of course, the USA.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Monday, 3 July 2006, there was a dynamic and inspirational workshop on Multiple Intelligences at 9 Mutiara Elementary School, Bandung, facilitated by Iwan Syahril. Participants were engaged through a number of activities such as Multiple Intelligences (MI) at a Glance, MI Small Projects, and Matching Stretching and Celebrating Diversity! The projects were based on the Indonesian folk story, Timun Mas (Golden Cucumber). They had fun doing the activities while learning about what MI is all about and how to integrate MI into their lessons. They also created MI lesson plans using "Garbage" as the main theme. At the end of the workshop, a number of participants mentioned that the time was too short as they wanted to explore more about Multiple Intelligences. Wow, the MI inspiration has continued growing! More MI educators have been born...

BILINGUAL TEACHER TRAINING @SMP Taruna Bakti Bandung January - June 2006

Taruna Bakti Junior High School Bandung has decided to give a green light with the bilingual program starting next academic year (2006/2007). Therefore, there has been an intensive training for their teachers to equip themselves with the skills necessary to run a bilingual program. The training program, which took place in Jl. RE Martadinata 52 Bandung, started in January 2006 and ended in June 2006. It was run under the leadership of the Bilingual Program Coordinator, Ms. Anke Dewi Ratna Kania. Participants, who came from various teaching subjects, went through a series of lessons. They didn't only focus on their English language skills but also on a number of modern teaching methods, such as multiple intelligences, differentiated instruction, reflective assessment, portfolio assessment, higher-level of thinking, integrated curriculum, cooperative learning, thematic learning, teamteaching, student-teacher conference, communicative and interactive language learning, and negotiated syllabus. All of these methods were integrated and tailored throughout the whole program. The participants did a number of teamteaching. Towards the end, all teams used 'WATER' as their main theme and managed to make the real life connections to Bandung context while at the same time targetted the curriculum goals. This made their lesson alive! We got to count the water debit in our city, the history of Cikapundung river and how to count the bill from PDAM (Local state-owned water company). Fantastic!
The instructor, Iwan Syahril, was so pleased with the performance of the teachers as they have become more confident speakers of English, more autonomous learners and more enthusiastic risk-takers. They have grown, not only with their English but also with their teaching abilities. Well done guys, and good luck with the bilingual program!