The courtyard at SMA5 Bukittinggi overlooks the majestic mountain peaks, rolling rice fields, and scenic country roads for which the area is so famous. I would have enjoyed more time exploring this bucolic beauty, but Pak Haswin, the on-sight Radio Ed guru, kept me on task during my visit last week.
Before we stepped into the classroom, however, we took a step back to consider the feedback we’ve been getting about Radio Ed’s potential as a prep tool for the national exams. As Ibu Poppy stated during my visit to Bandung:
The most important part is to relate the materials with our present (national) standards.
Pak Haswin is responsible for translating these standards into curriculum that will prepare the entire 12th grade class of SMA 5 Bukittinggi for the national exam in May. We discussed the challenges of this process with Ibu Dian, the headmaster at SMA 5.
Listening and speaking hu? Sounds like radio to me!
If only it were that easy. The strengths of our program definitely match up with the weaknesses of the national curriculum. It’s just a matter of figuring out the most effective – and easiest – way to tune in to this potential. In other words, I’m the one that ended up with homework from this visit!
Inside the classroom, Pak Haswin was responding to the students’ interests as well as their needs. He chose a story about volcanoes for his Radio Ed session. The first interview in the story featured a villager from Java discussing why she was not afraid to live near an
active volcano. When she finished, Pak Haswin paused the CD, pointed out the window at the peak in the distance and asked with a rueful smile, “So what about you? Are you afraid to live so close to an active volcano?”
True or false: Most classrooms in Indonesia have access to relevant, up-to-date, and exciting teaching material? True – if you know where to look, or listen, according to teachers at the Radio for Education kickoff workshop in Bandung.
It was the first time I met our teaching team. But after just one session it was clear that – as Jim Collin’s would say – we have the right people on our bus!
To my surprise, the idea of using radio as a teaching tool clicked immediately with the group. After a brief introduction of our teaching component, RICE (Radio Informing Creative Education), the teachers took over, adapting and customizing the program to fit their teaching styles and classrooms.
Overall, I was very pleased with the workshop. If I could do it over again, however, I would have spent less time on cheesy acronyms and more time taking notes on all the teachers’ great ideas and improvements. This will definitely be the focus of my upcoming school visits. (I’ll be visiting each of the nine schools in our pilot program three times in the coming six months.)
Guest speakers included Radio Ed partners Tessa Piper from the Indonesian Association for Media Development and Ronald Stones, Director of the Putera Sampoerna Foundation United Schools program, as well as the host of Asia Calling, Rebecca Henske. These classy guest appearances were a breath of fresh air after my clip art charades.
“It’s exciting to be doing something new with what’s already there. That’s innovation and that’s what we want to see happening in our schools.” -Ronald Stones, Director of PSF United Schools program. Read full official press release here.