Tawa-Jakarta school connections

St Francis Xavier Catholic School principal Bernadette Murfitt and deputy principal Donna McDonald visited Indonesia in April on Asia New Zealand Foundation’s Indonesia Cultural Connections Trip. As part of the trip, they were given the opportunity to connect with a Catholic school in Jakarta in what they hope will be an ongoing relationship that will stimulate cultural learning for the students of both schools.
Kiwi teachers interact with Indonesian teachers and children on a cultural connections trip

The teachers got to visit a number of schools and talk to local teachers and students

Saint Francis Xavier School, with assistance from the Foundation, has been developing cultural connections with Asia over the past two years. As part of the programme, the Foundation’s education team has led curriculum development sessions designed to increase the level of Asia content taught at the school.

“We are committed to integrating knowledge associated with Asia into curriculum, which will lead to an in-depth cultural understanding for our students, staff and community,” Murfitt says.

As part of the Asia aware programme, the school has hosted overseas teachers from Asia and is currently hosting a Mandarin language assistant from China.

“Being culturally and globally aware are important strategic directions for our school. 

“Having a Mandarin speaking adult has increased our students’ Asia Awareness and will assist us in developing intercultural competencies.”

Murfitt and McDonald were joined by nine other principals and teachers from around New Zealand on April’s trip to Indonesia, as well as the Foundation’s director of education Jeff Johnstone and schools coordinator Sean O’Connor. The group visited both urban and rural schools where they held workshops with local teachers and were treated to cultural performances by students.

“We feel that we can apply all of our experiences to our local St Francis Xavier school curriculum in our drive to ensure our students are globally aware and have the capabilities to thrive in a changing 21st Century landscape,” Murfitt says.

She says technology they were introduced to while on the trip, specifically Google Hangout, means she is confident that St Francis Xavier and its Indonesian counterpart, St John’s Catholic School, will have an ongoing relationship that will benefit their students for years to come. Google Hangout is an online platform that allows the students to communicate, and work together, via media such as video, instant messaging and SMS.

“We had a Google Hangout with St John’s Catholic School in Jakarta. The children were able to talk to several teachers and watch some children dancing. They also had a virtual tour of the classroom in Jakarta and took the teachers on a tour of our school in Tawa. Our intention is to try and connect with St John’s in this way on a regular basis.”

The next step is for the students to use Google Hangout to collaborate online in shared inquiries. 

Being able to chat with students in Jakarta was a hit with the St Francis Xavier kids:

  • “It was cool to see people that I had never met before and show them our school; I liked watching the dancers and I would like to show them our Pasifika Club.” – Joseph
  • “We got to show each other different things we do at school, next time we could show them our Kapa Haka.” – Matthew 
  • “I liked that they were able to show us their school and what they had.  If we do another Hangout I would like to share some of the artwork we do at school.” – Logan