Indonesia trip provides teacher
rich learning experiences

Kim Te'o was one of six teachers who travelled to Indonesia as part of a Foundation-led trip to learn about the country's culture and build connections with local teachers. The Kiwi teachers homestayed with their Indonesian partner teachers and visited their classrooms to get a taste of Indonesian education, with the goal of establishing ongoing online connections between their classes.
Kim Teo standing beside an Indonesian teacher in a school corridor

The purpose of the trip was for the teachers to make connections with their Indonesian counterparts

Why did you want to be part of the Indonesia trip?

When I heard about the opportunity to be a part of the [Global Schools] Partnership programme, I knew it would give me rich opportunities to explore culture and language with my class in an authentic way; actually communicating with new friends from Indonesia, and finding out about what life is like there from them, rather than just using online resources and books in a library. It also seemed like an awesome opportunity as I love travelling!

What was it like experiencing first-hand the classroom environment in Indonesia?

I really enjoyed spending time at Al Azhar Bintaro 17 [school] and meeting the staff and students there.

I found that many of the conversations I had and the questions that were asked of me were around how to engage and motivate children so that they can thrive at school.

Kim Teo standing at the back of a classroom of students

Kim: "Something that really stood out to me was the spirit of the people of Indonesia."

There were also a lot of discussions about assessment and how our countries have a lot of similarities but also many differences, such as how they have national exams from an early age that determine child's pathway into the following grades.

It was also interesting seeing the role of religion in school and how prayers in the adjoining mosque were an integral part of the children's day. I could see that the meditative/mindful aspect of this practice had a real positive impact on student's behaviour and attitudes. 

Was there anything you experienced in Indonesia that particularly impacted on you?

Something that really stood out to me was the spirit of the people of Indonesia. Faith and religion play central roles in the lives of the people there, and this comes across in everything they do. The joy, courtesy and kindness as well as the calmness in traffic seemed to reflect their culture of prayer. 

How do you plan to incorporate what you learnt in Indonesia into your teaching?

I have shared my experience with my class and now incorporate basic Bahasa Indonesian into my vocabulary. The children have learned some basic greetings in Bahasa and are excited about connecting with my counterpart teacher's class. My learners are keen to help them [the Indonesian students] learn our school waiata. We are also learning Bahasa Indonesian in class as part of our language programme. 

 How are these sorts of experiences beneficial for you as a teacher?

One of the New Zealand teachers chatting with students

Kim says one of the beauties of travelling with a group of teachers was at the end of the day they could sit down and share their experiences

The experience of travelling to Indonesia in a team of teachers from New Zealand helps to strengthen our appreciation of diversity, as well as our enthusiasm to learn about the world around us.

Going in a group and experiencing it together with others from New Zealand and discussing things together also helped me to gain different perspectives on our experiences, too.

It gave a me sense of solidarity and shared experience when discussing learning and education with the teachers and exploring the challenges and joys of teaching, .

You made some interesting language connections between Bahasa Indonesia and Maori; could you tell us about that?

When listening to the local people speaking in Bahasa Indonesia, I could hear familiar sounding words. For instance, I found out the following similarities: 

  • One is dua in Bahasa Indonesia and rua in Maori
  • Five is lima in Bahasa and rima in Maori
  • Fish is ikan in Bahasa and ika in Maori
  • Sky is langit in Bahasa and rangi in Maori.

This was not surprising though, as it is widely known that many of the island  nations of the Pacific were originally inhabited by people travelling from Indonesia and the surrounding countries.   

The exchange trip is a part of the Global Schools Partnership Project, aimed at building connections between students in Asia and New Zealand. It’s a collaboration between Asia New Zealand Foundation Te Whītau Tūhono and the Southeast Asia Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence (SEA CAPE). The Indonesian teachers are coming to New Zealand in June and will stay with their partner teachers and visit their schools.