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From June 18-22, 2012, The Indonesian Program at Deakin held a Language Week with activities for school students and their teachers at the Burwood campus of the university. On two consecutive days, a total of more than 400 students visited Deakin from schools as far away as Wangaratta to take part in the language activities.
Each of the two days began with a multimedia presentation on the sights and sounds of Indonesia presented by Associate Professor Ismet Fanany. This gave students a chance to see and hear what Indonesia is like and to experience some of the things Indonesians do on a daily basis. The aim of the presentation was to showcase modern life and contemporary culture in Indonesia, something that is often overlooked in language classes.
Following this, students were broken up into groups and taught a number of different language and culture games coordinated by Dr. Rebecca Fanany and led by Deakin students studying Indonesian as part of their undergraduate degree. The student leaders included Rhian Soedarsono, Emma Dockery, Emily Steiner, Matt Bubner, Lauren Grounds, Jake Drennan, Monique Agnew, Penny Townshend, and Jessica Simpson. Everyone, from the classes of year 6 students to more advanced year 10 students, thoroughly enjoyed the games with Ibu Pergi ke Pasar (a memory game) and Jam Berapa, Pak Serigala? ( a game involving clock times) being most popular. Students also played counting games, guessing games, and even competed to race paper ‘airplanes’ by blowing them along a piece of string. Prizes were provided to everyone, and the Deakin students running these activities had as much fun as the participants.
The final hour of each day was spent learning about riddles as a form of traditional literature in Indonesia. Ismet presented some traditional riddles but also some modern ones that were surprisingly hard to guess. The students promised to make up some of their own when they returned to school and send them to him, but we haven’t heard from anyone yet.
The Language Week culminated with a dinner held at Deakin Prime in downtown Melbourne at which the inaugural Deakin University- Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture Indonesian Teacher of the Year award was presented. The recipient, Ms Nasrin Zaher, teaches Indonesian at Norwood Secondary College in Ringwood, VIC. Entries for the award were received from around Victoria and Australia, and the dinner itself was attended by school principals from government, Catholic, and independent schools as well as by Deakin Vice Chancellor, Professor Jane den Hollander who presented the Indonesian Teacher of the Year Award to the recipient; the Indonesian Deputy Minister of Education, Professor Musliar Kasim; the Indonesian Ambassador to Australia; the Consul General of Indonesia in Melbourne; as well as senior staff from Deakin University, the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, and the Consulate General. Dinner was provided by the Consulate General in Melbourne, and the prize, two round trip tickets to Jakarta, came courtesy of Garuda Indonesia.
Deputy Minister Musliar Kasim also launched Balai Bahasa Indonesia Victoria at the dinner, marking the start of a new cooperation between the Indonesian Program at Deakin and the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture. This Balai Bahasa will be only the third in Australia (after Canberra and Perth) and will serve as a centre for the promotion of Indonesian language and culture in Victoria in conjunction with Deakin’s Centre for Teaching Asian Languages and Cultures (CTALC). The launch, the keynote address delivered by the Deputy Minister, speeches by Professor den Hollander, Head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Professor Matthew Clarke, and Associate Professor Ismet Fanany as Director of CTALC, and all of the Language Week activities for schools were covered by the media, most notably ABC Radio whose staff were present throughout Language Week and interviewed many of the staff and participants.
Overall, the 2012 Indonesian Language Week was a great success, and we received many requests, which we are seriously considering, to make this a yearly event.