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Fifteen teachers came to Deakin Burwood in January to learn Indonesian and ended up climbing a mountain.
The Asian Language Teachers' Qualifications Project is part of a national strategy to increase the number of teachers of Asian Languages in primary and secondary schools. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development contracted the Centre for Teaching Asian Languages and Cultures to deliver the Diploma of Languages to fifteen teachers from around Victoria.
Teachers came from as far away as Portland, Myrtleford and Boort to study their first year units in just 4 weeks under the expert guidance of Assoc Prof Ismet Fanany from the School of International and Political Studies. Friday afternoons were dedicated to learning Indonesian dances and songs so the teachers could perform for family and friends at a Farewell Ceremony at the end of their four weeks.
After an intense and challenging period of learning Ismet, speaking at the Farewell Ceremony, likened learning a new language to climbing a mountain - the first day is the hardest because your muscles aren't used to that kind of exercise! Resting in the first camp you start to notice a few aches and pains, but as your body becomes accustomed to the motions of climbing each day becomes a little easier. The dedication that this group of teachers has shown in reaching the first camp will stand them in good stead to reach the summit of this mountain.
The ALTQP teachers will study their next units off-campus and reunite next summer for the In-Country program in Padang.