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The Centre for Teaching Asian Languages and Cultures would like to introduce you to some of our students. Each of these students is studying to become a LOTE (Languages Other Than English) teacher in Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian or Korean.
"I love my mother tongue Mandarin because I can feel the beauty of an ancient language from the classic literature, Tang poems and song lyrics", says Rosa. The impacts of history, heritage and legacy are strong for Rosa who looks forward to sharing 5000 years of Chinese history and culture with her students when she has finished her Master of Teaching degree. "I'm sure they can find something interesting there from Chinese medicine, Chinese food, Chinese Kong Fu or colourful arts, folk songs and paper cuttings."
Rosa's interest in teaching has a foundation in heritage as well - many of her family members are teachers including her father and brother who are both university professors. After initially studying a Bachelor of Economics at Shenzhen University in China, Rosa found herself interested in teaching after working as a multicultural education aid. The school environment, helping students learn and seeing the passion of principals and teachers all inspired Rosa to study for a teaching qualification.
Although postgraduate study keeps her very busy, Rosa enjoys the friendly campus environment, the library (because she loves to read) and the great friends she has made at Deakin. Studying at university has also helped Rosa to understand the different living and thinking styles of people around the world and to be more involved in Australian society. The school practicum experiences that Rosa has done in her degree have allowed her to visit five different schools and see how school culture in Australia is very different from in China. Although this was a surprise, it hasn't dampened Rosa's zest for teaching. In the future Rosa wants to have taught many students from all over the world! In this way Rosa wants to create a legacy of something valuable, just like the American philosopher John Dewey who Rosa admires because he changed the lives of generations of people with his psychological and educational theories, even in China since the 1930's.
"I enjoy the happiness and humour of the different kinds of Mandarin's language-based performing arts like Xiangsheng and Pingshu." Rosa's enthusiasm for Chinese language is sure to spread to her students.
Learning another language opened up the world for Sarah, and she hopes to pass this on to her students when she is an Indonesian teacher. "I hope to open some doors for them in the same way studying LOTE (Languages Other Than English) has done for me, not only in terms of travel but in terms of a greater understanding of the world and the people around us." Sarah has been inspired to become a teacher because of the role models she has had. "My mum is a teacher and I respect and admire her. I'm proud to be following in her footsteps and hope to be as good a teacher as her. I also admire my TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) teacher here at Deakin. She is a great teacher and gives a lot to her students. I think she will be a great role model for me as I become a second language teacher."
Being able to speak Indonesian has given Sarah a greater understanding of people in her own country and overseas. "The culture of Indonesia is so different from Australia, despite the country being so near. Speaking the language helps me when I travel, offers me another perspective and increases my awareness of the culture."
Sarah has a few ambitions for life after her Graduate Diploma of Teaching. "I hope to be a good teacher, to inspire my students and to use my teaching degree as a passport to travel and teach in other countries".
Anba has been preparing to be a teacher for a long time. "When I was in high school I found myself paying attention to not only what was being taught, but how my teachers actually taught the lesson. I saw that great teachers were good at explaining content, patient yet firm with students, always fair, set high expectations, knew how to motivate students and used humour appropriately. I wanted to become like them and be able to do what they could. Through my degree, and especially through the professional experience program, I am forging my own style of teaching, drawing on my own strengths, knowledge, skills and values."
The professional experience program has been a highlight of Anba's Master of Teaching degree at Deakin, exposing him to a variety of school environments, students and teaching methods. Anba has found that this has increased his confidence in the classroom as well as his abilities and understanding as a teacher. Anba especially enjoyed the opportunity to interview some students and understand their learning styles and ideas about what they were learning.
"I believe that education is the most important function performed in our culture. An advantage of teaching in Australia is that students are encouraged to study LOTE. Students are introduced to languages as a means of accessing other people, ideas and ways of thinking. This inspires an interest in, and a respect for other cultures."
"I want my students to know that language is a means of communicating with people of other cultures, and that communication can be unifying, that people of different cultures and races can live in peace and harmony. I also want to celebrate festivals with my students and get them to help me with preparations so they understand what they signify and why they are important."
"After a couple of years working in graphic design, photography and hospitality I knew that I was passionate about meeting people and sharing different cultures. I think that people connect to each other in a more authentic way through art and shared languages. The Master of Teaching equips me with the essential knowledge and techniques to become a professional teacher, and gives me the opportunity to help students explore their creativity through art and language.
There are so many things that I love about Chinese. I love Chinese language because it sounds beautiful with different tones, and every character in writing is like a picture. I love the rich Chinese culture because it has a long history but it also changes. I love all the traditional food and arts that have developed over five thousand years. I love Chinese language because it has become more useful worldwide in business, travel and everyday life. I love the culture because in such a big country there are many things in common across different cities and yet there is so much to explore as well. Mandarin as a national language allows us to communicate with different people all around the country and this makes our experiences richer and more meaningful.
As a LOTE teacher I'd like to share with my students the real Chinese culture through my teaching, like cooking Chinese food, experiencing the tea culture, and getting to know how the language has been developed. By introducing Chinese picture books, looking at current Chinese news and listening to Chinese music my students will get a real sense of the language and culture, and a better understanding of how we use the language. Chinese art is another important part that I am looking forward to sharing with my students. In doing traditional Chinese art and craft, like painting with ink and paper cut-outs, I hope that students will develop their interest and skills in learning the language. I believe that creativity is very important. Being a native speaker of Chinese will help me to set up my classroom with cultural aspects, and create learning environment that is interesting and interactive. I also want them to hear traditional Chinese instruments and modern Chinese pop music!
One of my role models as a teacher was my graphic design lecturer, David, in my Bachelor of Arts (Visual Communications). He made the effort to build a relationship with me so that I wouldn't feel nervous about asking questions. I didn't have the opportunity to do art in high school in China so David helped me a lot when I first started the course in Australia. School in China is different to here in Australia. Students are expected to wait for their teachers to teach them and give them the right answers. I want to be a teacher who can build a positive relationship with my students, and have students feel confident to ask me questions or tell me their concerns about what we are studying. I'd like to help my students find what they are passionate about and help them reach their potential just like my lecturer helped me."