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“One of the best experiences of my life was studying in Jakarta during my undergraduate degree. I got to live, eat and breathe with Indonesian people” says Jason. “Studying Indonesian gives you access to one of the most interesting and important areas in the world. Being on Australia’s doorstep, Indonesia is a major trading partner and strategic ally. Both countries work side by side and are important for each other in terms of future development. And Bali is a major tourist destination for Australians!”
Post-graduate study at Deakin has allowed Jason to combine his enthusiasm for Indonesia with his ambition to become a teacher. “Teaching is a career where you continue to learn and are able to share you passions and absorb the rewards that come from helping young people grow. It’s a dream job!” And Jason doesn’t plan to waste any time after finishing his degree, he wants to get straight into a teaching career. This zeal for education has already been noticed. “During my Professional Experience I was asked to present a short Professional Development session for the Maroondah Indonesian Teachers’ Network aimed at engaging lower secondary students in learning language through new and exciting cultural activities. Through the ancient art of Wayang Kulit, the strategic tradition of Congklak and the boisterous spontaneity of Sepak Takraw, teachers’ shared and learnt new ways in which to include culture in their classrooms. I had immense joy in sharing my insights and experiences with the teachers, and I found it to be an invaluable experience. I learnt quite a lot from the other Indonesian teachers and about running professional development sessions.”
“I believe that there is a teacher in the form of a spirit in all of us! I think I was born to be a teacher.”
Stella believes that “LOTE is a bridge to connect people, to understand each other”. As a native speaker of Mandarin who also speaks English Stella knows that being bilingual has given her a wider view of the world. It has also opened up opportunities to understand different cultures and thereby the people. It’s these kinds of experiences that Stella wants to share with her students when she becomes a LOTE teacher after completing a Master of Teaching.
It was volunteering at her children’s school that sparked Stella’s interest in education as a career. Stella was not a stranger to university study, having completed a Bachelor of Engineering in Hydrological Geology and Engineering Geology. But when she started at Deakin it was the first time in 18 years that Stella had been to school! The first day was a mixture of excitement and nervousness but the staff and the variety of learning resources available have helped Stella to settle back into to tertiary study.
So far the highlight of Stella’s experience at Deakin has been the first five days of professional experience. “I had my old point of view – teacher centred teaching – changed to a new point of view – student centred teaching. Studying to become a teacher inspires me to look forward to my new career. My children and I will ‘grow up’ together in Australia!"
“If you are passionate about what you teach, that does influence your students”, says Joyce. This is one of the reasons Joyce enrolled in the Graduate Diploma of Languages (Indonesian). “I wanted to gain another qualification, expand my own interests and bring those interests into the classroom. Starting the course with an intensive program at Deakin Geelong meant that I met other like minded individuals and had the opportunity to learn the language with native speakers. At the end of the course I had more confidence in my own abilities to communicate in Indonesian.”
“After completing the 6 week intensive course at Geelong, this year I’m teaching Indonesian for the first time to a Year 7 group. I love the way students are excited about trying out new words and forming sentences. Our role plays are often quite comical. I have incorporated lots of ICT into the curriculum, making movies with puppets, creating wikis etc., and the students really enjoy and are engaged with the activities and language. I’m looking into innovative ways of working with text and hopefully I can get my students really engaged with the language.”
But it’s not only Joyce’s students who have to do their LOTE homework. “Every day I try to read, write or talk in Indonesian for at least one hour. This could be attending a session with my private Indonesian tutor, reading the required texts or doing online quizzes. Sometimes it can get a bit overwhelming, but because I love learning the language and being a student, studying is one of my ‘hobbies’.”
“I love young people and get enormous satisfaction witnessing my student’s growth. Watching them learn and achieve and knowing that I had a part in their learning and achievements is an amazing privilege. My goal is to make learning a language other than English relevant and fun for my students.”
If you ask Sarah what she plans to do when she finishes her Graduate Diploma of Languages (Indonesian) don’t expect to get just one answer! “I plan to keep teaching Indonesian and see my students using and enjoying their Indonesian skills, hopefully go to Indonesia to teach English and spend a few years there, and I’d also like to go back to teach Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory where I’ve spent a lot of time in the past. I enjoy variety in my life!”
“I was inspired to become a teacher by Big Bill Neidjie, an Aboriginal elder from Kakadu, who I spent time with recording his traditional stories. He was born in the bush, grew up leading a fairly traditional life apart from the few years he spent in the local mission school. He watched his grandparents and parents working hard for white people skinning buffalo and performing stock work for meagre rations. He also worked in the timber camps for rations and in the army providing meat, fish and firewood to the soldiers. He watched his country being destroyed by uranium mining yet never became bitter. I am eternally grateful for his generosity in sharing his culture with me. He was so passionate about the importance of education to his people, not just mainstream education, but also cultural maintenance.”
Variety is a theme of Sarah’s life. She teaches Indonesian and Woodwork to Year 1-8 students, and teaches Aboriginal Studies at TAFE. But variety can also be seen in how Sarah approaches teaching. “My students all enjoy the cultural aspects of their studies, the stories, songs, games music and arts. These are great tools to impart the language.”
After studying Indonesian at high school and participating in the Endeavour Language Teacher Fellowship, Sarah decided to enhance her qualifications with a Graduate Diploma of Languages. “The more skilled I am the more confident I can be at teaching this subject. It is important for the parents of my students to know that their children’s teachers are passionate, devoted and appropriately qualified. Living in NSW and teaching four days a week, the distance education program is really suitable to my needs. I can fit study around my working, family and social life without too much trouble. In this course we also get to spend six weeks studying at a university in Malang East Java which is very exciting.”
“I spent a bit of time in Bali when I was very young and I’ve been back several times to visit old friends. The best trips were taking my son to Bali and to Java. I wanted to instil in him the same awe in this very rich culture that I had. Indonesian people are so friendly and kind. So many people invite us to stay with them which adds enormously to the experience. Speaking Indonesian really opens so many doors. I’ve had a few offers to teach English in Indonesia and I hope to go there in the near future. I will certainly be better equipped with language skills by the time I finish this course.”
“I enjoy travelling to Indonesia. It’s a beautiful destination filled with wonderful people. Having some language skills really opens up some exciting possibilities for me there.”
Everywhere she worked Jing found that her ability to speak Mandarin was in demand. Whether in marketing, international trade or in the classroom, Jing was constantly called on to translate and communicate with other Mandarin speakers.
Working as a bilingual teacher’s aide and teaching Mandarin at a weekend community school, Jing soon realised that she could combine her native language with her love of maths and natural rapport with students to become a secondary teacher herself. Post-graduate study, part-time work and being a mother keeps Jing busy, but her motivation comes from knowing that one day her future students will be working with China in trade, as ambassadors or even in politics like Mandarin-speaking former Prime Minister Rudd.
“In China, a teacher is regarded as a gardener, and students are the flowers. How well the flowers blossom depends on how good the gardener is. I always admire a great gardener” says Jing.
Mona isn’t wasting any time! She is pursuing her dream of returning to teaching by undertaking a Master of Teaching degree. Mona intends to exit the Masters program after three trimesters and graduate with a Graduate Diploma of Teaching. She wants to start working right away as a Mandarin LOTE and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) teacher.
Full-time post-graduate study can be demanding, but Mona has found the programs at Deakin very helpful in adjusting to campus life. The Orientation Day and Library Tour helped Mona to understand how to make the most of the facilities available at Deakin. Mona also made sure she knows what assistance is available at the Student Support Centre in addition to the wonderful support she experiences from the teachers and her classmates.
Mona was inspired to become a teacher by her high school English teacher who’s commitment and dedication to teaching his students to be the best person they could be is a strong memory for her. But Mona’s philosophy of teaching is based on the famous Chinese thinker Confucius who said ‘Among any three people, there must be one who can be my teacher’. “We need to be open-minded to learn from others” says Mona.
“Mandarin is a beautiful language to speak and hear. The intonation is beautiful. The Chinese characters are full of wisdom. One character can mean a lot if you break it up into parts” says Winnie. It is this beauty and wisdom that Winnie intends to teach her students when she has graduated from the Master of Teaching after one and half years of full time study.
It’s an investment of time that Winnie considers very worthwhile. Looking for a change after the global financial crisis impacted her career in international trade, Winnie sort a post-graduate teaching qualification to develop her critical thinking skills to a higher level and give her a competitive edge as a graduate in the job market. The flexibility of studying at Deakin works well for Winnie. She can schedule her time to fulfil the academic requirements of classes, reading and assignments as well as her home duties and family responsibilities. Winnie has found Deakin Studies Online particularly valuable in preparing for classes and assignments.
As a speaker of both Mandarin and English, Winnie has developed an understanding of the Australian culture as it compares to her native culture. This has widened Winnie’s perspective of the world and the way people are enriched through speaking both English and a LOTE.
Some teachers have the ability to make you feel warm in the heart when they speak with you. These are the teachers that Jason admires the most. And he’s had plenty of opportunity to find them. Jason is a science teacher who wants to open up his career path by adding Chinese and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) to his qualifications through the Master of Teaching.
Although Jason already has considerable teaching experience he still found that the Professional Experience program was beneficial. The opportunity to reflect on a variety of teaching practices has enhanced Jason’s understanding of classroom teaching strategies.
“I look forward to sharing with my students how beautiful the Chinese language is in speaking, reading and writing, and the beauty in Chinese culture” says Jason.
The old saying it takes one to know one applies to Tomoko. It was the influence of a friend which led to her decision to study the Master of Teaching. “My friend who is a LOTE teacher told me how great LOTE teaching is and that I have a lot of potential and the right personality to be a teacher” says Tomoko.
After selecting Deakin University because of the well-structured course, Tomoko has found that she enjoys the cultural diversity and atmosphere of the Burwood campus. And while she finds the teaching staff very inspiring and enthusiastic, it’s her husband who she admires most. Not only does he support her study by looking after their children and the household, he also builds Tomoko’s critical thinking and academic skills by discussing the reading and assignments with her.
“As I am a Japanese national, Japanese language and culture helps me to reinforce my identity in Australia” says Tomoko, “and speaking a LOTE means that I can contribute my skills and knowledge to Australia through the education system”.
Kasie’s not scared of a challenge. Whether it is helping her students to understand why LOTE is useful and interesting, encouraging students to stay motivated and complete their schooling, or working her way up the ladder to be a school Principal, Kasie wants to do it all! And how does she stay motivated? By thinking about her goals every day and remembering why she is studying the Master of Teaching. The excitement of learning how to be successful in her chosen career keeps her going, especially when assignments are due!
Kasie also finds the interactive nature of learning at Deakin to be energizing. Her lecturers share their personal experiences and anecdotes with the class, and the professional experience practicum gave Kasie experience in a variety of school settings. Kasie also appreciates the emphasis of a post-graduate teaching qualification on how children learn, which builds on the content learning she has already done as an undergraduate.
Kasie loves the way that Indonesia’s history is embedded in the language, Bahasa Indonesian, which she has learnt since she started school as a Prep. Her experiences of visiting Indonesia have inspired her to share Indonesian culture with her students through Indonesian cooking, creating and performing in batik, creating and performing with puppets and traditional dance and gamelan performances. But it’s the most obvious use of language that Kasie emphasises. “It’s important to learn Indonesian because Indonesia is Australia’s neighbouring country and we should be able to communicate with our neighbours” says Kasie. “When I’m an Indonesian teacher I want to take the students out to speak to actual Indonesian people, whether that be in Australia or in Indonesia, because I think this will be the most effective way to show students that learning another language is useful.” Speaking Indonesian has certainly been useful for Kasie, even at home in Australia. Recently Kasie was able to assist some Indonesian visitors she met on a Sydney ferry because she spoke their language – a very good neighbour indeed.