Recently, I had the tremendous privilege and pleasure of spending a day at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) talking about literacy and numeracy with a group of vocational teachers and tutors from Indonesia.
The group was large. The image above shows half of the team and I need to paste in a second photo below so you can see the other half. Here we go…
My sincere thanks to Dr Adrian Schoone at AUT for inviting me to join these teachers for a day in their busy schedule. Adrian also deserves credit for the two photos above.
These vocational teachers and other support staff were here on a two-week study tour in October looking at how we teach trades and vocational education in Aotearoa New Zealand.
And as part of our introductions and whakawhanaungatana (getting to know each other), I asked them all to place themselves on a giant map I had projected on the wall.
As you can see below, they came from all over Indonesia – from the West to the East.
For my part, it was a brief and hopefully fun introduction to literacy, numeracy and the embedded approach that we’ve developed here over the last 10 years.
We had a play with some of the online tools that we have in New Zealand for literacy and numeracy as well. Luckily, AUT had a computer lab big enough to house us all for an hour or so.
My students for the day were friendly, engaged and worked hard to transcend some of the language barriers between us.
One of the most interesting things for me was realising how integral approaches from Te Ao Māori are now to any discussion I want to have about this work.
Concepts like ako and tuakana-teina seemed to really resonate with the group and their own cultures.
In fact, some had questions about how they could incorporate aspects of their own indigenous ways of knowing and being into their teaching practice.
Just on that note, according to Wikipedia:
- there are over 300 ethnic groups speaking more than 700 living languages across the vast Indonesian archipelago.
So these weren’t questions I felt could readily answer, but hopefully, they will open a door to further positive discussion back home.
This, in turn, should feed into the work these excellent teachers are doing to invigorate and reinvigorate vocational education in Indonesia.
Overall, it was an excellent day, I loved spending time with this group and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
To my new friends and colleagues:
- Assalam ‘alaikum. I wish you all the best with your work in Indonesia and hope our paths cross again at some stage.