Curtin student Matt Ferrinda has learnt the old maxim of “not judging a book by its cover” after recently completing his teaching prac at Binus International School in Jakarta.
In a maths class, he announced the class would begin fractions – a difficult concept for children to learn.
‘I was expecting 22 heads to drop… but they were like, “Yeah, wicked! Let’s go.” They were right into it.’
Matt was very keen to take up the opportunity to teach at Binus, an International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) or “World School”.
‘Because it’s an IBO school, the curriculum is pretty similar to the West Australian curriculum in some aspects, but it was still teaching a different curriculum in a different cultural environment,’ Matt said.
‘Seeing another curriculum was good because I had to adapt my teaching style to teach in that context, and that was a challenge.’
The Binus teaching prac was open to third-year Curtin education students, and Matt says placements help provide students with both teaching practice and a cross-cultural experience.
‘I had a really good year-four class and a really helpful classroom teacher too, which I think was really important,’ Matt said.
‘The kids all learn Indonesian, Mandarin and English at school and it was amazing seeing the way they would swap and change between languages.’
‘They might begin a sentence in English and finish in Mandarin, or one student might ask a question in Indonesian and another would answer in English.’
Matt said he really enjoyed the opportunity to observe different styles of teaching and approaches to learning.
‘The kids are all pretty academic, so they’re all really motivated to learn – you don’t have to work to engage them the way you would in Australia,’ Matt said.
‘The classrooms themselves too are really vibrant and colourful and really well-equipped.’
‘One thing that was really different from here was the school is situated in three office towers that were seven or eight stories high.’
Curtin’s third-year education students complete a three-week teaching practicum, but Matt and three fellow students spent four weeks at Binus.
‘The first week was just observation, so we were able to get accustomed to the school and the environment,’ Matt said.
After completing the prac, the students spent a week traveling together before returning to Australia to enjoy a break before embarking on their final year of study.
‘We went to Yogyarkarta in central Java and spent a week seeing a different side of the culture,’ Matt said.
‘We saw Buddhist temples, rode buffaloes, planted rice, it was all really cool.’