JEARN20周年記念サイト   記念ロゴ >   シンポジウム "Real Voices 2023" 世界をつなぐ!教員ネットワーク(7)

Article Series
"Real Voices 2023" No.7 Indonesia
Connecting the World! Teachers' Network News
Real Voices of iEARN Teachers Around the World
The year 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of JEARN established as an official NPO in Japan.
To celebrate this memorial year, J
EARN launched a monthly interview series "Real Voices" to deliver the real voices of iEARN teachers from around the world. Each article introduces school systems of each country and region, daily efforts of teachers and staff, and the development of students for global competence and citizenship.

Enthusiastic students share ideas in a lively group discussion

Saara Suaib

iEARN Teacher

Al Azhar Schools, Indonesia

Ms. Saara Suaib from Indonesia
How many years of experience do you have in iEARN What iEARN projects have you done with your students?  Which project is your favorite and why?
I have joined and participated in iEARN project since 2005. The first project that I have done with my students was the class with Barry Kramer. It was an online project about festival in your country. The next project was Machinto.
This project gave me ideas and opportunity to develop more project with other schools and organization. Through Machinto, I developed my own project namely peace post card. And this project took me to an international awardee in Microsoft Global Forum in 2014.

I also joined the NDYS project and did many activities with my students. We visited some elementary school which got flood during the rainy season. Our students did some activities with the school kids as planting their school yard, cleaning and give them education on how to survive during disaster. My students also did an observation around the school area to create a safety map project. Last project that I participated in was the Gomi Project. This was an amazing project that I did with my high school students. Unfortunately, I was transferred to a new school that I cannot continue doing the project.
Students showcasing their ideas at the NDYS meeting

What school or organization are you working at? What are some characteristics of your school or organization (i.e. history, location, owner, culture, curriculum, subjects, facilities, or students)?

My school is under an Islamic Foundation named The Al Azhar Foundation. This foundation manages some schools from kindergarten to University level. Since this foundation has many schools, it becomes normal that teachers were transferred to other Al Azhar schools in different or similar area. In my case, I was transferred 3 times after my first school where I joined iEARN for the first time. Al Azhar Foundation is a well-known foundation which runs a quality education in all schools they are managing. They provide us with quality education in every sectors. Educators, school facilities and also school programs. The foundation will make sure all things are provided for the quality of education to happen in Al Azhar schools. That’s why, the Al Azhar school is known as modern Islamic School in Indonesia. Parents trust the school curriculum and also their method in running the education.

Impressive Al Azhar school building

Warm student hospitality at Friendship Tea Time
If you are a teacher, how many years of experience do you have as a teacher? If you are a teacher, what subject do you teach? Which grade(s) are you currently teaching?

I have been a teacher for more than 20 year. It’s around 23 years. I am teaching English for 12 -17 years old students. But most experience I had was with the students in 12 - 15 years old. I am now teaching for this age level.

Please describe the formal education of your country.
Formal education in my country starts with primary school for 6 years. The age level for this group is 7 - 12 years old. The next level we call it SMP or middle level or junior high school level. This is the level I teach.

The age group is 12 - 15 years old. And the next level we call it SMA or considered as high school level. This group of students are 15 -18 years old. This is the group where students also prepare for their university level.

When does the school year start and end in your country?
The school year starts in July and end in December for the first term. The second term will start again in January to June. We spend about 6 months in every term.
We don’t have seasonal big breaks as winter break or summer break. But we do have Ramadhan and Eid Mubarak break. Since this two festival is following the Islamic Calendar, the exact time is changing every year. We will have it earlier around 11 days every years according to the Islamic calendar.
Eid Mubarak Festival is the festival where we celebrate the glory and victory after we perform Ramadhan. All Muslim pray that they will get another opportunity to enjoy Ramadhan next year. During Eid Mubarak Festival, we celebrate it by having a big prayer together (Sholat Eid Berjamaah), either in a Masjid or in the field which can attract more people.  
Festive family meals during Eid Mubarak break
After the big pray, we celebrate the festival with our family by having a meal (special menu) together and giving forgiveness to each other. We also visited the neighborhood and relatives to do the same. People who normally live and work in a city will take time to get home to their hometown to celebrate the festival with their family, especially the one who still has parents in their hometown.

What changes have you seen in class or in the ways students learn after the pandemic?

We need to explore them more to the nature since this pandemic made them isolated for the last two years. And some of the students enjoyed this situation and directly get accustomed with. So, they need to move more and give them time to explore the world of nature. I love taking then to have a fun trekking over the hills and the water fountain and let them feel the breeze. That’s the way they learn from nature.

What technology is being used in class? What devices do your students use in class or at home for learning?

We used many platform during pandemic. Such as Google Classroom, Google form, zoom meeting, meet and other platforms which provide us with the learning situation and interaction

What do you think are the most significant advantages of making use of technology for teaching and learning? Also, what are some challenges in introducing technology to formal education?

The most significant advantages of making use of technology for teaching and learning is that the effectiveness. We know that our students are the gen z or even alpha gen. They are fast learner especially related to technology. So, it help us a lot in delivering the learning and teaching process. They will cope everything faster as long as we apply appropriate technology in our teaching and learning process. Thus, for some (both teacher and students), the challenge of using technology in class is the missing process of learning itself. We love seeing kids knowing and inventing their learning with the face to face situation or in formal education.

Besides, during 2 years of lock down my students experienced, they only interact with others through virtual things, they don't show much emphatic to others and also "manner" in communication especially towards older people becomes an issue. So, they miss something during the lockdown era that caused them to "misbehave". They think they are Ok with that situation while others feel shocked with their response.

Young students coding at a fun Microsoft event

Eager students studying English in class

Could you give any messages to teachers in Japan?  

Let's work again together to give opportunity for our students to be more human. By having the real feeling, experiencing things, expressing ideas and thought while having your existence around them. Let them explore things they want to know by having interaction.

The iEARN Teacher interviews are part of a series of articles by JEARN entitled "Connecting The World! Teachers Network News" starting with the January 2023 issue in a Japanese monthly magazine for educators, Cresco (Otsuki Shoten Publishers here).

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