WHEN three education students of the University of San Carlos (USC) flew to Indonesia recently for a one-month pre-service training, they were more than prepared to share their skills and expertise with their students and fellow teachers.
Coming home, they realized that they, too, were students learning so much from the experience.
The USC students taught Descriptive Text to middle school pupils and Practical Life for pre-schoolers in Indonesia as part of their international pre-service teaching.
An exchange program of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), it is popularly known as the SEA Teacher Project.
The three Carolinians are Mary Nikka Richae C. Abangan (BS Education, Major in English), Jeciel Dacillo Orias (Montessori Education) and Jan Joshua Cuevas (Bachelor of Elementary Education).
They were among 200 participants from 31 universities in Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and the Philippines who joined the program meant to provide opportunities for pre-service student teachers to experience teaching in another Southeast Asian country.
“We are proud of our students for having demonstrated the mark of Carolinian education today,” remarked Sr. Geraldine C. Villaluz, RSCJ, Ph.D., research chair of the USC School of Education.
Abangan taught Descriptive Text in the Bahasa Inggris 5 (Bahasa English 5) subject at Yogyakarta State University - Junior High School in Wates, Yogyakarta, a special region in the south of Java Island.
Cuevas also taught Descriptive Text in the same subject in Grade 8 at PGRI University of Yogyakarta - Secondary School in Kota Yogyakarta in the heart of the same region.
Orias, on the other hand, taught Practical Life for pre-school pupils at the Quantum School of Pakuan University in Bogor, West Java after the southern border of the capital city of Jakarta.
During the recent practicum, USC also accommodated Indonesians Yayang Juniarta and Dea Dimyathi Agus Putri and Thai Sattabut Hemarak. While in Cebu, the visiting foreigners undertook their pre-service training with Grade 10 classes at USC South Campus. Juniarta taught English, while Putri handled Science, and Hemarak, Mathematics.
Abangan said she first thought she might compromise her Carolinian character being in a culture with practices, beliefs and lifestyle different from what she has been used to. But she realized she was “living what it meant to be Witness to the Word.”
“Despite the challenges it was important for me to visit places, taste Indonesian food, and learn Bahasa to contextualize teaching-learning sessions to my enthusiastic learners with authenticity,” she shared.
Cuevas said the program challenged him to give sufficient time to reflect on his lessons.
“Excited as I am to share, I took into consideration the fact that my students should learn English in the context of Indonesian customs, manners and places,” he said. “Sensitivity to cultural context was important in the teaching-learning experience.”
Orias, on the other hand, shared she was amazed at how she and her students showed respect for each other’s religion.
“Majority of my companions were Muslims. We prayed together, though differently before meals,” she said.
One of the Muslim teachers planned and managed to bring her to a Catholic Sunday Mass and still found the right time for his evening prayers, she added.
Orias said the SEA Teacher Project taught her the meaning and relevance of interfaith dialogue and respect, apart from the application of teaching-learning strategies.
The SEA Teacher Project, which has eight Philippine educational institutions as participants, started with the first batch in January last year, followed by a second batch in August. USC joined the third batch.
Sr. Villaluz bared they evaluated last March 28 the experiences of the third batch to prepare for a possible teacher research exchange project.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on June 19, 2017.
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