Study Trip to Java – Part III

SMPN1 is a large junior high school located in Malang, Java. Malang is a 2-3 hour drive from Surabaya. It’s a lovely city that’s filled with trees and wide boulevards, an informative museum, a beautiful public library, and a great educational/recreational park about an hour outside the city.



SMPN1 has an international standards program along with an accelerated program and a regular program. The school is wired for internet and classrooms have projectors mounted on the ceilings so that teachers can use their laptops to display material that supports the daily lessons. The school has a lot going, and the trip was a good experience for our students.

I had a chance to teach a few classes while I was in Malang. The students were attentive, but shy about speaking English. I asked all of the classes the same question – how many of you speak English outside this room? The answer was the same in every classroom – no one. Regardless of the quality of English instruction that they are receiving inside the classroom, if they don’t speak English outside the classroom, they won’t learn English. What they will learn is some grammar, a bit of conversation and the ability to pass the national exam in English at 6th, 9th and 12th grades. So my message was the same in every class: speak English as much as possible; talk to your parents and friends, go up to foreigners in the street and have a short conversation with them, get on Facebook or Friendster and find a friend who speaks English and write to them regularly; don’t worry about grammar, just speak and learn while you’re speaking. I did get some students who signed up as a friend on my Facebook page so I need to remember to write to them to get them to practice their English, and I need to remember to do this with my own children as well.

So, we had a good trip; it was a few days too long and a bit too far, but there were educational benefits for our students and the three teachers who went along.

Now my kids want to go to Malang so I need to see what I can do about that.


~ by drbrucepk on March 18, 2009.

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