The Dreams ; The Hopes (A Journey to a home where a tree of learning growing; Part II)

The contemporary pedagogy that JIS and other International schools around the world has been embracing highlight  “the process” more instead of “results” in teaching and learning. As it emphasises  in process, it then promotes students independence, sense of responsibility and an ownership of learning. It uplifts students dignity as human being as mistakes are allowed and considered as a part of learning, So learning is safe, engaging and fun. 

The learning journey develops  four aspects of learning; 

Cognitively ; students are encouraged to be resourceful, actively question, make connections, use their imagination and reason

Emotionally;  students learn to manage their own distraction, to increase self-awareness and  be persevere, to keep going in the face of difficulties.

Socially ;  students are encouraged to collaborate in learning, to contribute to the group positively, to listen and respect different perspectives

Strategically ;  students are encouraged to make a plan, to set their goal in learning, to reflect, to learn how to learn (meta – learning, metacognition). 

It values how the brain works best in learning as it appreciates even a baby step.  A little achievement should be and worth celebrating.  There are so many “AHA” moments – an indication that learning is happening (Vygotsky’s term about ZPD ; Zone of Proximal Development), a condition when  human brain seeks an equilibrium every time  it catches new information or new knowledge. And this is how dendrites grow! It doesn’t grow through doing a pile of worksheet or just listen to what the teachers say. 

Those are the light of education. Those are the answers of quest of the world renowned psychologists and education experts, name them few; Vigotsky, Piaget, Howard Gardner, Bandura, Jerome Bruner, etc. Their premises influenced the flow of the learning journey that evidently promote students to grow to be critical thinkers, independent learners  and great collaborators. 

Those are what Indonesian schools and education need to implement if what they pursue is a better future.  As Nelson Mandela once  said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nothing is more important for  a country than its education.

Since I am now a part of JIS community, who feel and experience directly how teaching and learning happening there, JIS is becoming my hopes. A hope to be able to share more, a hope to contribute more to Indonesian schools and education. A  hope that more and more schools and teachers come to visit, to experience, to elevate their  knowledge and expertise. 

With those kinds of teaching methodology, JIS provide comfortable and safe environment for students in learning. Students enjoy their school days, actively involve in many activities to grow more academically, emotionally and socially. 

Undoubtedly, many consider that  JIS has been a second home for students, teachers and staff. I couldn’t  agree more with this. 

I always see  the sun shining above this home. Days are colourful and meaningful. The sky is bright flashing the lights of hopes that I always bear in my mind. 

Then suddenly a big storm stroke this home.  So out of the blue. Every one inside the home  who listened to the news gaped in disbelief. Every body was hurt deeply for the fact that  one of our young and beloved member of family was stricken by this storm. 

Then tears shed in every part of the home. We put every effort to do  the best we can to save the kid. Tears came down and  flew like a waterfall, evaporated and condensed in the sky to form  heavy clouds. The clouds blurred the sky. Dark and somber, just like our hearts. 

Those heavy clouds above the home then make people outside there who never knew, never heard or let alone visited this beautiful home, what they can manage is –  see that dark and gloomy firmament. 

The blame game started. It is easy to play. But, it never helps to overcome the aftermath. 

The whole family inside the home are still in grief and sorrow. The tears have not yet dried when I am writing this. The tears that coming down for our vulnerable and innocent kid, the tears that coming down for the peaceful home environment that was shaken by this tragedy. 

However,  the journey of the family must go on. With a deep sadness from within, the JIS home even look stronger. The shido seems to be protecting the family, even to unite them more. 

Every cloud has a silver lining, people say. The cloud is still there, hanging.  It might be stormy now, but it can’t rain forever. Hold on! 

JIS. Keep hugging your big dreams in your wings, just  like Jatayu! Stay strong like Naga! When a dream seems to be falling apart, only hope that will save us. Hang on! The time will come. The time when the cloud is gone, when the sky above us become clear and bright as before. There when people will see the beauty of your truntum and vibes that keep spreading the essence of learning. 

JIS. We will always be with you, in good times, in bad times – as we have found love, joy, a home, a family – in YOU.


Jakarta, 30 May 2014


The Dreams : The Wonderings (A Journey to a home where a tree of learning growing; Part I

I am an ordinary person with big dreams. I am an ordinary teacher with big hopes.

To be a teacher in one of the best international school in my country, even in the world was one of my dreams – eight years ago. People say, if you have a dream, write your dream so you can read it every day. So I wrote my dream in a piece of paper and sticked it at the door of my cupboard. I read it many times a day, thousands times a month and millions times a year. 

This dream perched in my mind was not without reasons. 

I was brought up in a small village. I went to a poor elementary school. No electricity. Let alone library. The building itself was dilapidated and dirty. 

I always remember clearly how teachers there punished and embarrassed students every time they made mistakes. They asked us to memorise  facts that we didn’t understand. They asked us to copy chapters from text books just to make us quiet. Any questions we had were regarded as a protest and a rebellion towards teachers’ dignity. Sad but no choices. 

Same things happened when I was in middle and high school. Learning was all about memorizing, taking notes, listening to teachers talking then doing many tests. These conditions created a big wondering in my young mind. I asked to myself, was this education all about? Then why I never felt that I had learned something. I learned every day just to find myself become dumb and dumber:)  Then these experiences led me to choose a path of education as my future career. 

After graduating from a teacher training institute, I began my career as a teacher. People say teachers will teach they way they had been taught as parents will raise their children they way they had been raised – until he or she has a courage to break the cycle. 

I taught in several private schools in East Java. As you can guest, I taught my students in a conventional and traditional ways. I punished them verbally when they made mistakes by giving put down feedback, I killed their dreams by saying that their imagination would never be real, I spot misbehaviour instantly and never gave compliment to any appropriate behaviour:(  What was worse,  I justified  all of these as ways of disciplining my students and “made” them learning. 

Did they ever learn something? Were they enjoy their school days? Was I satisfied in teaching? Good questions. 

Feeling empty and  felt “restless” to be a teacher in “those ways” , one day, life brought me to Jakarta. As an English teacher, I love reading every thing in English to improve my vocabulary. Jakarta Post was one of my favourite newspapers.  I looked for any vacancy there but please not teaching in a school where my soul would just feel suffered. 

Then I read a small ads posted by a small  international pre-school; teachers needed! International? My mind was wondering reading that word. How did it feel like teaching in an international school? Though I never taught younger kids, the word “international” bothered my mind all the time. So I sent an application. I was accepted. A new journey commenced. 

There for the first time, I felt extremely amazed about educating students. I observed, I wondered. The teaching methodology, the curriculum, the way they discipline students filled  me with awe, impressed and grew to be more curious. I found myself and my country so far away left behind in education. 

After several years teaching and learning there (truly I learned a lot from here), a friend informed me that there was a diploma program of ACTFL (Advanced Certificate in Teaching and Learning)  held by FEE (Foundation for Excellence in Education) in Jakarta International School (under JIS Academy). 

There I was. Be one of the students – again. Many of my friends that joining the program were and until present are principals of good national plus schools, trainers and senior teachers. 

The lectures of the program were volunteers and all of them were JIS teachers! All of them were great and inspiring teachers. I don’t remember what they taught me but I do remember clearly who they are. That is what inspiring teachers left in their students mind.   The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. True, isn’t it? 

I learned a bunch of modern pedagogy. Name them some; Constructivist theory, Unit by Design, Positive Discipline and Restitution, Differentiated Instruction, Brain-based learning, Inquiry-based learning and many others. 

The dream to be a teacher in an international school that I wrote before came true, but – inspired by my lecturers, a new dream sprout in my mind. “I want to be a teacher at JIS”. I wrote the dream again and sticked it again, and read it all the times. 

Several years later this dream came true. I was accepted at JIS in October 2011. Words were never enough to represent how happy and excited I was. My family and friends congratulated me.

I believe that learning is a never endless journey. Another chapter of a learning journey in a book of my life began. Many awes and wows are happening until now as I am in my third year here at JIS. Another dream, another hope grows strongly from within. A dream that someday Indonesian schools and education will be moving to this stream, where teaching and learning is another joy of living. 

I am sure that all of the FEE alumnae have and hold the same dream and hope. Some of them built their own schools, which schools that always have students in waiting list in every new academic year. Some of them continued to be teacher trainers, spread their knowledge and expertise they got to many schools even in some remote areas across this archipelago. Some of them continued their teaching career in some great schools in Jakarta and regions nearby. 

FEE program was closed already for some reasons. But one thing I must mention here that precious opportunity would not have happened without JIS. 

JIS – people would acknowledge it or not, have given and contributed a lot to Indonesian education journey. As can be seen, nowadays, many and many more Indonesian parents show interest in schools that implement modern pedagogy that evidently boost students confidence and self-esteem. 

JIS has a big contribution to gradually spread this modern pedagogy in the host country land. Deeply feel grateful for that. 

(To be continued in Part II) 

Why I will do Bikram yoga until the day I die

Just here. Just now.

Yeah, I know. That’s a big statement. Especially for me.

I can have some bandwagon tendencies. I jump on and ride along for about six months until a more interesting wagon rolls on by.

This is different. Bikram is a keeper. Yoga is a lifelong practice for me and if I ever stop doing it, someone needs to kick my ass back on to the mat because I’ve temporarily lost my mind.

The spiritual aspects of the practice are infused so strongly into my life, that sometimes I forget to pay homage to the physical piece.

When I was 11 years old, I broke my back. I crushed three vertebrae between my shoulder blades and I got whiplash in my lower back. I was encased in a metal brace and I had to use a wheelchair if I needed to walk further than a few steps.

In time I healed…

View original post 393 more words