Having received an invitation to visit Indonesia in June in the Australian winter, it was both a pleasure and a shock on arrival in July; pleasure in the hospitality of the friars, teachers and students and shock at the rather severe weather. The food was good but different in that I found it hard to accept the sweet, spicy dishes but I was very careful.
The idea of running or organizing a seminary/school these days is something very highly commendable. Especially with boarding students, it is a huge concern (there are only a very few Catholic boarding schools now in Australia). It is evident that the co-operation of the teachers and students is great. Of course, the BIG recurring thing is finance and I am sure that this is a big worry. We in Australia spend quite some money on vocations work even though our Postulants mainly enter some years after leaving school. Here you have a ready-made reservoir of possibilities with the Seminary and I think that the financials are more than adequate to meet the needs.
As regards English teaching, the class I had seemed very good at grammar and syntax. It would be good if they had more chance for conversational English, without the fear of making mistakes (virtually every one in Australia makes some sort of mistakes in spoken English!). I guess there is the emphasis on academic English and getting marks. It is the great extra benefit if the student feels somewhat confident in speaking English (writing down one’s ideas at first is a great help).
Finally, as this has been a first step. I hope and pray that there may be a very friendly and helpful exchange of friars and ideas, perhaps initially for short periods.
It was a most rewarding experience for me.
Br. Gerard O’Brien OFMCap.
@ Br. Gerard O'Brien OFM CapBalasHapus
Greetings from Bintan Island,
I must admit that teaching English as a second language for Indonesia is a tough job. The students will also face the same situation. Why?
Firstly it's due to the teachers skill. We can not expect good result from the students if the teacher himself have only TOEFL score of 200-300 for example. From my experience, only teacher whose TOEFL score at least 550 able to create an active english class.
Secondly, it is also due to the fact that Indonesian government does not use English as a second language in the administration as is the case in Malaysia, Singapore and Philipines. If only the Indonesian government use English as a second language in the government administration, I believe this will be a great help.
No matter how good the english education syllabus introduced by the ministry of education, the english practice or exercise only happened in the classroom. Besides in the classroom, there is no encouragement or environment for the student to continue practice English they learn in the real life situation.
In view of this, I belive the Catholic church, started from the Seminary, can take the lead in creating a conducive atmosphere for effective English teaching by using English as a second language in teaching instruction, notices, rules and regulation and song books. I know it's not an easy job. But only this way, the Catholics can advance in English profiency in the future.