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Principal's Blog

Found in: Leadership Blog

Speaking their Language

Australia is in a funny place.

  • We’re the biggest island and the smallest continent.
  • We’re historically an outpost of English language and European traditions.

English is a funny language.

  • It is complicated, convoluted and hard to spell.
  • It has become the international language of commerce and travel.
  • Everyone seems to want to learn it.

So why would it make sense for Australian students to learn another language?

I think the answer is relationships.

Our plan in learning Indonesian is built on relationships. Indonesia is an affordable and accessible country. It is a large and powerful nation and our closest neighbour. Indonesian is an accessible language without complex characters or grammatical constructions where our students can find success.

We are making friends with Indonesian teachers and students.

Over the holiday period I visited the two Indonesian Christian International schools some of whose students came to be with us in 2013 (Surabaya and Jakarta). Their hospitality was wonderful and they desire to grow in relationship with us. Out of this visit, we have developed plans to connect our students with them through Skype and shared learning  projects, begin a teacher exchange and development program and share student contact trips. We have a plan that our students would go to Indonesia and Indonesian students come to us on a rotating basis one year after another. 

I am aware it is short notice, but I would like to invite students from Years 7 to 10 to join me on a trip to Indonesia in August this year. The cost is being calculated but would be a little over $2000. The plan would be for students to stay in Surabaya and spend some days helping in an orphanage/school in the mountains outside Surabaya. We may visit Jakarta as well. I have checked accommodation at all these locations and it is safe, clean and healthy. This would be the first step of rotating visits. Our students to Indonesia in 2014; Indonesian students to us 2015 etc.

This is the first stage of flagging a program and the seed of an idea. This is the beginning of providing students with an opportunity to be enriched by building relationships, develop empathy, a great culture and learning how to help others less privileged. This is also the beginning as a college of learning a wonderful language in a context that creates richness and meaning for our students.

We will be providing more information soon.