“Thank you God, for giving me the opportunity to be part of the SEA-Teacher Project Batch 8. I will always remember all of this experience.“
Purposes of Practicum
The SEA-Teacher Project is a project that aims to provide opportunity for pre-service student teachers from universities in Southeast Asia to have teaching experiences (practicum) in schools in other countries in Southeast Asia. The objectives of this project are:
- To enable pre-service student teachers to develop their teaching skills and pedagogy.
- To encourage the pre-service student teachers to practice their English skills.
- To allow the pre-service student teachers to gain a broader regional and world view.
- To expose future teachers to diverse teaching and learning situations and opportunities and the value of flexibility.
After joining the SEA-Teacher program, I think I can achieve its goals. I gained a lot of new knowledge, especially in pedagogy skills, such as: improving my ability to teach starting from preparing lesson plans to managing the class well. Besides that, I also gained new knowledge about the education system in Vietnam, which of course is different from Indonesia.
I became more flexible in speaking English. This is because when teaching practice I have to explain the material using English and in daily life I also use English to communicate with lecturers, volunteers, and SEA-Teacher participants. In addition, I also had the opportunity to be able to learn new language, such as: Tagalog (Filipino) and Vietnamese (Vietnam). I learned a few sentences in Tagalog to increase knowledge. I also learned basic words and daily conversation in Vietnamese to interact with the people.
I also feel more confident, can improve communication skills, and can overcome my nervousness when teaching in class. Besides that, I also had the opportunity to learn Vietnamese culture. I am very happy whenever invited to do cultural tours. I am very happy to learn new things. This program also made me become more independent. That is because I have to get out of my comfort zone, because this is the first time I have gone away from my mother in less than a month. Therefore, this program is very useful for students like me because I can gain new knowledge, meet new friends, and learn about cultures and traditions that are certainly very different from my country Indonesia.
Procedures of Practicum
The practicum is divided into Three steps, such as: observation, teaching practice, evaluation and reflection.
The first step is observation. This observation is divided into two parts, namely: school observation and class observation.
- School observations
School observations is activities to find some information about the school, such as: school profile, academic support systems, teaching system, materials and other learning sources, measurement and evaluation system, student extracurricular activities, and curriculum used by the school.
- Class observation
After knowing my cooperating teacher, I have to observe the class. I need to know how the students are, the teaching system is, and the learning methods used. I do this observation together with other SEA-Teacher math participants and was accompanied by our mentor and volunteer. In this observation, first, our cooperating teacher gave us the opportunity to introduce our-self to the students. After that we will sit behind and observe the teaching process. During the observation process, my mentor gave me a lot of explanations, because the teaching and learning process uses Vietnamese, she was afraid I would not be able to understand the things that the teacher was doing.
The second step is teaching practice. After knowing about the math schedule, the class situation, examples of teaching plans, and the topics that I have to teach, next is doing practice teaching. This step is a very long-awaited moment and becomes the core activity of the practicum. In this teaching practice, I was given the opportunity to teach in grades 6 and 8. This teaching practice was held in the second and third week while I was in Vietnam.
Evaluation and Reflection
The third step is evaluation and reflection. Evaluation is carried out after each completion of teaching practice, and the results of the evaluation will be reflected to participants, so that participants get feedback to be able to improve teaching skills. Evaluations will be conducted by mentors and cooperating teachers.
Outcomes of Practicum
As what I have mentioned in the purposes of the practicum section, many things that I got from this program. First, I was able to improve my teaching and pedagogy skills because of the many comments and suggestions given by mentors and cooperating teachers, and I was given enough opportunities to doing teaching practices. Second, I can study the education system in the destination country. Third, I can practice and improve my English skills because when I teach I have to speak English. Fourth, I have great experience while living abroad, I get many new friends from other countries, learn new languages, share opinions and cultures with each other, and also respect each other in any difference.
The Challenges of Practicum
My biggest challenge during this program is language. Because in the teaching and learning process, teachers and students always uses Vietnamese. At the first time, I was very difficult to make communication with students. Fortunately, my cooperating teachers, mentors and volunteers provide a lot of good advice and always help me prepare bilingual teaching materials. In addition, I really appreciate students who have enthusiasm for learning despite having a little difficulty in language. This is what makes me always excited to prepare a good teaching and learning process and enjoy teaching time.
Besides that, It’s hard for me to buy something in store without Volunteers because most Vietnamese people can’t speak or understand English. I have to adjust with the food, because it’s hard to find halal food here and most Vietnamese food isn’t spicy. I was also very careful about my actions because I worry about what I might do wrong in their culture and beliefs. However, I am very grateful to be able to overcome this difficulty with the help of people around me.
I am very grateful to be part of the SEA-Teacher Project batch 8. This is an amazing opportunity. This is also one of my dreams to be able to go abroad and bring the name of Indonesia. The SEA-Teacher project is a very helpful program for students who will soon become teachers. I personally feel that I have improved and become a better person with the help of this program.
I also learned a lot about culture and the education system in Vietnam. I get so many great and unforgettable experiences. I met a lot of good people, Vietnamese are very kind and friendly. Especially to Dong Thap University (DThU) thank you very much for welcoming us like your family. Even though we are different, we respect each other very well.
Insha Allah, In the future we can meet again.
Suggestions for Future Improvement
This program is very useful for the Pre-Service Student Teachers. I hope that SEAMEO can continue to enhance cooperation with other ASEAN countries, so that all ASEAN countries can participate in this program. For Dong Thap University (DThU), I hope that in the future you can continue to maintain your commitment to always facilitate and provide the best service to Pre-Service Student Teachers. I hope all of the recipient universities can treat Pre-Service Student Teachers like DThU treats us, because it is very important to make Pre-Service Student Teachers feel comfortable and enjoy the process of their teaching practice.
I also want to advise the next SEA-Teacher participants to learn the language of the country where they will be placed, because this is very useful and can help you while living in the country. The last but not least, When you are chosen by your university to take part in this program, enjoy it!, do your best, keep the name of your country and university well, and try also to explore on your own and befriend a lot of people.