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Have you ever considered what education is like in other parts of the world? What would a classroom full of students look like in Kenya, Finland, India, Brazil or Indonesia? What style of teaching and learning occurs in these classrooms? What is considered to be successful in teaching and learning practices?

The crux of considering these questions is how can we learn from each other in our teaching and learning practices? By going beyond our borders, we can consider globally what is happening in schools.

To encourage our school community to think and act globally, last year ‘Serving Indonesia with a Heart’ (SIWAH) was founded. The vision for SIWAH, was to form a partnership between SMA HKBP 1 Tarutung and Faith Lutheran College, where each school community could serve the other and make a difference in the lives of our students.

In July 2018 the inaugural Faith visit saw six Year 11 Faith students, two staff and two parents visit Indonesia and the reciprocal partnership was successfully formed. During Week 6 the Faith Community were absolutely thrilled to return the hospitality by welcoming six guests from SMA HKBP 1 Tarutung in Indonesia including Mr. Tumbur (Principal), Ms. Anna (Chemistry teacher), Ms. Niki (English teacher), and 3 students, Ika, Warti, and Kurnia.

During their time at the College, our guests immersed themselves in many classes, observing, taking notes and videoing Faith’s teaching and learning practices. They were particularly impressed by the diversity of subjects offered and our Wine program.

When asked what they (the Indonesian staff) could take back to Indonesia and use in their teaching practices, Ms. Anna replied, ‘I want to ask more questions of my students, rather than just tell them information. I want them to think about their learning more.’

SIWAH holds a special place in the heart of Principal Steve Wilksch who mentions ‘everything we want to achieve in relation to the mission can be accomplished through this relationship.’

‘As the College unpacks the Philosophy set by the International Baccalaureate®, SIWAH encourages our students to become internationally minded, understanding the world through the eyes of other people. SIWAH also gives real-life learning opportunities, encouraging students to celebrate and appreciate their similarities and differences in a global context. Through these relationships we have an opportunity to serve and learn from each other.’

Student comments
The Faith community prides itself on close staff and student relationships and by popular opinion, this is how a lot of our students benefit from their learning. I think one of the most powerful elements of their
(The Indonesian Staff and students) reciprocated trip to Australia was, that they were able to witness the sense of friendship in our Faith community. Through witnessing the ‘learning partnership’ through effective working relationships, the Indonesian staff now want to replicate this in their school environment. Hopefully, by increasing teacher/student interaction and partnering in learning, their community will produce better academic results and also develop their Lutheran culture, something both schools share.’ Anneka

The impact on having the very people who welcomed us into their school and some, their own homes, come and be able to have the same treatment reciprocated on them whilst being in Australia was so valuable for our partnership. A memorable experience from the week was having a photo night, in which we looked at the photos we took whilst being in Indonesia. As a group, we were able to bond over memories, bringing back emotions like happiness, tiredness as well as a deep missing for the trip and the friends we made over there. Amy

Finally having our Indonesian friends visit us, in our country, our school and our wider community were very valuable. As we observed their customs and practices, they observed ours. I particularly appreciated their visits to various classes to observe various subjects at work, seeing the scenery of the Barossa and our wildlife and spending time reflecting with them about the differences and similarities between Indonesia and Australia and SMA HKBP 1 Tarutung and Faith Lutheran College, and what we have and can continue to learn from each other. Sarah