Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The First SMK English Teachers' Colloquium in Probolinggo

My first local colloquium took place last Saturday, November 15 in the computer laboratory of SMKN 1 Probolinggo. Attended by 12 teachers, apart from me, the meeting, which was actually an MGMP meeting, lasted for about three hours, starting from 09:30 a.m. to 12:30 pm. About 5-10 other teachers who had been invited could not attend the meeting due to several reasons.

During the occasion, I had a chance to pass some of the important information that I had got from the 2nd MET Colloquium in Jakarta last August. Among those was the Internet-Based TOEIC Test on Speaking and Writing about which my colleagues in Probolinggo were completely uninformed. It was quite surprising for me to find that none of them knew or had heard about such test before. Unfortunately, I couldn’t come to them with something to read or see since it was not our main agenda of the meeting. (We hadn’t had the Examinee Handbook and other necessary data copied). However, I promised them that I would provide the forum with more information about the test in our next meeting.

The other thing, which was the main agenda of the meeting, was a brief workshop on Hot Potatoes. Though some of them, especially the ladies, seemed to have a rather hard time with computers, my colleagues were quite enthusiastic about the program. Despite the use of LCD, I had to run and move here and there many times to assist them with their work. But I enjoyed it. Let’s consider it a form of physical exercise for me.

The reason for the agenda was that we felt it was quite necessary to introduce computer-based tests to our students, and to vary the teaching methods that we apply from time to time by making use of any available teaching-learning media including computer. Based on my own experience, if presented correctly, a test or quiz in such a computerized form as Hot Potatotes files can be fun and enjoyable to the students. It can be a new and constructive learning experience which, in turn, will nurture and help maintain their motivation in learning.

I was quite happy to be able to share what I know and to pass necessary information to my colleagues in Probolinggo and I really appreciate their willingness to learn. I feel grateful for SMKN 1 Probolinggo, especially the headmaster (though he seemed to be unsupportive at first) and my colleagues and friends there (for their help from the very beginning), for allowing English MGMP teachers to use the computer lab. I should also thank Mr. Gumawang Jati from Bandung Talent Source for his kindness to share his paid ‘Hot Potatoes’ software with us teachers. Well, it’s clearly not for nothing, sir.

Above all, I should extend my heartfelt gratitude to Ms. Jenny Lee, Mr. Victor Chan and everyone in ITC Jakarta for their effort in upgrading English teachers through Master English Teachers’ Colloquium program. Speaking in a broader context, I believe that all your work and effort will bear its fruit and add a color of value to the English language teaching in Indonesia. God bless you all.

Last but not least, I hope my MET colleagues will share their experience here. We would like to hear from you all because I’m sure there must be something that we can learn from you. You are all such great and wonderful people I can never forget the moments that I shared with you. Keep in touch and keep sharing, Masters.

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