After we arrived in Lombok Indonesia, we were brought to the village leader's house. We had a meal and were escorted to our room at his house. We slept well and woke up the next morning to breakfast Lombok style. Ramen noodles, boiled eggs, bread and tea or coffee. We then went to visit the two schools that the village supports. One is a kindergarten and primary school and the other is a secondary and high school. Later we were brought to a government supported school. The village supported schools were in the middle of town. The government school was three kilometers out side of the village. The "village supported" Muslim school, is also used to house and feed the orphans of the village. The rooms that they slept in had a very thin felt carpet pad on the floor for bedding. There was one working toilet for all of them at the secondary school and an open well for water used for other than drinking.. I saw all of the villagers drinking the cheapest bottled water they can get. I also saw one water purification store. I saw adults and children fishing in the local river and rice paddies. They caught small carp and catfish and something called Nile Fish.
On the third day we were asked to teach English
at the secondary and high school. While in the United States, I taught classes, for the Community Education Dept. of Irvine Valley College, in California. (1988 thru 1994) The classes were paid for by Adults in the community who wanted to gain knowledge from "non college credit classes" during the weeknights, and on Saturdays. I usually taught an eight hour, saturday class, which was given three times a year (a total of 24 class days a year for each college). I also taught at Goldenwest College in Huntington Beach California.
I was told that I was the only white person many of the children had ever seen, and unlike Algeria, (where I had had recently arrived from) there were very few televisions here. I didn't see any satellite dishes in town. In the classrooms, the boys were on one side of the room, and the girls on the other. I inquired about their english proficiency level and didn't get a specific reply, so I started asking "What is your Birthday?" and taught them the correct pronunciation of the words in the sentence. I then taught them the reply: "My birthday is November the 10th." They seemed to have been taught in a very route way before (call and response). I came into the classroom a couple of days later and after teaching at other classes. This first class had retained some of the information from the former class, but they did not retain much. Apparently there was no practicing of the English language going on. On this occasion, after the class and I finished reviewing the sentences, I made them pair up and practice with each other, just as if it were a real world situation. After demonstrating the technique to the students with my wife, I had the students try it. My wife and I walked around and coached the pairs.
1. Get their attention by saying "Hello" and establish eye contact.
2. Ask: "What is your birthday?"
3. Second person says "My birthday is month (January for example) the day." (the 12th for example)
4. The first person says: "Thank you."
5. The second person says: "You're welcome"
This "practicing in pairs" was not easy to get them to implement, as they would do it only once, and then start aimlessly talking in Bahasa or start playing. I had to walk around and actively enforce their practicing.
At the end of practice I held a competition between the girls and the boys. "That" got there attention. The winners were applauded and also given a rating from one to ten.
We actually got one other question learned and practiced by the end of the class. "How old are you?" answer : "I am 14 years old."
Having to actually APPLY the english lesson seemed to have worn the students out. By the time we finished the lesson and competition, many of them were dozing off with their heads on their desks.
What is the reason for teaching these questions?
There is a brand new airport being built on this Island, only about six kilometers from the village. Many new hotels are planned for the Kuta Beach area just a 13 kilometer drive from the village. I am concentrating on what the employers will ask in personal interviews and on their applications. In another class at the public School I taught "Excuse me. Where is the bathroom?" answer: "The bathroom is this way" and had them walk the person asking for the bathroom, towards the bathroom, while pointing with one finger to indicate the direction. We also practiced "Where is the Lady's room, Men's room, restroom, etc."