Australian student teachers experience the Malaysian education system
A group of ten student teachers from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia recently spent two weeks in Kuala Lumpur to enhance their intercultural competence by gaining knowledge and understanding of Malaysian culture, languages, history and social development.
By engaging with Malaysian peers who were also studying to be teachers, the Australian students developed a comparative understanding of how an education system worked in another country, and how pedagogy and curriculum were locally contextualised.
The program, Intercultural Competence for Student Teachers – Language, Culture and History Education in Malaysia, ran from 22 September to 5 October. Manager of International and Engagement from the Faculty of Education at Queensland University of Technology, Ms Mary Hurwood, said the two-week program enabled the students to participate in a structured program of classroom-based activities, intercultural workshops, school visits, and cultural and historical site visits.
“The classroom-based activities included classes on Bahasa Malaysia, Malaysian history, cultural storytelling and intercultural discussions with Malaysian student teachers.
“The Australian students also visited a number of schools to observe classroom practice both at primary and secondary levels, and in their final school visit, they taught a 30-minute lesson about Australia using Australian storybooks, which were donated to the schools.
“The students have developed a greater awareness of Asia, which is an important element of new national curriculum in Australia,” she explained.
The program was jointly developed by the Faculty of Education at Queensland University of Technology with the Institut Pendidikan Guru Kampus Ilmu Khas. The two institutions had been working together for more than five years on the Ministry of Education Malaysia's Link Degree Program for the training of Primary TEFL teachers.
The student teachers also met with senior staff of the Australian High Commission. Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, H.E. Mr Miles Kupa, welcomed the collaboration between Queensland University of Technology and Institut Pendidikan Guru Kampus Ilmu Khas.
“The program encouraged Australian students to gain an understanding of the Asian region, which is important for the future of Australia.
“It enhances the people-to-people links and deepens the already strong connections between Australia and Malaysia,” he said.
Ms Stephanie Arthur and Mr Christopher Dunne, both student teachers from Queensland University of Technology in Australia, sharing stories about their country with students from SK Convent Bukit Nenas in Kuala Lumpur.
Ms Laura Petherick and Ms Gillian Stork, both student teachers from Queensland University of Technology in Australia, sharing stories about their country with students from SK Taman Segar in Cheras.