Four continents in one talk back radio show!
At 11pm Australian, Eastern Standard time, I have taken part on talk back Indonesian radio with John Warrnken from USA and Endang from Indonesia. This is another amazing experience for me, where Indonesian folk have the opportunity to ring in to the radio and talk English to John over a period of an hour. Music is played intermittently. The rural Indonesians are so keen to practise their English. I have been a guest over the last couple of weeks. This week, another English teacher joined us and to my amazement, she was from Russia – Siberia to be exact!!! Her English was clear, audible and understandable.
The Indonesian radio had difficulties with sound this week. The three guest teachers had difficulty hearing both the radio compere and Endang. They had cable connection problems. Technical difficulties prevented themfrom taking outside calls this week. So, John masterfully took on the role of interviewer and interviewed me and Julia (from Siberia) about our teaching, our schools and a little about our countries for the Indonesian audience. This worked well and it was certainly interesting comparing each other’s experiences.
Let me take you back to the beginning…..an online search allowed John Warrnken to find me on skype. Our common interest in working with people from other countries/cultures etc has enabled us to work together and share acquired knowledge. John’s work with conversational English has led him to produce a wonderful software grerecorder which allows skype conversations to be recorded for future use. This is a neat software package mashes the chat and recorded conversations into a user friendly bundle – an important process for reflection upon conversations, when practising English.
After speaking to Endang’s students via skype/ videoconferencing at various times, a firm friendship has formed. This one amazing woman has singlehandedly started to transform her small rural town (200,000 people) in Western Java, into one that is connected to the globe. She takes her laptop to school and with her fantastic and capable use of skype, has been able to connect these students from such poor backgrounds to us in the Western civilization, giving them the chance to actually see our schools, our homes and speak conversational English.
With John’s help that knowledge will just grow. It has connected the wider rural community of Pekalongan, via the radio show, into both the Western and Eastern world and beyond. Sheer determination and hard work has enabled Endang’s students, who have no access to computers at school or at home, into the latest of technological 21st century education. Looking into her physical classroom takes me back 50 years in Western time. What a lesson this is to us and what a heroine you are, Endang!