Live Your Life in Hull

Waaahh… nulis ini gara2 dipanas2in sama Mbak Wuri, Mas Udin n Mbak Tina nih…

Menulis bahasa Indonesia lagi setelah sekian lama nggak nulis pake bahasa Indonesia. Maaf klo bahasanya ‘gaul’, ‘nggak baku’, dan campur2 yaa.. I’m not good at writing, especially in formal Indonesian. hehe

Oke. Tulisan ini sebenernya untuk siapa aja, tapi khususnya buat temen2 yang baru akan dateng ke Hull di bulan September 2013 ini. (Semoga bisa bertemu yaaa!! Klo nggak ketemu, ingat2lah saya. hehehe.). Mostly, tulisan ini akan ngebahas ttg student life di Hull. Apa aja kegiatan2 yg bisa kita lakukan through university links

I just came to Hull…

Waktu pertama kali dateng ke Hull, yang menjadi first impression adalah ‘Wow, gue di UK!“ lalu… “Wow, gue di desa di UK!”. Karena dateng dari Jakarta yg merupakan kota besar, tentunya bingung ketika dateng ke kota antah berantah yg berasa jauh dari peradaban. Mikirnya adalah selain belajar, gue mau ngapaiiin? What should I do? Untungnya, di induction week, education department baik sekali mengenalkan kegiatan2 departement yang menarik2 semua, terutama untuk international student nya. I don’t know if this is the case in other departments? Can anyone comment on it? Beberapa kegiatan yg ditawarkan oleh departemen adalah buddy scheme, intercultural seminar, dan course representative. Okay, mari dijelaskan detailnya yaaa…

Buddy scheme itu semacem program, terutama untuk international student dan mahasiswa baru, dimana mereka bisa dapet kaya ‘pembimbing’. Saat itu aku mengertinya begitu. Tapi, ternyata kegiatannya banyak! Termasuk bagi2 tiket gratis untuk berbagai acara di Hull dan jalan2. ‘Pantengin’ lah webpage nya buddy scheme untuk tau berbagai kegiatan yg disponsorin oleh mereka. Lewat kegiatan buddy scheme ini, aku dapet tiket gratis nonton 2x konser musik klasik di City Hall dan tiket gratis untuk nonton Hull FC di KC Stadium. Cool. Ini dia webpage nya buddy scheme: http://www2.hull.ac.uk/student/buddy.aspx

Intercultural Seminar adalah kegiatannya Department of Education di UoH. Seperti namanya, kegiatannya yaaa seminar dong yaa.. Walaupun diselenggarain sama department of education, kegiatan ini terbuka untuk umum. Jadi, semua orang bisa dateng dan denger seminar tsb. Seperti namanya juga, topik2 seminar nya adalah tentang pendidikan, tp dilihat dr berbagai sudut pandang budaya. Orang2 yang mengisi seminar ini adalah international students dr department of education. Alhamdulillah pernah dapet kesempatan untuk ngisi seminar ini plus dpt hidangan spesial bubur ayam (walaupun nggak bubur ayam sih) buat sarapan karena seminar ini biasanya diadain di waktu breakfast atau lunch.

Course Representative atau course rep bahasa gaul nya, adalah perwakilan program di University Union. Semacem perwakilan kelas klo di SMP atau SMA… atau MPM klo di universitas di Indonesia. Pekerjaannya yaa tentu saja merepresentasikan keinginan mahasiswa2 di program kita. Sebagai course rep, kita bisa dapet training gratis, jalan2 gratis mengunjungi university union di universitas2 lain, dan ikut academic meeting departemen kita. Kesempatan yg bagus untuk PDKT sama dosen2 dan tau ttg kegiatan2 departemen. Bertambah juga kesempatan untuk lunch atau dinner atau breakfast gratisan di kampus! Hehe.

Months living in Hull…

Setelah berbulan2 tinggal di Hull dan udah bisa beradaptasi dg kuliah dan lain2, mulai lah galau karena I need something more to do! (walaupun klo lg deadline ttp aja sih kelimpungan dan I don’t have time to do anything. Hee…) Pilihan yang pas adalah untuk menambah pengalaman dg bekerja. Mahasiswa dg visa Tier 4 bisa kerja up to 20 hours per week. Jadi, ada kesempatan untuk kerja part time. Pilihan untuk kerja part time sebenernya banyak asal mau mencari dan tau dimana mencari nya. Ada beberapa permanent resources untuk mencari part time job di uni as following:

UoH Career Centre adalah service dr uni untuk students. Service ini tersedia untuk students dan alumni (berapa lama pun kita udah lulus dr uni). Intinya, seumur hidup kita bisa bergantung sm UoH Career Centre ini. Career Centre ada di top floor University House. Klo nggak serius2 banget nyari kerja nya, bisa juga ngeliat information board (mading – bahasa SD banget yaa) nya career centre yg ada di student service area di top floor University House. Ini dia link webpage nya: http://www2.hull.ac.uk/student/careers.aspx

University Email juga bisa jd salah satu media informasi ttg pekerjaan. Kadang2, ada event2 work placement yg diadain di masing2 departemen dan diinformasikan lewat university email. Kadang2, ada juga anak2 Phd yg lagi penelitan dan butuh participants. Nah, klo ada penelitian2 kaya gini, jgn lupa diliat apa aja yg akan dilakukan dan apakah dibayar atau nggak, karena ada beberapa yang butuh unpaid volunteer. Klo ternyata dibayar, biasaya per jam sekitar 8 pounds.

Student Ambassador bisa jadi pilihan menyenangkan sebagai part time job. Student ambassador adalah mahasiswa yang kerja di uni untuk jadi ‘tour guide’ dan ‘facilitator’ untuk acara2 uni. Biasanya, acara2nya berhubungan dengan mahasiswa baru atau higher education socialisation. Lagi2 harus diingat bahwa nggak semua event yg diselenggarain uni adalah event berbayar. Jadi, student ambassador bisa kerja tidak dibayar. Klo lg dapet acara berbayar, biasanya akan dibayar per jam (10 pounds per jam) atau per hari (30 pounds per hari) tergantung event nya apa. Jadi student ambassador klo buat aku pribadi sih jd pengalaman menyenangkan karena jadi dpt kenalan2 student ambassador yg lain, bisa kenal orang2 yg kerja di uni (which means higher chance to be able to work here in the future), bisa menambah tabungan, dapet training gratis, dan bisa ngerti lbh ttg education system di UK. Lebih beruntung lg karena bisa lebih tau ttg UoH, mulai dr sejarahnya, gedung2nya, acara apa aja yg ada di UoH, masuk keluar Asylum gratisan, lunch gratisan, dan dpt baju student ambassador gratisan. (ketauan yaa anak gratisan). Ini link ke webpage student ambassador: http://www2.hull.ac.uk/student/srs/becominganambassador.aspx

External link which means dapet kerjaan dari luar uni. Biasanya, bisa dapet informasi ini dr job centre di city (boleh tanya ke Mbak Tina atau Mas Ihwan untuk lebih lanjut nya) atau dari temen2 di uni yg kebetulan kerja dan butuh volunteer atau orang untuk kerja part time. Bisa juga info ini didapet dr supervisor kita sendiri. Jadi, berbaik2 lah dg supervisor. Kebetulan aku dpt kesempatan untuk volunteer sekalian research di reception class di sekolahan di East Hull. Walaupun volunteer berarti nggak dibayar, tp pengalamannya yg dicari. Dari pengalaman, biasanya perusahaan atau sekolah, atau institusi apa pun cukup welcome dengan mahasiswa yg mau volunteer. Proses apply nya nggak berbelit2. Kalau punya kenalan org yg kerja disana akan lebih gampang karena dia yg akan ngurusin. Kalau nggak punya kenalan, bisa minta surat pengantar dr kampus dan kita apply sendiri.

Tambahan informasi untuk bagian working ini adalah jangan lupa apply National Insurance Number supaya bisa dibayar. Nggak mau dong, kerja cape2 tp nggak bisa dibayar. Nah, kebijakan disini adalah semua orang yg bekerja (part time atau full time) harus punya national insurance number. Cara apply nya gampang, tinggal telepon aja, nanti ada formulir yg dikirim ke rumah dan harus diisi lalu dikirim balik. Sekitar 2 minggu kemudian kita bisa dapet national insurance number kita. Selain itu, di beberapa tempat tertentu seperti sekolah, biasanya mereka minta kita untuk punya CRB (kaya surat keterangan kelakuan baik). Untuk buat CRB, kita butuh rekomendasi dari uni. Jadi, datanglah ke departemen untuk minta form CRB supaya dapet rekomendasi. Biaya untuk buat CRB adalah 40 pounds. Tapi, departemen2 tertentu menyediakan fasilitas free CRB sehingga kita nggak harus bayar! Selamat mencari kerjaa…!!

Besides working and studying…

Pastinya kalau kerja dan belajar aja pusing lah yaa.. Selain kumpul2 dengan warga Indonesia di Hull di kantor kelurahan (rumahnya Mas Ihwan n Mbak Tina) atau di kantor PPI (kamarnya Mbak Wuri) atau di pos ronda (rumah Chysa atau rumah aku) atau di taman2 terdekat, ada juga kegiatan2 dr kampus yg bisa diikuti. Semua kegiatan non akademik di UoH akan ditangani oleh University Union. Semua mahasiswa UoH otomatis akan tergabung di University Union. It is a privilege for us to be able to join Hull University Union karena udah bbrp tahun ini HUU disebut sbg best university union di UK. Ada berbagai societies di UoH yg bisa diikuti kaya come dine with me society, Islamic society, atau International Student Association (ISA). Biasanya sih yg cukup menarik adalah ISA, dimana kita bisa kenalan sama temen2 internasional. Mungkin penjelasan ttg ISA bisa dibahas lbh lanjut sm Chysa yaa karena dia yg lebih aktif di ISA. However, ini link nya untuk University Union: http://www.hullstudent.com/

Okay! Begitulah informasi tentang student life di Hull. Semoga bermanfaat untuk semuanyaa.. Welcome to Hull!!!

Jun 17, 2013
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Falling in Love

One of the happiest moments during my time teaching in a primary school was when I looked at my students and their eyes bright with interest and enthusiasm in learning. I think that kind of passion in very rewarding for educators because they know that what students learn is going to be meaningful for the students. However, it may not happen a lot in schools these days. I saw students complain about the school, how it makes them bored, how the subjects they learn are useless, and how they want to get out of it as soon as possible. They do not feel, as Pranoto (2012) called, the experience of being in love with learning.

Then, I saw a talk by Robinson (2012) who mentioned that children nowadays are being robbed by the education system. They lost their excitement in learning. How come? I think humans have brains to think and to learn. It almost seems like students nowadays are robots who do what they are told, do not do what they are not told or what they are prohibited to, and feel no emotion during their learning process. People should feel something during the process of learning because they experience cognitive dissonance (Piaget, 1929) which makes people uncomfortable about their state of mind and therefore seek for equilibrium. This may explain why humans are naturally curious and motivated to seek for more.

Probably the reason of people’s disinterest in learning is that because learning, mostly related to an institution called school, instead of coming through personal interest, becomes the commodity of external forces, such as parents, teachers, and even governments. There is no more personal value put into education and learning. It is just something you do because you have to and you have no other choice. It seems, at least for me, that students now have a robotic tendency. They are controlled by others, have some kind of “intelligence” to “operate” but still, have no free will. No free will means no human, no?

The prison called school, invented by the education system makes those students, the ones in touch with education, those who experience education, devalue it. Education has no personal value anymore. What’s in it for students here and now, then? I can imagine how a student in remote area who has never seen airplane need to learn to count the speed of an airplane. It just does not make any sense. Yes, this is the era of global information when everyone can access everything from everywhere theoretically, but not in reality. The reality is curriculum used in education is irrelevant for students’ closest environment, to the present situation now as in 1973 when Freire suggested it. The content of education does not give people the ability to meet individual and local needs (Colin, 2011).

Education, despite of its purpose for global society, is about human. The priority should not be the benefit for the society first, but for the people educated first; as if the emergency situation in airplane requires people to help themselves first before helping others. Education needs to trigger sparks in people. People need to feel that it is worthwhile (Gingell & Winch, 2008). In order to do that, what is learned needs to be meaningful for them, connected to reality. Education, the content and process of it needs to be loveable so that people are in love with it.

May 28, 2013

If I Have a Child

Son, be a good student. Learn diligently and get good scores so that you can be a teacher, a doctor… If you don’t, you’ll just be a cleaner.

 

I heard this from my friend’s story last night. That is a typical advice given by a father to his son. It does not sound strange, it sounds perfectly logic. However, is it really not strange? Because I think, when I really pay attention to the words, it is strange. Why should the son be a good student to be a teacher or a doctor? Can someone be a teacher or a doctor without being a good student? Or, can someone, although he is a good student, still ends up in a blue collar job?

I think, what that sentence represents is the common society belief, that education or being educated leads to a better job. It obviously has a logical explanation because better jobs require higher qualification. My question is what if the kid does not want to be a teacher or a doctor and wants to be a carpenter instead? Does that mean he cannot be a good student? Or what if the question is swapped? I remember one of my students who hated school and learning so that he decided to be a cleaner because he does not have to learn to be one. There is something not right here.

I think people have short-translated education as a pathway for job, and job only. I am not denying that one’s chance to have a good job increases if he has higher level of ‘education’. What is education anyway? I do not think education is the correct term here. Yes, higher level of schooling but not education. Education should not be understood shallowly because then it will lose its essence. If people see education only as a mean to get a better life in the future ‘money wise’, then education can be replaced by many things.

Education as economic tool will not survive. For example, since I was in high school there has been a trend in Indonesia that students are encouraged to cheat during the national exam. Not all teachers or even all schools do this but it exists. Once students have their high school diploma, their chance of getting a job is higher. My friend also told me that in Nigeria, once a person can earn enough money, education is not that important, especially among girls. Moreover, especially in developing countries where the ethics of education has not been wholly understood, people can pay for their higher education diploma so that they do not have to attend university to get the diploma. What a shame. Education has been translated to paper document and money.

In my opinion, people should go back, trace the root of the meaning of education so that they are not being manipulated by people who control education. In order to understand education, one may also need to unattached it from schooling as school according to Dewey (2004) is an environment to facilitate education and therefore it should not exceed education itself. It should not replace the meaning of education. Education comes from Latin word educare which means to nourish (Gingell & Winch, 2008). Historically, as Dewey (2004) explained, education is used to bridge the understanding gap between older members of society and the younger member of society so that the society exists in the future.

Education contains broad meaning for me. It does not only have something to do with economy but with life as a whole. It is not only about individual but also about society. Reflecting on this and looking at the beginning sentences on top of this text, if I have a child, I will say: Son, be educated so that you can grow to be whatever you want, whatever you think will be good for you and your society. 

May 28, 2013

Pursue of Happiness

A few months ago I had a discussion with a friend. He asked me what my life purpose is. Wow, I have never really thought about it. The first thing comes to mind for an answer was to be beneficial for myself, others, and my environment. My friend told me that my answer was not adequate because it was a normative answer. Yes, I agree. My answer was what my culture and religion suggest to be the life purpose of human. Anyone in my culture and religion can answer the same thing. What my friend asked me was what my life purpose is, a specific purpose only for me. Well, I gave it a thought and I cannot disagree with my friend. Although I am not an existentialist, I believe that everyone is unique and humans have free will to choose and direct their life. Having a life purpose and free will are the characters of human.

Do people realise that children are given uniform information about life purpose? They are given the same explanation about the preferred life style: getting higher education degree, working in a multinational company or white collar job, owning assets to ensure their economic welfare, and by achieving those stuffs they will live happily ever after. First of all, there is no such a thing like living happily ever after because human will die eventually. More importantly, whose preferred life style is that? Do all people want that kind of life? In a sense, education contributes to the distribution of that way of life; education which according to Orr (1994) focuses only on personal benefit and intellectuality, abandoning feeling and sense of humanity.

Education is a tool for people; not only a certain group of people but all people. Therefore education has the obligation to facilitate people to achieve their life purpose, at least in my opinion. If educators, including those who have the power to make decision, agree with this, education may be understood differently. Education which is now regarded to be what Robinson (2012) called the producer of university professors because it pushes all children into one direction; can be regarded to be the facilitator of people’s different life purpose.

I think, this concept of education as a facilitator for people to achieve their life purpose puts back human in the centre of education. It respects human’s choice and gives a sense of power for people (Freire, 1973). It is the opposite of the reality of education now. Uniformity is spread all over the world as Colin (2011) showed similarity of national education system worldwide. In an extreme understanding, this kind of uniformity can be regarded as indoctrination which violates people’s autonomy (Gingell & Winch, 2008).

In my opinion, education should be able to help people to live their own unique life. It should go beyond material adequacy, it better be providing spiritual and emotional adequacy; by, as mentioned by Fairfield (2009), enabling people to give richer meanings to their lived experience. Education should also be made in a way that allows individual uniqueness to be celebrated and supports people to pursue their life purpose so that they will be content with happiness.

May 28, 2013

Humanising Human

As education means to nourish (Gingell & Winch, 2008), one question comes into my mind: Who does it nourish? The players in education are people, human beings. And human beings, at least in my opinion, should be treated as human. However, as education nowadays is seen as a tool in globalised world – mostly seen from the economic point of view (Ball, 2006), people are regarded to be economic-, instead of human-being in education. Look at the statements mentioned by government officials, such as Indonesian vice president, Boediono (2012) who wrote that the purpose of education is to produce people who are competent in the workplace so that the national income can be increased.

In order to meet the demand from the government as a response of globalisation in economic sense, schools as the most common educational institution act as human factories. In a movie called Waiting for Superman (2010), I saw a clear description of students, categorised and directed towards different path of education in order to meet the workforce and business demand based on their test scores and intelligence. It seems like students, human beings, are treated as objects that can be controlled and moved around.

In another explanation, Freire (2008) proposed the concept of banking education which treats students as containers of knowledge. Education in this perspective seems to act as bank that deposits knowledge. How weird is that? Education which supposed to be controlled by human in general acts as if it is human and students – the human beings – are treated as if they are some kind of jars – non living things. Of course education in reality is controlled by human but only those who have power but nonetheless those people hide behind the ‘innocence’ of education. Then again, one can conclude from this point of view that education is used by people in power to oppress young people as what Freire (1996) suggested. It is a tool for the government to oppress citizens in order to achieve better economic performance which again benefits certain groups of people.

In my opinion, education should be used to humanise human. Education can be used as a tool to liberate people from globalised world’s ‘slavery’ to be fully capable human beings. Students, young people, or people in general should be the owner of globalised world, not the workers in it. I believe that it is the ideal condition as it is explained in the Koran that humans are the ones who inherit the world. The word inherit contains a sense of ownership, control, and power over the object. In order to do this – humanising human – Freire (1973) suggested that education should make people aware that they have the power to face challenges of the world.

One can see a sense of human empowerment in the process of humanising human. People need not to be passive which dehumanising, the lowest form of defence mechanism believed in critical psychology. Instead, they need to be reflective, a restless act to pursue knowledge through invention (Freire, 1973) so that they can act appropriately. Education should be able to empower people or students maybe, and make them capable of being truly humans in the era of globalisation now. Education need to humanise human if not re-humanise human at this point.

May 28, 2013

What is this feeling?

This is NOT an affectionate text. If you know me well then you might have guessed. Haha!

I talked to my friend, Chysa, a few weeks ago. We were basically in the same situation and we felt the same thing. WE WERE BORED! Yes, we live in a small city in Yorkshire area and for city girls like us, it is different from the life we lived before. But still… we shouldn’t feel that bored.

It was not that we were bored because we have nothing to do. Believe me, we have loads to do. It was more emotional. We both felt like we didn’t feel enough emotion (if there is such a thing). See, if we are happy then we’re not that happy. If we are sad then we’re not that sad. If we’re angry then we’re not that angry. Why??

I suppose balance is the key for everything, right? And what I described before suppose to be balance, am I correct? Happy but not that happy; sad but not that sad… But is there such a thing called balance in terms of emotion? Can we be partially stimulated in our limbic system? Any neuropsychologist?? I wonder… (*brb reading neuro books)

Well, then a few days ago I read this article in the guardian. The writer described differences of the situation in the tube in London and New York. And guess what, the writer found that it is busier, louder, and I suppose more dynamic in New York. The tube is quiet, people are more self-absorbed with their own activities, and there were only a little human interaction in London.

Maybe it is a cultural thing, then? I mean, here in the UK people are more self-conscious, quiet, mannered (?) and therefore those who live in UK may not feel extreme emotion. It is my assumption, really. But hey, which one would you choose? Would you rather feel more extreme emotion even though it may not be always pleasant OR would you choose the so so situation?

I will definitely choose the one where I wouldn’t get bored.

May 21, 2013

“The more students work at storing the deposits entrusted to them, the less they develop the critical consciousness which would result from their intervention in the world as transformers of that world. the more completely they accept the passive role imposed on them, the more they tend simply to adapt to the world as it is and to the fragmented view of reality deposited in them.”

Learning

“Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.”

John Dewey

My take: People are learning creatures. We are learning all the time, in everything that we do and experience. Problems only arise if what surrounds us is negative, and if we haven’t been equipped (by others, by past experiences) to deal with that in a positive way. If the things we are adapting to, learning from and learning about are problematic, then we will develop problematic ideas and habits.

So if we’re interested in trying to ensure that learners have certain skills and understandings, we need to think about creating environments and activities that compel learners to make certain connections and develop certain skills over others. Instead of enumerating what we want them to know and trying to teach those things directly (rarely as effective as most people think), we should be designing learning environments where they can do things that will demand the kind of thinking (and eventually, learning) we want.