Writing A Keynote Speech 2

Let’s review what I mentioned in my previous class about witing a great keynote speech.

First of, it’s gotta provide insightful information to audience.Our audience need to be moved by our speech, so the speech must have an impact to them becase we give them interesting facts and illustrate them with an actionable example. And if we restate ou facts in different ways, the speech will be more memorable.

Secondly, keep it simple. Make sure that our message is clearly understood by the audience. If we have many things to cover, make them stick and try to consolidate all points into a core message of 1-2 sentences only. Do you still remember my article about Zen Presentation? Garr Reynolds mentioned it from Watkins that making ideas stick we can use the SUCCES method(Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Stories) to build out our message in an engaging way.

Finally, wrap up the speech with a call to action. This will give our audience a clear takeaway and a desire to engage in future action for community.

OK let me share you another example of keynote speech used in my MOF. The speech was delivered on a seminar on “Women Participation for Economic Inclusiveness” in Surabaya, August 2, 2018.

Here we go…

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EMPOWERING WOMEN TO REACH FULL DEVELOPMENT POTENTIAL

Sri Mulyani Indrawati Minister of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia

Ibu Yohana Yembise, Minister of Women Empowerment and Child Protection, Pakdhe Karwo, Governor of East Java Province, Distinguished Panelists, Moderators, Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Assalamu’alaikumwarahmatullahiwabarakatuh, May peace be upon us all.

Opening Let me begin by thanking all of you for participating in this seminar. Some of you have flown across oceans to be here, thus our gratitude is due. This seminar is part of the Voyage to Indonesia, a program series in the lead up to the IMF-World Bank Group Annual Meetings which will be held in Nusa Dua, Bali on October 8 to 14, 2018. Through this series, as the host country, Indonesia would like to advance the discourse of important issues that are pertinent to development. Gender equality and women empowerment is a crucial topic that should be discussed. Empowering women is a must if we want to reach our full development potential. To frame our discussion, let me first update you on recent economic developments, globally and domestically, and then I will share my perspective on women participation for economic inclusiveness.

Recent Economic Development According to the latest IMF Report, global growth in 2018 and 2019 is projected to reach 3.9 percent. However, the expansion is becoming less even, and risks to the outlook are mounting. The rate of expansion appears to have peaked in some major economies and growth has become less synchronized. Among emerging market and developing economies, growth prospects are becoming more uneven, amid rising oil prices, higher yields in the United States, escalating trade tensions, and market pressures on the currencies of some economies with weaker fundamentals. The balance of risks has shifted further to the downside, including in the short term. In long run, we should not under estimate the socio-economic impact of climate change, natural disasters, and technological automation. I have just attended the G20 Finance Ministers’ Meeting in Buenos Aires recently. International trade and financial vulnerabilities were the key issues during the meeting as it bring added volatility to the global economy. In this regard, I have shared the importance of transparency and communication on economic policies in the developed countries, since any policy changes there would affect the global economy. My views complement IMF’s recommendations to avoid protectionist measures and find a cooperative solution that promotes continued growth of goods and services trade to preserve the global expansion. Policies and reforms should aim at sustaining economic activity, raising medium-term growth, and enhancing its inclusiveness. As the downside risks mount, many countries need to rebuild fiscal buffers to create policy space for the next downturn and strengthen financial resilience to an environment of possibly higher market volatility. Amidst this global uncertainty, Indonesia is able to maintain stability and soundness of its macroeconomic condition.Growth has been stable above 5 percent, particularly supported by rising investment and improving export. Inflation is also benign supported by improving supply side, while the financial sector is still stable despite recent pressure. Furthermore, our fiscal policy is more prudent and supports growth. The prospect and outlook for Indonesia’s economy remains positive, confirming Indonesia’s position as one of the most promising countries and one of the most attractive investment destinations in the world. However, we do realize that challenges remain in the road ahead, particularly coming from external factors, such as the US monetary policy normalization, trade tensions and protectionism, as well as geopolitical issues. From the domestic sector, poverty, inequality, and quality of human capital are among the challenges we aim to tackle. On poverty and inequality, I am happy to share with you that our poverty level now is at 9.82 percent. This is the first time in our poverty eradication history that poverty level is single digit, below 10 percent. At the same time, our Gini Ratio has stood at 0.38–an improvement from 0,40 in 2015.

Global Gender Gap Now, let me now touch upon the theme of this seminar. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, gender parity is still more than 200 years away. This is not shocking to me, maybe to you as well. It is quite obvious that in the poorest countries, maternal mortality remains unacceptably high, while many women still lack access to basic reproductive health services. Women’s labor force participation has also stagnated and even slightly fallen in some places. Women remain half as likely as men to have full-time wage jobs. In many countries, women face legal and social barriers that prevent them from owning or inheriting assets, opening bank accounts, or accessing credit on their own. Female-owned businesses are generally smaller, with fewer employees, and they are more likely to be homebased. The United Nations Women’s latest report reveals that across the world, women are more likely to live in extreme poverty than men. This gender gap in poverty, those living on less than US$ 1.90 a day, is as high as 22 percent during women’s peak reproductive years, due to difficulties of reconciling commitments outside and inside the house. Gender inequality has suppress the development potential of countries, economies, and even companies to meet today’s challenges. According to a World Bank study released in 2018, the loss in human capital wealth due to gender inequality is estimated at US$ 160.2 trillion. This is about twice the value of global GDP. In other words, human capital wealth could increase by 21.7 percent globally, and total wealth by 14 percent, with gender equality in earnings.

Therefore, empowering women is a must if we want to reach our full potential. This means giving women the ability to fully and genuinely participate economically, socially and politically, without being discriminated on the basis of their gender. In this regard, to achieve gender parity, we need to implement gender sensitivity early in our policy deliberations. The data and facts presented need to be valid, accurate and comprehensive, so that the needs of men and women can be mapped. Gender parity is also an integral part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Hence, again, we need to ensure an equal representation of women to achieve an optimum state of prosperity and welfare, as half of the world’s population is female.

Global Strategies Improving opportunities for women and girls is not only morally right, but critical to economic development. To make a more equal world, we can implement some strategies, among others reducing maternal mortality and closing remaining health and education gaps; creating more and better jobs for women and for men; closing the gender gap in ownership and control of key assets such as land, housing, technology and finance; and enhancing women’s ability to make themselves heard and direct the course of their own lives. To make the strategies successful in its implementation, we need a strong collaboration among the governments, international institutions, civil society organizations, the private sector and related stakeholders. A key agenda that should be resolved is about data gaps, particularly in vital statistics, asset ownership, time use, labor, health, welfare, and uptake of financial services. It is very obvious that data gaps are particularly accute among the world’s poorest countries where more equality for women and girls will have a critical impact on poverty. Supported with accurate and valid data, smart and sound policies that advance gender equality will be rightly formulated and inplemented to build a more resilient, peaceful, and prosperous world. Now, let me turn to Indonesia’s gender parity situation.

Gender Inequality in Indonesia According to the World Bank, Indonesia’s Gender Parity Index (GPI) –a ratio of girls to boys used to measure gender equity in schools— looks promising. The GPI for primary education enrollment is 0.973, which shows an almost a one-to-one ratio of enrollment in primary schools. Even better, the index further improves for secondary and tertiary education, showing that there are more women than men enrolled in high schools and above. However, the Human Development Index for women in Indonesia is still below that of men: 0.660 to 0.712. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) data in 2016 also shows that only 50.9 percent of women participate in the labor force, compared to 83.9 percent of men. Even worse, the per capita gross national income is only 6.668 for women while men stands at 13.391. Indonesia is a nation of diversity with hundreds of ethnic groups and cultures, where the majority are patriarchal societies. This patriarchal structure places men at the top of the community ladder, which means they have more rights and benefits than women. This structure creates an additional obstacle for women to enjoy equal opportunity. In this regard, Indonesia needs to continue to adopt gender-sensitive policies, starting from the early childhood phase and lasting through schooling and the workplace.

The government, under the leadership of President Joko Widodo, has introduced policies to further the cause toward gender parity. We will further promote policies to improve equal opportunities for girls and women. At the same time, society as a whole needs to push for and advocate gender parity. All of us, men and women, need to empower each other in creating equal opportunities. In the political sphere, equal representation between men and women in the parliament needs to be further promoted. The lack of women representation in parliament could result in policy products that are not gender-sensitive. This means that most policies are still gender neutral, and in reality, they may actually preserve existing gender inequalities, which results in a differential impact on men and women. In other words, gender-neutral policies do not necessarily promote gender parity, and in most cases, women are still put in a disadvantage. The last parliamentary elections in 2014 have been encouraging. There was a pre requisite of 30 percent women representation on the list of parliamentary candidates. However, the share of women who actually won parliamentary seats was only 17.1 percent. Thus, the women voice in the parliament remains under-represented. Meanwhile, in the executive sphere, the proportion of women having managerial positions in government agencies shows an increasing trend in the past 8 years. In the latest regional elections in 2018, the number of women candidates has increased compared to the previous two regional elections. This year, the women candidates have reached 8.85 percent while in 2015 and 2017 the numbers stood at 7.47 percent and 7.17 percent, respectively. Although not all the women candidates have won, we are seeing a positive trend of increased women’s participation in the executive branch.

In the East Java Province, like Pakdhe Karwo had mentioned in his welcome remarks, there are 10 women who have successfully won the election as regional leaders in 2018. In fact, the incoming Governor of East Java, Ibu Khofifah Indar Parawansa, is a very accomplished woman in her own right. In addition, some state-owned enterprises such as the Indonesia EximBank and Indonesia Infrastructure Financing Company (PT SMI) are now headed by women CEOs. And there are 8 women ministers serving in President Jokowi’s current cabinet. This is the highest number of female ministers in Indonesia’s political history. Indonesia has huge potential for women to play an important role on all fronts. To reap the benefits of this potential, we need to continue pushing forward for gender parity and eliminate obstacles for girls and women to play their role in society through supportive policies. As Finance Minister who has the authority to manage fiscal policies, I have been implementing Gender Responsive Budgeting to address gender bias and discrimination. It is a step not only towards accountability of women’s rights, but also towards greater public transparency and can shift economic policies leading to societal gains. Many government programs, from health and education to social protection and infrastructure, directly and indirectly benefit girls and women. Around 20 percent of this year’s budget has been allocated for education and another 5 percent for health. We also have Dana Desa (village fund transfers) which can be used not only to develop basic infrastructure, such as clean water and sanitation facilities, but also to improve the livelihoods of rural communities, especially women.

The Future of Work for Indonesian Women The Government of Indonesia also pays strong attention on the impact of digital development to the country’s future, including for women and girls. Technological advancement has the potential to boost productivity and income growth, while at the same time there is potential disruption from automation which can led to the increase of unemployment. In Indonesia, according to the latest data from the National Statistics Bureau (BPS) in February 2017, only 37.4 percent of women work in the formal sector compared to male workers which reached 62.6 percent. And only about 30 percent of women work in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) industry. Although the percentage of female workers in the STEM industry is small, according to a UNESCO study, Indonesia is still higher than the regional average for Southeast Asian countries that stood at 23 percent. This ranking places Indonesia in front of neighboring countries –such as Singapore, Lao PDR and Cambodia— in the ratio of women to male workers in the STEM industry.

Furthermore, according to the Ministry of Research, Technology and High Education, about 8.9 percent out of 3 million students take mathematics subject, while another 9.3 percent take engineering majors. There is an increasing trend of girls are taking science, technology, and math subjects. It shows that they are cognizant on what skills are needed to prepare and equip themselves to enter the digital era. We have to provide encouragement and strengthen the momentum by reforming our policies to be more adaptive with the technological change, and to ensure no one is left behind from accessing technology. Future policies need to be integrated and dynamic to facilitate rapid developments as well as to enable widespread technological application. In designing effective policies, a
balanced combination of fiscal, monetary and real sector policies is required. The government also has to create a policy environment where technological innovations can thrive, and enable the innovators to make it happen. Education systems also need to adapt to the changing world of work. Students can learn multidisciplinary subject, namely by introducing foundational or optional technology courses to non-technology majors students. On the other hand, even more urgent, teachers should also be a competent Information and Communications Technology (ICT) users who can embed technology in all the subjects being taught. In this regard, a specific training can be introduced, especially for non technology teachers. Vocational education system also need to develop further. Instead of the traditional teaching methods, it can be organised virtually, both online and offline or through blended options. Government agencies can work together with companies to grow a pipeline of experienced and knowledgeable professionals by focusing on jobs of the future, 21st century skills, entrepreneurship and gender-responsive procurement for companies to expand their purchasing from women-owned business. The more women we are able to reach through this initiative, the better. Open-source, accredited virtual education at the tertiary level also needs to be an option for training teachers, social workers, health workers and other professions where there is a demand for trained service providers in communities. Government policies have to focus on women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work, including recommendations on strengthening science and technology education policies and curriculum to ensure their relevance, and to enable entrepreneurial women to leverage science and technology for economic gain, including those in the informal sector.

Closing In closing, I would like to reiterate that when countries value girls and women as much as boys and men; when they invest in their health, education, and skills training; when they give women greater opportunities to participate in the economy, manage incomes, own and run businesses—the benefits extend far beyond individual girls and women to their children and families, to their communities, to societies and economies at large. In this regard, we can develop approaches and interventions to achieve more concrete results to close gaps and expand equal opportunity for all. We need to make sure that women are living longer and healthier lives and many more girls are getting the education they want and need. We also have to gaps in economic opportunity while improving financial access for women. Furthermore, we need to promote policies and reforms that give women more voice, in public and even at home. To deal with the future of work, we have to prepare women and girls for both current job market shifts and the changes yet to come. This requires close cooperation among policy-makers, social partners, the private sector, education and training providers, innovation analysts and other relevant actors. The winners in the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be economies that embrace the changes created by technology. We have a critical role to play in ensuring that women and girls can access the skills and training needed to adapt to the challenges and opportunities that technology brings, so that the future of work is rooted in gender equality and economic opportunities, arrangements and protections that work for all people.

Finally, for all Indonesian women, myself included, we should be inspired by Raden Ajeng Kartini–a pioneer who had dedicated her life for the advocacy of women’s rights and girls’ education in the late 1800s. It is our obligation to continue her fight, for our girls, for our women, and for our nation.

Thank you. Wassalamu’alaikumwarahmatullahiwabarakatuh.

Moderator Script for GDLN Sessions

I’ve participated in several sessions of GDLN Blended Learning since 2015, especially when the host is KDI School from Korea. This year, Indonesia a.k.a. FETA, my institution, will be the host for 2018 GDLN seminars.
Btw, becoming a moderator for vicon sessions is not new to me, and I always prepare my own script to keep on the track during the session. I want to share you all the kind of script that I prepared for GDLN vicon. Here it is:

gdln
Sample – Moderator Instructions

Moderator: _________________ Session: _______________

Moderator’s Job:

• Be available to help out as needed.
• Keep track of the time.
• Thank the speaker(s) after his/her speech.

BEGINNING

Good Morning /Afternoon/Evening Ladies and Gentlemen.

Welcome to ___THE GDLN BLENDED LEARNING SERIES AT FETA JAKARTA_________(session title)

My name is_____EFI DYAH___________________ and I will be serving as your moderator today.

We are joined today by ___(number)________ different sites in _____(number)______ different cities/countries.

What I’d like to do first is we go around in alphabetical order to our affiliates. Could you just briefly introduce who you are with you in your room and say a brief hello to us all, that would be so great.

I’d like to go first to ________(name of site)___________
Thank you. Now we go over to _________________________
And over to ______________________ Are you there _________________?
Thank you. Why don’t we over to ___________________________
Great to have you (as well). / Welcome. / We’re happy to have you.

Now, moving along to our session.
We are pleased to have Mr./Ms./ Prof. _____________________________ who will be delivering a topic of _________________________________ . I’d like to read a brief biography of our main speaker… –> Prof ___________ is currently …..

(Read the biography here)

Without further ado, Prof ____________ the floor is yours.

LOOKING AT SLIDES OR VISUALS
We’d like to draw your attention to the screen.

Q&A SESSION

Thank you Prof for the presentation.
We are moving to Q&A, but we should apologize due to the limited amount of time, it is limited to 1 questioner per site.
To Site X _________, do you have any question in the room?

ENDING

That concludes today’s very interesting seminar.
Thank you very much _______________(speaker name/names) for addressing today’s interesting topic. Let me also take this opportunity to thank ___________ again for ___________________On behalf of ______________we would also like to thank you all for joining us today.

If there are any announcements, then give them here, such as announcing the next GDLN session. → We will expect to meet you again on ……

Happy moderating, guys!!

Use the Right Registers, Guys!

language-word-cloud

When it comes to using the right language for speaking, I have to consider register. What is it? Register is a variety of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting. For example, when speaking in a formal setting, a native English speaker is more likely to use  prescribed grammar than in an informal setting—such as pronouncing words ending in -ing with a velar nasal instead of an alveolar nasal (e.g. “talking”, not “talkin'”), choosing more formal words (e.g. father vs. dad, child vs. kid, police vs cops, etc.), and refraining from using words considered nonstandard, such as ain’t, gonna, gotta.

Now see the examples below the language I use during a GDLN video conference. I was giving a reaction to the lecture by Prof. Ju Ho Lee. Check these out!

  • “I think Prof. Lee calls the catch-up experience of Korea as a ‘detour’ because it is like a deviation from a direct or usual course that latecomer countries immediately replicate the advanced economies specializing in long-cycle technologies. Instead, Korea moves in the opposite direction of short-cycle technologies, which is eventually proven that it is a successful catch-up strategy with incumbent advanced countries.
  • “In my view, the latecomer economies and firms should take a detour strategy rather than take a ‘straight route’ because detour will lead to many emergences of new technologies that give higher growth prospects and lower barrier for entry. Especially in the concepts of adding-up problem, competing with other developing countries that outpour the market with the same goods they can produce rigorously will just make the prices of the goods decrease and therefore provide less profits and eventually fail in the price competition. So, detour strategy is closely related to both adding-up problem and entry barrier.”
  • “Leapfrogging” strategy in technological development that I learnt from Prof. Lee’s presentation is like the latecomer economies absorb what the technological leaders have to offer and leap to a new environment-friendly techno paradigm. And there are two paths of leapfrogging catching up: the first is is stage-skipping catching-up like the example of Samsung 64 K D-RAM and Hyundai automobile, and the second is path-creating catching-up like in the example of CDMA cellular phone and digital TV.”
  • “So, the best time to try this leapfrogging strategy is when we need to find new renewable energies and fusion of technologies that provides new solutions, or during emergences of shorter-cycle sectors such as cell phones, digital TV, solar power, wind power, electric vehicles, biofuels and so on. During the boom period of business cycles, leapfrogging will provide higher probability of success because the target market is always available for products with higher added-value.”

See…how formal I was! You can see it from the choice of words and the grammar I use. Anyway, in the right situation, using such formal language makes me sounds credible, doesn’t it?

Valedictorian Speaks Out Against Schooling in Graduation Speech

This is a speech by Erica Goldston taken from http://americaviaerica.blogspot.com/2010/07/coxsackie-athens-valedictorian-speech.html on her graduation day at Coxsackie-Athens High School, New York,  2010. It’s a kind of alarm to us: how the education system in our country also makes our students a robot. That because our system makes our students only focus on reaching their goals (passing a test or graduating), but not on the learning. Have you ever thought that many of our students are not happy with our Indonesian education system? I think our generation need to succeed  in their learning instead of being “indoctrinated” like Erica says she was. Read the following speech and say what do you think of it.

Here I stand

There is a story of a young, but earnest Zen student who approached his teacher, and asked the Master, “If I work very hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find Zen? The Master thought about this, then replied, “Ten years.” The student then said, “But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast – How long then?” Replied the Master, “Well, twenty years.” “But, if I really, really work at it, how long then?” asked the student. “Thirty years,” replied the Master. “But, I do not understand,” said the disappointed student. “At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?” Replied the Master, “When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path.”

This is the dilemma I’ve faced within the American education system. We are so focused on a goal, whether it be passing a test, or graduating as first in the class. However, in this way, we do not really learn. We do whatever it takes to achieve our original objective.

Some of you may be thinking, “Well, if you pass a test, or become valedictorian, didn’t you learn something? Well, yes, you learned something, but not all that you could have. Perhaps, you only learned how to memorize names, places, and dates to later on forget in order to clear your mind for the next test. School is not all that it can be. Right now, it is a place for most people to determine that their goal is to get out as soon as possible.

I am now accomplishing that goal. I am graduating. I should look at this as a positive experience, especially being at the top of my class. However, in retrospect, I cannot say that I am any more intelligent than my peers. I can attest that I am only the best at doing what I am told and working the system. Yet, here I stand, and I am supposed to be proud that I have completed this period of indoctrination. I will leave in the fall to go on to the next phase expected of me, in order to receive a paper document that certifies that I am capable of work. But I contend that I am a human being, a thinker, an adventurer – not a worker. A worker is someone who is trapped within repetition – a slave of the system set up before him. But now, I have successfully shown that I was the best slave. I did what I was told to the extreme. While others sat in class and doodled to later become great artists, I sat in class to take notes and become a great test-taker. While others would come to class without their homework done because they were reading about an interest of theirs, I never missed an assignment. While others were creating music and writing lyrics, I decided to do extra credit, even though I never needed it. So, I wonder, why did I even want this position? Sure, I earned it, but what will come of it? When I leave educational institutionalism, will I be successful or forever lost? I have no clue about what I want to do with my life; I have no interests because I saw every subject of study as work, and I excelled at every subject just for the purpose of excelling, not learning. And quite frankly, now I’m scared.

John Taylor Gatto, a retired school teacher and activist critical of compulsory schooling, asserts, “We could encourage the best qualities of youthfulness – curiosity, adventure, resilience, the capacity for surprising insight simply by being more flexible about time, texts, and tests, by introducing kids into truly competent adults, and by giving each student what autonomy he or she needs in order to take a risk every now and then. But we don’t do that.” Between these cinderblock walls, we are all expected to be the same. We are trained to ace every standardized test, and those who deviate and see light through a different lens are worthless to the scheme of public education, and therefore viewed with contempt.

H. L. Mencken wrote in The American Mercury for April 1924 that the aim of public education is not “to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence. … Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim … is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States.”

To illustrate this idea, doesn’t it perturb you to learn about the idea of “critical thinking?” Is there really such a thing as “uncritically thinking?” To think is to process information in order to form an opinion. But if we are not critical when processing this information, are we really thinking? Or are we mindlessly accepting other opinions as truth?

This was happening to me, and if it wasn’t for the rare occurrence of an avant-garde tenth grade English teacher, Donna Bryan, who allowed me to open my mind and ask questions before accepting textbook doctrine, I would have been doomed. I am now enlightened, but my mind still feels disabled. I must retrain myself and constantly remember how insane this ostensibly sane place really is.

And now here I am in a world guided by fear, a world suppressing the uniqueness that lies inside each of us, a world where we can either acquiesce to the inhuman nonsense of corporatism and materialism or insist on change. We are not enlivened by an educational system that clandestinely sets us up for jobs that could be automated, for work that need not be done, for enslavement without fervency for meaningful achievement. We have no choices in life when money is our motivational force. Our motivational force ought to be passion, but this is lost from the moment we step into a system that trains us, rather than inspires us.

We are more than robotic bookshelves, conditioned to blurt out facts we were taught in school. We are all very special, every human on this planet is so special, so aren’t we all deserving of something better, of using our minds for innovation, rather than memorization, for creativity, rather than futile activity, for rumination rather than stagnation? We are not here to get a degree, to then get a job, so we can consume industry-approved placation after placation. There is more, and more still.

The saddest part is that the majority of students don’t have the opportunity to reflect as I did. The majority of students are put through the same brainwashing techniques in order to create a complacent labor force working in the interests of large corporations and secretive government, and worst of all, they are completely unaware of it. I will never be able to turn back these 18 years. I can’t run away to another country with an education system meant to enlighten rather than condition. This part of my life is over, and I want to make sure that no other child will have his or her potential suppressed by powers meant to exploit and control. We are human beings. We are thinkers, dreamers, explorers, artists, writers, engineers. We are anything we want to be – but only if we have an educational system that supports us rather than holds us down. A tree can grow, but only if its roots are given a healthy foundation.

For those of you out there that must continue to sit in desks and yield to the authoritarian ideologies of instructors, do not be disheartened. You still have the opportunity to stand up, ask questions, be critical, and create your own perspective. Demand a setting that will provide you with intellectual capabilities that allow you to expand your mind instead of directing it. Demand that you be interested in class. Demand that the excuse, “You have to learn this for the test” is not good enough for you. Education is an excellent tool, if used properly, but focus more on learning rather than getting good grades.

For those of you that work within the system that I am condemning, I do not mean to insult; I intend to motivate. You have the power to change the incompetencies of this system. I know that you did not become a teacher or administrator to see your students bored. You cannot accept the authority of the governing bodies that tell you what to teach, how to teach it, and that you will be punished if you do not comply. Our potential is at stake.

For those of you that are now leaving this establishment, I say, do not forget what went on in these classrooms. Do not abandon those that come after you. We are the new future and we are not going to let tradition stand. We will break down the walls of corruption to let a garden of knowledge grow throughout America. Once educated properly, we will have the power to do anything, and best of all, we will only use that power for good, for we will be cultivated and wise. We will not accept anything at face value. We will ask questions, and we will demand truth.

So, here I stand. I am not standing here as valedictorian by myself. I was molded by my environment, by all of my peers who are sitting here watching me. I couldn’t have accomplished this without all of you. It was all of you who truly made me the person I am today. It was all of you who were my competition, yet my backbone. In that way, we are all valedictorians.

I am now supposed to say farewell to this institution, those who maintain it, and those who stand with me and behind me, but I hope this farewell is more of a “see you later” when we are all working together to rear a pedagogic movement. But first, let’s go get those pieces of paper that tell us that we’re smart enough to do so!

~~~~~~~~~~

To Our Inspiring Teacher

Good teaching requires flexibility, compassion, organization, knowledge, energy, and enthusiasm. A good teacher must decide when a student needs to be prodded and when that student needs mercy. Good teaching requires when to listen and reflect and when to advise or correct. It requires a delicate balance at many skills, and often a different mix of approaches for different students and situations. Is this profession demanding? Yes! Boring? Never! Exciting? Absolutely! Now then, have you ever found such a professional teacher like that?
I am a teacher and now also Uhamka student, and I want to be like my lecturer of Academic Speaking at Uhamka, Ms. Itje Chodijah. We adore her and want to please her; we always want to make her content because we know how much Ms. Itje cares about our speaking proficiency. She told us to keep on improving ourselves by conducting our self-learning, and she always reminds us that her class demands much of out time to drill and learn from other student’s experience. She expected us to do the best we can, and we all tried our hardest. I feel much improvement after taking her class, and most of my friends do. It’s because of her that we learn to work hard and to feel proud of what we did. And I want to tell my students that too and to make that kind of difference to them.
Yes, I want to be Ms. Itje for my students. I want to challenge my students to become a good learner for their own sake. Thank you, my teacher!

***

Posted immediately after I did my UKM test of Academic Speaking at Uhamka. I wasn’t feeling well this morning, something wrong with my head since yesterday; therefore, my presentation was not very good, but anyway I tried to do my best this morning. I never sorry about my test, since I learned a lot from my friends whose presentations were excellent in my view (Thanks to Stefi, Yuni, and Rosma.). After the test, we shake hands for our farewell to her class, and I can see how much we have missed her class already! I want to have that feeling for my classes, too.