Just feel so relieved when my friend informed me that my paper for 1st UICELL is published. My husband asked “Just relieved? Not proud, terrific, or something?” Well, it’s kinda mixed feeling…because before the announcement of my first publication I was so frustrated, like it took a lot of time, like I wanted to publish my best work, but I realize that there are still a lot that I have to improve in my writing.
Yes, I have a feeling of accomplishment and now maybe a thirst for another trial. Maybe? Yeah cause I know how hard it is to perform a research and write academic paper, and I am not really into academic things actually. Now I have already broken the first barrier in my academic writing, I’m feeling a bit calm and confident to do more research. By the way, I think I have to go back to campus if I want to focus more on doing research.Becoming a student again normally brings me many ideas for research. My choices are UPI Bandung and UNM Malang for my doctorate.
Venue : Graduate School Auditorium UHAMKA Jl. Warung Buncit Raya 17 Jakarta
First of all, I would like to thank Head of GFETC for giving me the opportunity to attend the ELT Workshop at UHAMKA. The workshop was very interesting and gave the opportunity to learn many issues in regards to infusing creative thinking into English teachings. As a trainer who needs to instigate trainees to be creative thinkers for learning purposes, I find it was a very enriching experience for me. I will describe briefly below some elements in the workshop.
The workshop is designed to : 1) provide insight and understanding regarding the key concepts 2) discuss practical steps in infusing creative thinking into ELT teachings
The workshop was well attended by university lecturers, school teachers and administrators, and university students in the master’s and doctoral programs; around 35 participants were present.
The workshop started late (2 hour) at 12.30 p.m. The opening speech was delivered by Head of English Education of UHAMKA Graduate School Dr. Suciana W. Rahayu. The workshop was led by Hamzah Puadi Ilyas, Ph. D. a lecturer from Graduate School of English Education UHAMKA.
The first session was presentation by Ilyas on paradigms in the undertaking of creative thinking. Though critical thinking has been officially written as one of education objectives in Indonesia as written in the Regulation of the Republic of Indonesia Number 17 Year 2010 Regarding Educational Management and Administration, it seems that schoolteachers in Indonesia have not understood yet what it is and realized the importance of critical thinking for students and professionals. This might be because there is no clear conception of what kind of critical thinking needed in education in Indonesia, or probably because Indonesian schoolteachers do not really know how to encourage students’ critical thinking as they may still be confused with the concept. The presenter emphasized that critical thinking can contribute to Indonesian students, as it has been admitted by many authors to have a lot of benefits in various aspects of life and for students and professionals (Alfaro-LeFevre, 2003; Bandman & Bandman, 1995; Brown & Rutter, 2007; Cottrell, 2011; Forshaw, 2012; Milos & Hitchcock, 2005; Sharma & Elbow, 2000).
Then the presenter proposes Ilyas’ critical thinking framework. This framework is the result of synthesising, examining and evaluating critical thinking taxonomies (using Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy), strategies, programmes and tests. There are nine dimensions to make questions: Clarification, Assumptions, Reasons and Evidence, Viewpoints or Perspectives, Implication, Consequences and Alternatives, Question, Predictions, Agreement and Disagreement, as well as Summary and Conclusion. In each dimension, there are many sample questions that a teacher can ask to students to enhance their critical thinking. Applying critical thinking to reading texts not only promotes reading comprehension skills but also encourages students’ independence in analysing and criticizing the texts, thus avoiding them to become the victims of text propaganda.
The second session was the workshop. The participants are grouped into four teams and each team must create critical thinking activities based on the English book they generally use for teaching. I got team 1 and I had the chance to present our team result on the first turn. Our group use Evan Frendo’s English for Accounting and we made 5 questions for pre-reading activities using Ilyas’ critical thinking framework. All teams were successful in creating ELT activities using Ilyas’’ CT framework.
The seminar ended at 15.30 WIB with the official closing by the presenter.
Since the political transition in October 2014, Indonesian economic growth has weakened, indicated by deficit in current account and sluggish exports. The real GDP on the second quarter of 2015 was 4.7%, which is significantly below the potential projection 0f 5.5% by ADB. Therefore the new government needs to spur Indonesian economic growth by increasing its GDP, and one factor that contributes to growth is entrepreneurship, because it provides employment and higher earnings contributing to better national income (higher tax revenue and higher government spending).
The recent entrepreneurship condition in Indonesia can be seen from The EY G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer 2013, which scored 20 countries across five pillars of entrepreneurship (access to funding; entrepreneurship culture; tax and regulation; education and training; and coordinated support). Based on the survey, among G20 countries Indonesia is in 10th rank on access to funding, 19th rank on entrepreneurship culture, 12th rank on tax and regulation, 19th rank on education and training and 4th rank on coordinated support.
In terms of access to funding, it can be explained that Indonesia have had some improvement in the IPO market activity but still not in the access to credit, which EY surveyed 56% of Indonesian entrepreneurs claim that access to funding as difficult. Then, tax and regulation in Indonesia keep improving, and the World Bank data support the view that the condition is on the rise. In addition, coordinated supports are available in Indonesia, the country now has KUM Ministry (Ministry for Cooperatives SMEs) that works with 23 government agencies for entrepreneurship programs. The areas that grow quickly are entrepreneurial workshops and associations, and areas that still need more improvements are business incubators and mentoring programs.
Dealing with weak entrepreneurship culture and also education and training reported by The EY G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer data 2013, I would elaborate several explanations. Entrepreneurship culture in Indonesia is weak for some factors. First of all, Indonesia is weak on innovation. This can be seen from the R&D spending (% of GDP) of only 0,15%, which is the lowest in the G20 (2007-09) average (as compared to Japan spent 3.5%, India 1,5%, Malaysia 0,5%, and Korea 4% of their GDP on R&D). Also, OECD data shows that Indonesia has relatively small numbers of patents application, scientific and technical journal articles compared to other neighboring non-OECD countries like Malaysia and Singapore. Second reason for weak entrepreneurship culture is due to the mentality problem of “risk aversion”. It’s a ‘job-seeker mentality’ caused by a common belief that successful life equals having a job at government institutions or prestigious companies; entrepreneurship hasn’t been seen as a career especially by young people.
Dealing with education and training, Indonesia has problem in the education system to create more entrepreneurs. Among G20 countries, Indonesia ranked 19th in education because of low enrollment in secondary and tertiary education. Public spending on education is only 3.1% of GDP from the EY Barometer 2008-2010 and has been relatively stagnant in recent years due to decelerating economy. This is worsened by the education system that has not quite linked and matched with business and thus hinders aspiring entrepreneurs. Until now Indonesian formal education system is still focused on national exam called UN, with school curriculum not fostering learners with creating new ideas and concepts, courageous risk-taking, real-life problem solving, and adaptability to changes. Although entrepreneurship is now put into national curriculum, it mainly comprises theories that are delivered by teachers or academicians who are lack of entrepreneurial practice.
In short, Indonesia has taken some steps to foster entrepreneurship since the previous presidential administrations, yet the challenges remain exist and even become greater with our weakened economy now. If we see from Korea’s remarkable economic growth and human capital development, their success in cultivating entrepreneurship is resulted from a strong government intervention in all stages of its reforms. Indonesia should set a clearer and visionary entrepreneurship master plan, like what Korea has, to spur the economic growth.
With GDP per capita in 2013 of US$25,977, Korea ranks no.2 in its entrepreneurship culture and no. 4 in their education training among G20 countries. Korea has successfully promoted ‘good’ or productive entrepreneurs and the government has shown strong political will to set the right policies and intervention to spur entrepreneurial activities in the areas of education, access to funds, infrastructure, product and labor market regulations, tax policies, and institutional collaborations. And the highlighted Korean success is high support for its ambitious initiatives for nurturing productive entrepreneurs by linking startups and large firms with the establishments of centers for creative economies and innovation. For my part, I see some key factors behind that success: focus, totality, unity, discipline, and collaboration among all citizens.
Therefore, in national efforts to develop better entrepreneurships that spur economic growth during slow economic condition right now, there should be better collaboration between Indonesian government, private sector, and civil society, led by a strong national leader. The proposed policies for the government are:
setting aside bigger portion of GDP for R&D spending, at least up to 1.6% (the same as G20 average in the period of 2007-2009). This will make way for favorable financial management for innovation development.
strengthening coordination and communication with different government agencies or ministries that support entrepreneurship and innovation. The synergy is especially intended for the improvement of laws/regulations and programs for entrepreneurship;
stimulating more start-ups and small entrepreneurs by giving easier access to funding and favorable regulations, as well as collaborating them with large business firms;
opening more collaboration with private sectors in funding R&D in Indonesia. We can adopt Korea’s practice of Public-Private partnership and tax credits for private R&Ds;
providing more rewards and incentives for researchers and protection for Intellectual Property Rights and patents with stronger laws and regulations;
engaging more involvement of civil society to civilizing and cultivating enterprises and innovation. This is an effort to change the entrepreneurship culture in Indonesia to be a “job-creator” one in two forms: individual’s / nonprofit organization’s active participation in community development and campus participation. Some steps taken can be:
collaborating with nonprofit organizations and wealthy individuals who want to invest in entrepreneurial community projects and in sharing their entrepreneurial success.
supporting campus/universities activities that provide better culture and motivation for entrepreneurship and innovation. In doing so, campuses will be facilitated to do more on:
providing campus alumni who are successful entrepreneurs to share new strategies and technologies. They are the first priority motivators because of possessing previous experience of creating opportunities, running a business, surviving in competitive markets, and capacity building and size upgrading;
publishing more studies and research on entrepreneurial innovations.
providing free entrepreneurial workshops to public (as part of campus social responsibility program
revising national curriculum on entrepreneurship by linking formal education with industry, with the necessity in delivery by successful business practitioners for practical guidelines.
To conclude, despite the unfavorable economic performance has, we still have optimism that our potentials for entrepreneurship and innovation are far greater than the challenges we are having now, since Indonesia have big population and rich in natural resources. Indonesia needs to strengthen its current capacities while providing better solutions for challenges in our entrepreneurship and innovation. If Indonesia takes the right policies and work hard collaboratively between the government, private, and civil society, we can foster innovation and entrepreneurship and eventually enjoy tremendous growth in the future as what Korea is having now.
I’d like to share you the kind of report that I make when I attended a meeting in Singapore last February. By the way, that’s the second chance for me to visit Singapore after 7 years and I saw there were a lot changes in the country. Anyway, here’s the report:
First of all, I would like to thank the Head of FETA and the Executive Secretary of FETA for giving me the opportunity to attend the Fourth STI Directors of Training Meeting in Singapore. The meeting gave me the opportunity to learn many issues in regards to the training needs of countries in the Asia-Pacific region. As a trainer who usually performs TNA for MOF, I find it was a very enriching experience for me.
I will describe briefly below some elements in the meeting.
The seminars are designed to: 1) discuss the training needs of countries in the Asia-Pacific region, based on input from the Directors of Training 2) explain STI’s criteria for selecting participants to courses, seminars, and workshops 3) provide an overview of the training activities of the IMF Institute for Capacity Development (ICD) 4) discuss the importance of collaboration among ICD and the regional institutions in identifying the specific training needs and delivering training services in a specific region.
The slot of time was two-days seminar on February 1-2, 2016. (The welcome reception was held on January 31, 2016 at the venue.) There were 33 senior officials in charge of training at central banks, ministries of finance and economy, or other government economic agencies, including directors of economics, research, training, or international departments (from 10 countries).
The meeting featured panel discussions led by directors of training, presentations by IMF staff, and reflections by STI’s donors.
Participants debated a broad array of issues, including country experience with IMF capacity development, the IMF’s new training curriculum for member countries, how best to coordinate technical assistance and training, and the challenges of accurately evaluating the impact of training and technical assistance activities.
Throughout the meeting, participants stressed the importance of keeping pace with the region’s evolving training needs. Following the global financial crisis, for example, countries in the region found themselves confronted with a series of financial regulatory and supervisory reforms, which required an entirely new set of skills to implement. Training programs in the region therefore need to keep up to speed with a changing external environment, which can be challenging.
The meeting was also attended by representatives of the countries that provide financing to the STI (donor countries). Senior officials from Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Japanese Ministry of Finance, and the Australian High Commission shared their perspectives in a session highlighting the donors’ view of capacity building. Tsutomu Kameda, Section Chief in the International Organizations Division of Japan’s Ministry of Finance, observed that the Japanese approach to capacity development favored concrete, hands-on experience. Other donor representatives praised the IMF’s move toward a “results-based management” system for assessing the impact of training and technical assistance.
Another important result from the meeting was the Asia-Pacific region encompasses economies from across the development and population spectra. It includes high-income economies like Hong Kong SAR and the Republic of Korea, emerging economies like Malaysia and Thailand, and low-income countries like Cambodia and Nepal. And global giants such as China and India—with populations exceeding one billion—sit alongside small states such as Palau and Tuvalu, with populations of less than 25,000. The STI must take into account all their policy challenges.
The last point I noted is that uncertain economic environment also underscores the need for continued capacity building—including through training—in the Asia-Pacific region. Asia has shown good resilience and policy frameworks, yet the recent episodes of global volatility have demonstrated that policy tradeoffs can worsen quickly. These new challenges put a premium on the expertise in assessing macroeconomic and financial vulnerabilities.
The minutes from the first day of meeting (February 1, 2016) are as follows:
9:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.
Opening session by Ms. Julie Kozack, Director of IMF-STI Singapore. There was also opening remarks by Mr. Leong Sing Chiong (Assistant Managing Director Monetary Authority of Singapore). He pointed to the “essential and fundamental” character of STI training. He noted that when his staffs return from training, they try to impart the knowledge gained to colleagues in order to maximize the value of the training to the institution.
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Short lecture and overview of IMF Institute for Capacity Development (ICD) and its Strategy in the Asia-Pacific Region Mr. by Mr. Dominique Desruelle (Deputy Director Institute for Capacity Development International Monetary Fund). It was followed by an open discussion on ICD strategies. I raised a question on the possibility to invite IMF lecturers to FETA and the funding policy from IMF.
11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
A sharing from Vietnam’s Experience with IMF Capacity Building by Mr. Ha Hai An (Deputy Director General Department of International Cooperation State Bank of Vietnam)
11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Panel Discussion of Country Experience with IMF Capacity Building. There were 5 panelist speakers: Mr. Ha Hai An (Vietnam), Mr. Selvakumar Seerangarayan (Joint Secretary Economic Affairs Ministry of Finance, India), Ms. Efi Dyah Indrawati (Senior Trainer FETA Ministry of Finance, Indonesia), Mr. Iñigo L. Regalado (III Deputy Director Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas Institute Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas), Ms. Matana Waitayakomol (Director Learning and Development Institute Bank of Thailand). It was moderated by Mr. Mangal Goswami (Deputy Director IMF – Singapore Regional Training Institute). I made the first short presentation on Indonesia’s experience with IMF Capacity Building (PPT slides attached).
2:00 p.m. − 2:30 p.m.
A lecture on “Transitioning to New ICD Curriculum” by Ms. Laura Kodres (Assistant Director Asian Division Institute for Capacity Development International Monetary Fund)
2:30 p.m. − 3:15 p.m.
Open Discussion of New Curriculum moderated by Ms. Kodres. Participants also discussed how best to take advantage of advances in technology such as online learning and integrate them into their institutions’ training programs. I raised a question on how STI assess the online learning.
3:45 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Panel Discussion on The Donor’s Perspective on Capacity Building. There were 4 panelist speakers: Mr. Michael Feller (Third Secretary, Economic, Australian High Commission Singapore); Mr. Tsutomu Kameda
(Section Chief International Bureau, Ministry of Finance Japan); Mr. Goh Mui Pong (Deputy director MAS Academy Monetary Authority of Singapore); and Mr. Heng Aik Yeow (Director General, Techincal Cooperation Directorate Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore). The discussion was moderated by Ms. Julie Kozack.
The minutes from the second day of meeting (February 2, 2016) are as follows:
09:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Panel Discussion with training directors from 4 different countries: Ms. Aloysia Wong (Senior Manager of Administration Division – Corporate Service Department, Hong Kong Monetary Authority); Ms. Naomi Kedea (Head of Department, HRD Bank of Papua New Guinea); Ms. Maha Tantrige Indivari Visakha Amarasekere (Director Department of External Resources, Ministry of Finance Sri Lanka). The discussion was moderated by Mr. Dominique Desruelle.
11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
A presentation by Ms. Maureen Therese Burke, a communication officer from IMF Communication Department. The topic was “IMF Communication on Capacity Building.”
11:30 a.m. – 12 noon
A presentation by Ms. Julie Kozack on “Recent Development in Training and Survey on Training”.
12 noom – 12:45
A discussion led by Mr. Mangal Goswami on “Issues in STI Training Administration.” He emphasized on the solicitation of participants, application process, the selection and nomination process.
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Panel presentation on Enhancing Capacity Building by TA and Training Coordination. The speakers were Mr. Odd Per Brekk (Director of Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific IMF); Mr. David Cowen (Head of Office IMF Technical Assistance Office for the Lao PDR and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar; and Scott Roger (Coordinator of Pacific Islands Teaching. The discussion was moderated by Ms. Julie Kozack
3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Closing Session led by Ms. Julie Kozack
After the closing session, there was communication interview for STI video/Survey Article. I was interviewed by Ms. Maureen Burke on Indonesia’s experience with STI IMF and the result will be uploaded on STI website.
For further detailed information please find in the attachments the lecture handouts for all the sessions.
OK this time is another example of a report on seminar attended.
But once more I’d like to remind you several things in preparing a seminar report.
1) write down your impressions of the seminar and the presenter as soon after the event as possible and while everything is still fresh in your mind. Don’t postpone too long, your immediate evaluation is a necessity.
2)Identify the elements of the seminar that resonated the most positively with you, and those are mostly the key ideas in the presentation, which should be based entirely on what you personally got out of it
3)Identify the full title of the seminar you attended, the date, time and location of the program, and the name of the speakers of the seminar.
4) Assess whether the presenter had the credentials and the experience to make their material and its context credible.
5) Don’t forget to type your report 🙂
Here we go….
Title : Free Trade and the Economic Relationship between the United States and Indonesia
Date : May 26, 2015
Venue : Arifin Panigoro Auditorium Universitas Al Azhar Indonesia (UAI), Komplek Masjid Agung Al Azhar, Jakarta Selatan
The workshop was interesting enough and gave me the opportunity to learn many issues in regards to free trade and economic relationship between America and Indonesia. I will describe briefly below some elements in the workshop.
– The Lecturer was His Excellency Robert O. Blake, the Ambassador of the United States for the Republic of Indonesia. He can deliver his materials comprehensively to all audience.
– The Executive Lecture was started at 10.30 a.m. The participants are mostly students of UAI from various faculties and departments. I was the only guest from government institution, the rest were media representatives, such as CNN, Republika, SCTV, Antaranews, and many other online medias.
– The session was started first by the Recitation of Holy Qur’an Surah Al Al Mujadaah: 11, followed by the Opening Remarks of the Director of UAI, Prof. Dr. Ir. Sardy Sar, M.Eng.Sc. He welcomed the US Ambassador and mentioned UAI vision of becoming a leading university in developing excellent and dignified persons, who have intellectual capability, based on Islamic spiritual, moral, and ethical values. Therefore, the seminar was in line with one of their missions: to tighten partnership with relevant domestic and international institutions and to apply universal Islamic values in character building.
– The rest of the session was led by the moderator Nazaruddin Nasution, UAI lecturer from Faculty of Social and Political Sciences and a former Indonesian Ambassador for Cambodia 2000-2003. He briefly described the CV of Ambassador Blake and overviewed the start of the diplomatic relationship between the US and Indonesia in 1949. He also cited President Jokowi remarks on fostering Indonesian economic growth and alleviating poverty, and how trade and economic relationship between the US and Indonesia can help President Jokowi reach his goals.
– The lecture was started at 10.55. Ambassador Blake explained comprehensively about the underlying reason why a nation should trade with other countries. Countries have different natural, human, and capital resources and different ways of combining these resources, they are not equally efficient at producing the goods and services that their residents demand. When a country can produce more of a good with the same resources that another country can, it is said to have an absolute advantage in the production of that good. If the second country has an absolute advantage in producing a good that the first country wants, both will be better off if they specialize and trade. But trade is usually beneficial to both countries even if one has an absolute advantage in the production of both goods that are to be traded. Given any two products, a nation has a comparative advantage in the product with the lower opportunity cost. The terms of trade must be such that both countries lower the opportunity costs of the goods they are getting from the trade.
– Mr. Blake emphasized that trade creates opportunities that suit every needs, such as in agriculture, manufacture and technology. Reducing barriers of trade can help to provide more job opportunities and eventually alleviate poverty in the US and Indonesia. 2015 is the year when countries shape and adopt a new development agenda that will build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially the eighth agenda of developing a global partnership for development. So, Indonesia should lever its trade to increase its economic growth.
– Mr. Blake also explained that the United States has free trade agreements in force with 20 countries. Some of them are Australia, Bahrain, Canada, South American countries, Israel, Jordan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Oman, and Singapore. Those countries enjoy the benefit of their economic relationship. Mr Blake mentioned the United States is also in negotiations of a regional, Asia-Pacific trade agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) with the European Union, with the objective of shaping a high-standard, broad-based regional pacts. He said that the trade with those countries help unlock opportunity for American families, workers, businesses, farmers and ranchers through increased access to European markets for Made-in-America goods and services. This helps to promote U.S. international competitiveness, jobs and growth. Indonesia can learn from this Transatlantic Trade that trade fosters Indonesia to keep up with the challenge of becoming a competitive investment target.
– Mr. Blake cited President Obama’s trade agenda to expanding economic opportunity for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses. That’s why they are negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 21st century trade agreement that will boost U.S. economic growth, support American jobs, and grow Made-in-America exports to some of the most dynamic and fastest growing countries in the world. Blake mentioned a few of the ways the trade between the US and Indonesia will unlock some opportunities for Indonesia:
– it will support made-in-Indonesia exports to America
– it will enforce fundamental labor rights
– it will promote strong environmental protection
– it will help Indonesian small businesses (SMEs) benefit from trade
– Mr. Blake urged that we cannot stop global economy to grow, so Indonesia should have a commitment to improve labor practices, job creations, and elevate environmental standards in order to be competitive for the global trade, since investors always try to get the best deal with any country. Indonesia is faced with strategic choice, a strong economic relationship is also crucial for its growth.
– After the lecture, there was a Question and Answer Session led by the moderator. Due to the Ambassador’s tight agenda that day, there were only 3 questions allowed. The first question from a student from English department asking whether US free trade with Indonesia will be like one with the Middle East countries. Mr. Blake shortly answered that MEFTA (with Bahrain, Oman, Morocco, Israel, and Jordan) since 2013 has already assisted the Middle East countries in implementing domestic reforms, instituting the rule of law, protecting private property rights (including intellectual property), and creating a foundation for openness, economic growth, and prosperity. The second question from a student from Law Department asking about how loosening free trade means more opportunities. Mr. Blake replied that trade boosts economic growth and economic growth means more jobs. It is also true that some jobs are lost even when trade is expanding, but it is caused by a number of factors. Protectionism is not the way to tackle employment problems, and many examples show that freer trade has been healthy for employment. The last question is from a student from Faculty of Economics asking about free trade in terms of the exchange of creative sector between Indonesia and the United States. Mr. Blake put some examples on some Indonesian industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent, and they have a potential for wealth and job creation through the exploitation of intellectual property traded with America, such as Video Games studio in Yogyakarta, Jakarta filmmakers, fashion, and so on.
– After the seminar, there was a Kolintang Ensemble, musical presentation by students of UAI, followed by exchanging souvenirs between UAI and the US Embassy. The MC closed the session at 12.50 WIB.
– My final remark about this executive lecture: it was not professionally organized by the committee. There were no satisfying welcome to participants, I signed the guest book without anyone sitting in front of the reception desk. The seminar started 30 minutes late as the scheduled plan. There were no seminar kits, handouts nor any visuals given by the committee nor by the US delegates, so I found it a bit challenging for me as I have limited knowledge on economic topics. I had to note down things attentively in order not to lose any points. No drinks and snacks for the participants, those are only given to the lecturer, the moderator, and the Director of UAI. In my view, this makes me feel a loss of respect to UAI and its future executive lecture series.
I have no idea of what to post in this special day (in the sense that the numbers are unique), so I will just put Frederic Prenji’s article here. The title is
HOW TO BE A BETTER PERSON IN 7 DAYS
There are many things that you can do to become a better person. You can work hard, exercise, and eat well for example. All of these things are great, no question about it. However, in my opinion, becoming a better person starts with being selfless. Doing good deeds for other people without expecting to gain from it is one of the most rewarding experiences that one can feel in a lifetime. Becoming a truly better person begins with giving outwardly. I’ve come up with this challenge:
7 days to becoming a better person.
Each day you do something selfless, that will not even take more than a few moments of your time, and experience first hand what it feels like to transform into a genuinely great person. Here’s the challenge: Day 1 – Tell someone you love them
So many people out there never take the precious time to express how they feel to the ones that are truly important in their life. Expressing your love shouldn’t be seen as taboo or a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of confidence, and an expression of what you really feel. There is nothing more amazing than to know that someone loves you. On this first day of the challenge, choose someone in your life to make them feel that special feeling. It’s very simple, just sit them down and say something along those lines: “You know I don’t say this often enough but I do appreciate our bond and everything that you do for me. So I just wanted to tell you that I love you…I wanted you to know that.” In two minutes, you have made someone’s day….forget day, you’ve made their month! So pick a spouse, a parent, a sibling, a friend….anyone that you truly care about and say the magic word. You may get a little nervous just before, but once you say it, I guarantee you that you will feel amazing. Yes, becoming a better person is not a chore….it actually feels great!
Day 2 – Open your ears and listen
Everyone has their share of issues that they deal with on a daily basis. We all at some point need to be heard. We need to get things out and just blow some steam. Unfortunately, the art of listening is fading away. It’s becoming more and more of a struggle for people to find a good pair of ears to vent off to. So on day 2 of your quest to becoming a better person, you simply have to be there for someone close to you. That’s all you have to do. Listen to them. Let me tell you, I do this all the time with my friends. I make myself available for them and I just listen. You wouldn’t believe how it makes them happy to have someone listen to them. No opinions, no judgment. Listen unconditionally. You may not have realized the power of listening yet, but this exercise will prove it to you. It can make a tremendous difference in someone’s life, and it’s one of the best gifts you can give anyone.
Day 3 – Apologize
We all have made certain mistakes. We’ve all done things we regret. Unfortunately, the majority of the time, we never take the opportunity to make things better, perhaps out of pride or ego. So we carry this along with us. Sure, with time, its impact may fade a little, but there is a much more powerful method to deal with such situations. On day 3, it’s time for you to swallow your pride and apologize. Look into your past. Is there a particular person that you have lost touch with or haven’t spoken to in a while? Regardless of what happened, this is not the time to decide who was right and who was wrong. This is about healing a wound. Apologizing is not an admission that you were wrong. On the other hand, it is proof that you are confident enough to say it. This act will not only make the other party feel much better, it will inspire them. So by being the “bigger person” and apologizing, you create nothing but positive energy all around. This is as rewarding for you as it is for that other person.
Day 4 – Give away a valuable
Nowadays, the only time people give each other anything somewhat meaningful is on birthdays and holidays. What about the other 360-something days of the year? Simply giving contains so much power in and of itself. This is why on day 3, you will choose something meaningful that you will give to someone that you know will like it and/or benefit from it. It must be something in your home, that you already own. Perhaps a painting, or a book. Something that you hold dear and that will bring happiness and value to the person you choose to give it to. You see, sharing your wealth is one of the best ways to prove how much you care and necessary to becoming a good person. These types of gifts are so much more powerful than anything given on birthdays or holidays, because it shows that you gave it because you wanted to, not because you had it. This brings a whole new meaning to that gift and will make the person appreciate it even more!
Day 5 – Volunteer your time
The first few days, you have given back to the people close to you, but now, it is time to take this further than the comfort of your own surroundings! Giving back to your community and your society is just as important, and an integral part of making everything as a whole, a much better existence for all involved. On day 5, it is time for you to give some of your time away. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You can volunteer your time helping out at your children’s school, or at a local community center for example. It doesn’t have to be a full day or many hours. Volunteer the time that you can. What I mean is that instead of watching tv or surfing the web for example, take some of that time and do something that will help contribute to the development of your community. Ask around, could be something at work or related to a particular activity that you do. Nobody refuses a helping hand and everyone benefits out of it
Day 6 – Help out a stranger
So many people out there could use the help of some good people. After all, we are all humans and we should stick up for one another. I’ve always been amazed by stories of complete strangers risking their life to help a fellow human being. If we can just help anyone with a fraction of such a commitment, then we’ve all made a difference. On day 6, it’s time to do a kind gesture for a total stranger. Could be helping an elderly person with their bags, or helping a kid cross the street, there are so many tiny gestures that we can do in our daily life to help others it’s incredible. When you see a car break down on the side of the road, most people drive by, thinking that help is on the way or that someone else will stop. How about you become the person that stops? How about you become the person whose gesture makes a total stranger’s day? This is your opportunity to showcase how a good-hearted person reacts in such situations for the greater good of all involved.
Day 7 – Donate
The world is a big place, but in the end, we are a tiny community in the vastness of the Universe. All we have is each other. Although they may not live nearby, there are so many people around the world that need the assistance of good natured people. On this final day, it is time to take your good deeds global! There are tons of really good charities and organizations across the globe that make it their goal to help out those that are in need. Pick any organization about any particular cause that you may hold dear to your heart, and provide them with a donation. The internet makes it really easy now to find such organizations, so this final step is super simple and quick to complete. Donate whatever you can. The amount is not important. What is important is that even though your gesture was simple and quick, the difference it will make will resonate with far greater significance in the grand scheme of things.
So there you have it! 7 days and a better you comes out of it. As a matter of fact, if you have noticed, in becoming a better person, you have affected the lives of so many different people in such positive ways. With such small gestures each day, you have made a difference in your life as well as in other people’s, and that is what becoming a better person is all about. You may find that after these 7 days, you have now developed a habit and that you will continue each and every day to give back. If you have created a “momentum” of doing good deeds and that it will keep on going, then I have done my work. This can indeed become life changing! So you have the challenge and I would love to hear what you all have done and how it’s impacted your life and those around you
By the end of this month, we will celebrate our 3rd anniversary of not having any TV set at home. Yes, I gave up owning TV in 2005, the time when we moved from Balikpapan to Jakarta . I subscribed to cable TV when I was in Balikpapan, and I can tell you that was terrible since my family was addicted to it. In the following paragraph, I will tell you some negative effects of television, especially to our children (it’s a modification of my paragraph-writing assignment).
Bad behavior, poor health, and wasted time are problems that result from children watching too much television. The first problem on behavior is mostly triggered by children’s excessive watching on violent programs on tv. When children quietly and passively watch program such as crime news or killing scenes on tv drama very often, it can desentize them to violence and even instigate them to aggressive behavior. It is quite common now to see outbursts between brothers and sisters, as they frequently see quarrels and fights too on the screen. The second problem on health can be derived from reduced sleep time or constant sitting. Most tv lovers, including children, are absorbed in late television viewing, which only make their brain keep on awake and eventually cause poor concentration and sleepiness the next day. If this happens very often, how many brain cells children have destroyed within a week, a month, or a year? Also, children have no idea that sitting for hours in front of the boob tube, always wanting the next series of Naruto or exploding cars on serials action, is nothing compared to playing football or flying kites with friends, which are much healthier physical activities to do. Indeed, lack of exercising is one of children’s problem; they keep on piling up fat but never do the fat-burning: move, come out, and play. Now the last problem on time management: thousands of children hours are wasted on useless stories of “sinetron” and a few loud explosion. They should have spending this time on school work, studying, or productive play. In other words, children should make up the lost of time by reading, writing, exercising, playing monopoly with sisters and brothers, and other positive activities that can strengthen their brain or the family bond. Time is so precious that wasting it means throwing something very valuable in life. Seeing those negative effects, I think it’s better to cut the cord, throw the set in the street, and let children live without it. My decision to quit TV works well to improve their cognitive, behavior, and physical activities. Dare to try?
Speaking is an important part of the learning and teaching process of English as a second language . Despite its importance, for many years, teaching speaking has been undervalued because English teachers continually teach speaking just as a repetition of drills or memorization of dialogues. Nowadays, however, the goal of teaching is shifted to improve students’ communication skills, because, only in that way, students can express themselves and learn how to follow the social and cultural rules appropriate in certain circumstances. There are several activities to teach second language learners how to speak communicatively.
The first activity is discussion, which aims at drawing a conclusion, sharing ideas about something, or finding solution on a problem. In this activity, a teacher must set the purpose of discussion in the beginning, so that students will discuss relevant points according to the purpose. In addition, they will not spend their time chatting with each other about irrelevant and unnecessary things.
The second way of setting students to speak is role play and simulation. In role play activities, students pretend they are in various contexts and have a variety of social roles. The teacher then gives information to the learners such as who they are and what they think or feel. For example, the teacher can tell the student, “Andy, you go to an accountant and tell him what happened to your business last month.” Simulations, on the other hand, are more elaborations of role play, because students can bring items to class to create a realistic environment. For instance, if a student acting as a doctor, he brings a stethoscope to examine his patients, and so on. Role play and simulation have advantages. For one, it is entertaining as well as motivating students. The second advantage is increasing the self-confidence of hesitant students, because they have a different role and do not have to speak for themselves, which means they do not need to feel ashamed of making mistakes.
The third activity is brainstorming, which necessitates students to produce ideas on a given topic in a limited time. Brainstorming is very effective to encourage students to speak up their thoughts and feelings quickly and freely. The good characteristic of this activity is that students are not criticized for their ideas, so students will be open to share new things collaboratively.
The fourth and the most favorite, in my opinion, is storytelling. Students can briefly summarize a tale or story heard from somebody beforehand, or they may create their own stories to tell to their classmates. This activity encourages students to have creative thinking, because they must organize the story in the format of beginning, development, and ending. In addition, students must be able to describe characters and the setting of the story very clearly. By this activity, the teacher can both explore students’ speaking and entertain the class.
The last activity is reporting, which integrates students reading or listening skill with speaking ability. Before coming to class, students are asked to read newspaper or magazines, or to listen to news on radio or television. Later in class, they report to their friends what they find as the most interesting news. Students can also express their opinion about the news, or tell whether they have experienced anything related to the news worth telling to class. This activity fosters the creativity of the learners as well as their public speaking skills.
In summary, teaching speaking can use a variety of communicative activities, ranging from discussion, role play and simulation, brainstorming, storytelling, and reporting. By using those communicative methods, students will have more opportunity to communicate with each other based on real-life situations, or to engage in active tasks to promote their confidence, creativity, and speaking ability in the ways that are meaningful and fun for them.