Ibu Dyah's Journey - Nurturing Global Citizens in Kota Malang, Indonesia

Ibu Dyah Khomsiyati, Teacher

In the heart of Kota Malang, East Java, Indonesia, there’s a school where something truly extraordinary is unfolding. At Madrasah Tsanawiyah Negeri 1 Kota Malang, known as MTsN 1 Kota Malang, a dedicated teacher named Ibu Dyah Khomsiyati is leading a transformative change. She isn’t just teaching; she is igniting a beacon of hope, catalysing change, and championing for the power of Global Citizenship Education for her students.

MTsN 1 Kota Malang is more than just a school — it’s a place where dreams take flight. This Islamic public school, under the Ministry of Religious Affairs, welcomes students in Years 7-9 (predominantly ages 13-15 years old). In the academic year of 2023-2024, the school has 1152 students and 79 passionate teachers. But it’s not the numbers that set this school apart; it’s what happens inside.

Here, Ibu Dyah’s vision for global citizenship education has taken root. Her journey with Generation Global began around two years ago. Intrigued by the idea of connecting her students with peers from diverse cultures across the globe and equipping them with the essential life or 21st century skills, Ibu Dyah was drawn to Generation Global’s immersive educational tools and resources. She believed that the programme had the potential to provide her students with the skills they needed for life and work, as well as positively impact their lives as engaged and open-minded global citizens.

Teachers and students making a 'G' with their hands, embracing the Generation Global spirit
Teachers and students making a 'G' with their hands, embracing the Generation Global spirit! Wearing maroon clothes, left: Ibu Titien Sumartini, English Teacher; Centre: Ibu Erni Qomaria Rida, Principal; Right: Ibu Dyah Khomsiyati, Teacher

A Holistic Approach to Developing New Core Skills:

The ‘Why’ behind young people’s engagement in Generation Global was not only intriguing for Ibu Dyah, but also reflected a shared aspiration among students at the school: the desire to learn from diverse perspectives and grow personally. Their reasons were as diverse as the global community itself:

“I want to hear other people’s opinion from other countries to gain more knowledge.”

“I want to experience talking with foreigners.”

“I want to enhance my social skills and my English-speaking ability.”

“I want to join because my friends are joining Generation Global.”

The school already had a bilingual programme in place, laying the perfect foundation for weaving Generation Global into the curriculum. But for Ibu Dyah, language fluency was just one piece of the puzzle; she believed that being curious and motivated was just as important for shaping her students into well-rounded individuals. This unique approach not only elevated the impact of Generation Global but also nurtured genuine connections and meaningful dialogues among the students, effectively bridging these experiences with their personal and academic aspirations. It was like a secret recipe that made Generation Global shine stand out among the students.

Personalised Parent Engagement:

Once the students were on board, Ibu Dyah recognised the importance of involving parents in the process. She took proactive steps and went the extra mile by organising Zoom calls at the beginning of each academic year, aiming to address common misconceptions and alleviate any concerns parents may have had about their children engaging in video conferences with peers.

In addition, parents were always kept informed of their children’s participation in the programme. For example, Ibu Dyah ensured that parents are informed about the video conference schedule and the topic to be discussed ahead of the session. These one-on-one interactions helped to effectively address parental concerns, fostering a supportive ecosystem.

School Leaders on Board and Team Expansion:

Ibu Dyah’s initial success with a small group of students and parents inspired her to seek official recognition from the school principal. She approached the principal with a proposal to expand the programme’s reach, enlisting the support of a team of enthusiastic English teachers and even a university teacher. Her request included both moral and financial support, particularly for video conference mentoring that took place outside regular hours to ensure the students’ ongoing active involvement.

While forming this team required allocating additional resources, the advantages were undeniable. The students’ engagement surged, clearly illustrating the transformative potential of a dedicated team. One of the teachers on the team shared the joy of being part of Generation Global, a platform she believes greatly benefits students by improving their English proficiency and cultural awareness. According to her, this activity contributes to “shaping our mentality” and helps students in “overcoming shyness”. The teacher expressed gratitude to Generation Global for providing students with “the chance to express themselves” and for making them “brave and critical individuals.”

In essence, the approach of creating a supportive ecosystem ensured the sustainability and vitality of the Generation Global programme. It eases the integration of new educators, reduces their workload through shared responsibilities, and fosters a sense of belonging among teachers. Consequently, the programme becomes a shared mission deeply embedded in the educational landscape of the school, consistently empowering young minds to be engaged global citizens.

A Unique Take on Generation Global:

This ecosystem isn’t just a theoretical concept; it’s alive in Ibu Dyah’s classrooms. Her teaching approach with Generation Global showcases her creativity and commitment. She uses written content from one of the introductory modules on the Generation Global Ultimate Dialogue Adventure, online youth platform, to illustrate English language tenses, and encourages her students to analyse these texts to identify different tenses used. Her focus is on tailoring lessons to meet students’ needs and interests.

Moreover, the video conference topics such as Wealth and Poverty, Global Citizenship, The Rights of Girls and Women, Fake News and Social Media, Education, Climate Change, and many others serve as valuable discussion points within her classroom, encouraging students to delve into relevant literature in preparation for their video conferences, where they can connect with students from around the world. Ibu Dyah acknowledges that this approach offers significant benefits for both teachers and students as it aligns well with the current government-developed curriculum (Kurikulum Merdeka).

Her teaching method includes incorporating students’ involvement in Generation Global video conferences into their overall evaluation, with an emphasis on speaking skills. These evaluations are factored into the students’ report cards. Although some students initially felt intimidated by the idea of joining international video conferences, Ibu Dyah’s guidance and the well-designed programme helped them in overcoming their fears and gaining confidence. They learnt to express themselves confidently by engaging in 51 video conferences, discovering their voices in global dialogues with peers from the UAE, India, the Philippines, Mexico, South Korea, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Australia, and Colombia.

At MTsN 1 Kota Malang, Generation Global isn’t just a programme; it’s a transformative journey shaping young minds for the future. With over 100 dedicated students from the school on the youth platform and a vibrant community, Ibu Dyah’s passion sets a global example. Her efforts remind us that transformation starts with one passionate teacher and curious students but ripples out, shaping futures, bridging cultures, and making the world a better place.

Thank you, Ibu Dyah, for being such an inspiration!