THE TRANSITIONAL FRAMEWORK

Sep 04 2017

The Transitional Framework

I originally designed the Transitional Framework for the Papuan government, which had established a scholarship program for Indonesian students who qualified to study at English-speaking universities; however, the concept of this framework can be applied universally. Students from villages throughout Papua will be coming to Jakarta, and most of them have never been exposed to any form of technology – no phones, no computers, and no TV. This is a truly ambitious project – to develop a 14-week transitional program to prepare students with no technological skills and very basic low-level English for a university level education and life in an English-speaking country. They will also arrive with limited life skills and need to learn how to navigate in a city, order food at a restaurant, shop for clothes at a mall, etc.…. The greatest of these challenges will be raising their level of English so they can attend universities in English-speaking countries. The objectives of this program are to: 

a)   Help the students’ get their math, computer and communication academic levels up to par.

b)  Teach Western culture and customs.

c)   Teach life and survival skills.

d)   Improve the students’ academic and conversational English – students would need to sit the TOEFL exams before entering                        University.

e)   Teach the students library and research skills.

When I was designing the framework below all of these factors came into play. The overview of all curriculums, or center of the flower, is the most important element in the framework because it threads algebra, computers, communication, English, and American studies courses together. Professors will be teaching the core subjects in Bahasa Indonesia and TEFL certified (or equivalent) English teachers will be running the conversational/academic English classes. 

 

Each weekly topic links all the courses together and the diagram below details Week 4 in the Transitional Framework: 

The orange part of the framework is central to the curriculum; professors and English teachers can see in detail what will be covered in each subject area – in the above diagram it is condensed. 

The four subjects form the petals – Algebra, Computers, American Studies and Communication – these courses will be taught in Bahasa Indonesia, the native language in Indonesia.

The stem (green) represents the English teachers – who will repeat and scaffold the lessons that are being taught in Bahasa Indonesia in English. They will run both Academic and Conversational English classes

The goal is to repeat concepts in multiple classes to solidify learning in both English and Bahasa Indonesia. For example, during Week 4, conversational English will focus on Food/Cooking, and math terms of weight and measurement will be incorporated in these lessons. American cooking will be the focus, even extending to food preparation for different holidays in America. Computer lessons in both English and Bahasa Indonesia will focus on Microsoft word, and because the computer professor and the English teacher can clearly see all the topics being covered in the other classes, these lessons could involve typing about celebrations, religion, recipes …. These topics would be the focal point when teaching library and research skills. Students will practice multicultural communication skills when presenting projects.

In order for the framework to work timetabling is crucial. The proposed timetable design allows for all classes being taught in Bahasa Indonesia to be taught in the morning and English classes taught in the afternoon. If students have Algebra in the morning they will see the same terms being taught in their academic English classes in the afternoon. The afternoon lesson would not be an in-depth Algebra lesson, but rather an English Algebra lesson so that students could recognize the terms in their English textbooks once in America or another English-speaking country. The time-tabling also has to allow for field trips to take place so that students can learn life skills. For instance, during the food/cooking week a trip to the grocery store could be planned for students to buy the supplies needed to prepare a recipe. Students could take these trips on a Saturday morning, or during English blocks in the afternoon. Service learning has also been incorporated in the timetable to allow students to learn additional life skills. The timetable also needed to include TOEFL prep/testing, as the students would be required to sit for these exams prior to entering university. Another consideration in the timetabling is their level of English – students would need to be divided according to language ability in the afternoons – beginner, intermediate and advanced. 

 

 

The Implementation:

The implementation of the Transitional Framework will rely on constant communication between the professors and English teachers, which will require weekly team meetings. The more educators are connected, the greater the impact on student learning. The next step in this project is for each individual professor and teacher to map out their long term plans in detail using the planners I have prepared. With only 14 weeks in this program, each week is essential and everyone will need a clear map of how to reach their end goals. Success will be measured by the impact we have made on student learning, and whether we have truly prepared our students for life in an English-speaking country. We have the vision and the game plan, and I know we can achieve our goals!