Rachel Wang was an English Language Fellow at Sam Ratulangi University in Manado, Indonesia, from 2018 to 2020. Her primary duties included teaching classes to English majors on speaking, writing, American Studies, and English for Journalism. She also taught Teaching the Four Skills to pre-service teachers. Rachel had a variety of secondary duties that involved leading teacher training workshops locally and nationally, mentoring students and delivering lectures on U.S. scholarship opportunities with EducationUSA, leading English camps for Access students, and organizing American cultural events at her host institution.
“In my fellowship, I learned I didn’t need fancy PowerPoints or even electricity in my classroom to teach,” Rachel stated. She learned how to make classes of 30, 50, and even 70 students interactive using learning stations, name cards, community building activities, and strategies shared by other Fellows. Through this process, Rachel gained experience in leading teacher training workshops and confidence in the value of what she has to share with other teachers. “Stripped of everything I thought I needed in a classroom to teach, I adapted new methods, reflected on what worked, and became a better teacher as a result.”
Rachel made a lasting impact through her classes and teacher training workshops by encouraging extensive reading. She combatted stereotypical perceptions of reading as a means of studying textbooks and religious texts alone by introducing students to fiction, graphic novels, magazines, and picture books, showing that reading can be for pleasure.
Inspired by RELO Jakarta’s partnerships with the Indonesian Extensive Reading Association (IERA) and BASAbali (a local initiative to promote the Balinese language), Rachel designed a project for her students to publish trilingual children’s books integrating traditional foods, holidays, and values. Each page featured illustrations and text in English, Indonesian, and the local lingua franca Manado Malay, commonly referred to as bahasa Manado.