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Teacher from Tanoto Foundation Partner School Wins Writing Contest

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Esra Palentina Samosir, a teacher at SDS Global Andalan Estate Cerenti in Kuantan Singingi, Riau, Indonesia, was recently crowned the winner of an ‘Inspirational Writing’ Competition organized by Kuark, which publishes a national children’s science comic.

SDS Global Andalan Estate Cerenti is one of Tanoto Foundation’s partner schools, where Tanoto Foundation routinely carries out training for the teachers in a bid to further strengthen their teaching competencies.

The article below was contributed by Esra:

I feel proud to be the winner of the Inspirational Writing Competition held by Kuark. Not because my writing was deemed the best, but because I can now share my experiences with, and inspire teachers all over Indonesia.

For the competition, I wrote about the teaching methods I learned from attending training sessions held by Tanoto Foundation, a philanthropic organization focused on educational activities. One of these methods I shared was how teaching can be carried out anywhere – including outside the classroom.

As a teacher at SDS Global Andalan Estate Cerenti in Gunung Melintang village, Kuantan Singingi, Riau, I feel lucky as our school implements about 70 per cent of our students’ learning outside the classroom.

This arrangement allows me to experiment with my teaching. One way I’ve done this is to have my students carry out observation work at a conservation forest which is a 10-minute walk from the school.

Once, I took the students of the sixth grade to look for special distinctive plants in the forest. I divided the students into four groups, and tasked each group to study a specific plant species – pitcher plants (kantung semar), dodders (cuscuta), rattan, and forest orchids.

After first having to locate their assigned plants, students then had to study and record the plants’ specific traits. During this stage, students have to study these plants as though they are scientists – they identify and note the plant’s name, height, leaf type as well as root type in their books.

I can see that students really enjoy this activity. Having students enjoy the learning process is a good start to making it easier for them to understand the lesson.

I’m really happy when I hear students sharing about the plants they have studied, correctly identifying their heights and characteristics. It makes me imagine these children as future scientists or biological researchers who will advance science in Indonesia. It makes me know that it is not impossible that one of them might become a Nobel laureate in the future.

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