Teaching in a place that has many facilities is certainly normal. However, how does it feel to teach in a remote area of Indonesia with minimal facilities? One of the lecturers of the Faculty of Cultural Studies (FCS) Universitas Brawijaya (UB) was invited by the Study Programme of Indonesian Language and Literature, FCS Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR), as a guest lecturer to share his experience as a teacher in a remote area of Indonesia on Wednesday (10/11/2021). He is Khilmi Mauliddian, S.Hum., M.Li., who was once one of the Young Teachers of Indonesia Mengajar (Indonesian Teaching). He was assigned to teach an elementary school amid the Mandar tribe, in Passau, Majene, West Sulawesi in 2011.

Khilmi delivered a guest lecture with the theme ‘Raising Children’s Dreams through Teaching’. Even though it was online, the enthusiasm of the participants was very high. It was seen that more than 200 participants, both students, and lecturers, attended this guest lecture. The purpose of the guest lecture is not only to share knowledge but also to provide motivation and inspiration to students regarding teaching. At the beginning of the event, Khilmi presented material about the concept of intelligence in children. According to him, every child is not slow. Because basically, every child has a different intelligence.

“According to the theory of multiple intelligences presented by Howard Gardner, a professor from Harvard University, there are at least nine different intelligence tendencies in every child. This intelligence includes language intelligence (linguistics), logical-mathematical intelligence (cognitive), image and spatial intelligence (visual-spatial), musical intelligence, motion intelligence (kinesthetic), social intelligence (interpersonal), self-intelligence (intrapersonal), intelligent nature, and intelligent existence,” he explained.

“It can be said, the intelligence of child A is not necessarily the same as child B, so based on this fact, there is no such thing as a not smart child because each child’s abilities are different,” he continued.

It was further explained that nowadays people generally still believe that intelligence is single and dominated only from the academic side. For example, if a child gets the first rank in the class, it is considered brilliant. On the other hand, if there are children who are good at singing, they are considered not to have entered the smart criteria. It is not right, and the concept of a single intelligence needs to be straightened out. So that everyone can appreciate children should be able to understand the theory of multiple intelligences.

Khilmi said that he learned the theory of multiple intelligences while attending the Indonesia Mengajar training as a provision for his assignment. Then he was immediately mentored by Munif Chatib, an alumnus from Harvard University. From there he realized and began to change the perspective of how to treat children and other people. From the knowledge gained, he then put it into practice at the assignment. As a result, by understanding the theory, especially when it is applied in teaching strategies or also in social life, it turns out that they are even more able to appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of both students and others.

At the end of the lecture session, Khilmi also shared his experiences during his teaching assignment in the Mandar tribal community.

“The biggest challenge is how to be well received in the community, especially changing people’s habits regarding education. The children I teach all come from that community. One time, my students did not come because their parents asked them to harvest crops in the garden. The school automatically became quiet, that’s when I had to meet parents and community leaders so that the children were not asked to work but still focused on school. Fortunately, the parents then allowed them to school,” explained this BIPA lecturer.

According to Khilmi, the people where he served were increasingly aware of the importance of education. Many changes have occurred, many children who used to be shy are now continuing their education to college, some are even accepted at state universities through the Bidik Misi Scholarship Programme. One of them is Ayu, a student at a university in Makassar. She is also an Ambassador for Majene Regency. She used to be a shy child. This can be achieved because of the encouragement and motivation to continue learning.

At the end of the session, Khilmi said that teaching is not only the teacher’s or lecturer’s responsibility. Teaching is the responsibility of educated people. Therefore, it is hoped that all students will play a role in the intellectual life of the nation, through caring activities as a form of moral responsibility. Because the future of the nation’s next generation is the responsibility of all elements of the nation.

It should be noted, Indonesia Mengajar is a movement that focuses on the field of education by mobilizing the nation’s best scholars from various university alumni both from within and outside the country who passed the selection to help fill the shortage of teachers in a remote area of Indonesia. [DTS/MSH/PR FCS]