| Cycle 1 (2011 Deadline)
Incorporating Bali's subak heritage into primary and secondary education: curriculum development, teacher training, and action research
PI: Sang Putu Kaler Surata (Mahasaraswati University)
US Partner: John Stephen Lansing (University of Arizona Tucson)
Project Dates: June 2012 - May 2014
UNMAS students interview farmers from Subak Tampaksiring (photo courtesy of Dr. Surata).
The objective of this research is to train future teachers in education for sustainable development. Course materials will be developed to teach primary and secondary students about the agro-ecology of Bali, with an emphasis on the ancient institutions that manage Bali’s celebrated rice terraces: subaks and water temples. Balinese subaks are traditional, community-level religious institutions that manage irrigation water, which is regarded as a gift from the Goddess of the Lakes, and as such is a shared resource. Generations ago, nearly all Balinese children had direct experience of subaks and the agro-ecology of terraced rice, but today the majority of Balinese are no longer farmers, and knowledge of both the ecological and spiritual role of the subaks and water temples is much less accessible. The subak system is also experiencing threats from both land conversion and loss of soil fertility. The subaks and water temples are more than functional institutions; they are widely regarded as a cultural achievement of the Balinese people, and their vulnerability is a frequent topic in Balinese newspapers, television, and seminars. The proposed project is designed to help address these concerns by developing teaching materials about the subaks to be used in both primary and secondary schools in Bali and elsewhere in Indonesia. Both printed and Web-based instructional materials will be created by teams of future teachers, who will also receive training in the formal evaluation of the pedagogical effectiveness of these materials and methods. Bali’s subaks provide an excellent case study from which to learn about sustainability, resilience and the interaction of humans with the natural environment.
It will also significantly enhance the broader impacts of a National Science Foundation-funded investigation of the resilience of Balinese subaks, by incorporating the results into education for Indonesian school children and by providing structured training in education for sustainable development for a large cohort of future teachers. The major challenge for the project is to develop materials and modules that will be both comprehensive and effective in the context of primary and secondary education in Indonesian public schools. To achieve those goals, the development and assessment of the teaching materials will be carried out by college students at Mahasaraswati University who are seeking certification as primary and secondary school teachers. Thus the project is organized as a series of projects embedded within the teacher training curriculum at Mahasaraswati. The first year’s goal is the creation of teaching materials for different grade levels that encompass all aspects of the subak/water temple system (social, ecological, spiritual, and historical). Students will participate in data collection for the RAPID project in the field, gaining firsthand awareness of the concerns and perceived vulnerabilities of the farmers and temple priests. They will also work in teams to collect historical data, photographs, and oral histories that will provide the raw materials for teaching modules. The second year’s target focuses on assessment and evaluation of the pedagogical value of the instructional materials. The Web-based teaching materials that emerge from this project will made available on the Cultural Landscape of Bali World Heritage web site and in this way help to fulfill the key educational goals of the World Heritage plan for Bali. While the focus of the project is the development of teaching materials for Indonesian school children, some modules will be translated into English and distributed via the World Heritage web site.
Summary of Recent Activities
Dr. Surata and UNMAS students with farmers from Subak Tampaksiring (photo courtesy of Dr. Surata).
During the summer of 2013, Dr. Surata continued his wide range of activities aimed at incorporating Bali’s Subak heritage into primary and secondary education. In preparation for publication of the textbook Subak Cultural Landscape: Learning from the Past to Build the Future, a training event titled “Mind Mapping Training: How to Read the Book Critically and Creatively” was held at the University of Mahasaraswati Denpasar, with weekly sessions from July 3 through August 23. The course was designed for student teachers from the Department of Mathematics Education who had taken a course on environmental knowledge. During these sessions, the student teachers were involved in designing concept maps for each book chapter and were introduced to the concept of integration of Bali’s Subak cultural heritage in the school curriculum. On August 22, Dr. Surata organized a panel discussion at his university to promote the new textbook. Keynote speakers from the Ministry of Forestry discussed forests and watersheds as a source of water for Subak irrigation, and the textbook was also discussed and well received by the teachers, lecturers, NGO representatives, and stakeholders in attendance. Another book promotion activity was held on August 23 at the Subak Pulagan community center in Tampaksiring Gianyar, where farmers who also work as teachers were encouraged to provide constructive criticism and suggestions relating to the contents of the book, specifically, regarding strategies of integrating water control systems in the school curriculum. Farmers expressed the need for more in-depth information about their local Subaks, as it would help their younger generation become more interested and more aware of the importance of water control systems. Another public event was held September 3-4 at the Archeological Museum in Pejeng Village, Tampaksiring Gianyar. A Subak focus group discussion was held among stakeholders from three regions at provincial levels. It highlighted the importance of protecting the temple and Subak area and stressed the need to coordinate management of cultural landscape from the village level, Subak, sub-district, and the district and province levels. Later that month, Dr. Surata and his U.S. partner John Stephen Lansing presented the results of their PEER Science project at a congress titled “Strengthening Cultural Subak as a World Cultural Heritage and Acceleration of Youth Involvement in Agriculture.” The event was held in Bali September 24-25 and was attended by 127 participants, including representatives from UNESCO, the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture, regional agency members, and private and public university faculty and students. The goal of the venue was to open a creative dialogue with the focus on cultural dynamics of Subaks as a world cultural heritage and to formulate strategies and recommendations for the future of Subak culture. Going forward, Dr. Surata is planning to present his PEER Science research project at the International Conference of Education Research in Seoul, Korea, October 15-19, 2013, as well as continue teacher and student training activities and promotion of the textbook. A book review competition for students and teachers across Indonesia is being planned as well.Back to PEER Cycle 1 Grant Recipients