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Meet our teachers

Our teaching staff

We are proud to introduce AIAV’s ‘A-team’ of teachers, all of whom bring a wealth of experience to their classroom teaching. From time to time you may also meet other guest teachers.

Ibu Bea Awiati has worked as a high school teacher in Australia since 1990 in both the International Baccalaureate and Victorian school programs. She studied a Diploma of Education and a Master of Computer Education at Melbourne University. Previously, she worked and studied at the University of Indonesia before moving to Australia.

For several years she has taught at AIAV’s evening classes at different levels. She has taken her school students to Indonesia to experience first-hand the language, school life and culture.

Her goal in teaching Indonesian to adults is to explore further their love of Indonesian and help them speak the language fluently without worrying about making mistakes.

Born in Jakarta and a graduate of the Indonesian Christian University, Ibu Nani Pollard has dedicated her life to the field of Indonesian language and culture. After working for TVRI Pusat Jakarta in children’s programs, Ibu Nani decided to continue her career in Australia. She went on to teach Indonesian Language and Literature at the University of Melbourne from 1994 to 2017. She was also part of the writers’ group who published Bersama-sama 1 and 2 – Indonesian language textbooks for high school students.

Ibu Nani holds a BIPA teaching certificate. She has also taught at the RAAF Point Cook, Deakin University and the Supreme Court. Ibu Nani is the teaching coordinator at our City classes.

Bapak Edan Runge joined the AIAV Teaching Team in 2021. He works as an Indonesian Language Assistant at a Victorian secondary school and has worked as an Indonesian language tutor for secondary school students and adults since 2016.

Edan is a Melbourne University graduate with specialisations in Indonesian language, cultural study and journalism. He is a freelance translator and a member of the AIAV Newsletter Editorial Team.

As a foreign language fanatic, Edan is also a fluent speaker of French, Spanish and Italian, in addition to his first language, English.

Bapak Justin Wejak is an Indonesian language teacher by training. He has extensive teaching experience in tertiary institutions in Australia. Currently he is a lecturer in Indonesian Studies at the University of Melbourne (UoM), while also teaching Advanced Indonesian through zoom at the AIAV since 2020. As a language teacher at UoM, he has been coordinating and teaching a range of  subjects from beginners to advanced levels. Justin’s academic pursuits are multidisciplinary. He obtained a Bachelor of Philosophy in Indonesia, a Bachelor of Theology in Melbourne, a Master of Arts/Anthropology (The University of Melbourne), a Graduate Diploma of Education (Monash University), and a PhD from the University of Melbourne. For his PhD, he wrote a thesis on the culture of fear concerning the historical events of 1965 in Indonesia. Justin’s research interests have been primarily in the fields of culture and language, religion and politics in eastern Indonesia.

Bapak Bede Herradine is an Indonesian linguist who has been enthralled with Indonesian since his first Indonesian class in the mid-1970s! For the past 15 years he has taught Indonesian full-time to Defence Force personnel, and now focuses on developing and managing foreign language assessment programs. An ANU graduate in languages and linguistics, Bede is a regular back-up teacher for AIAV classes, and enjoys passing on to others his passion for learning Indonesian.

Ibu Aretha Kakerissa came from the Indonesian island of Ambon. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree where she majored in German Language, followed by Graduate Diploma of Education, and Master of TESOL, all of which were completed at Monash University. She has over 20 years experience working as a secondary school teacher, where she teaches both middle school  students, as well the VCE and the International Baccalaureate programs. She has also been working in the area of assessment and examination development with the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA). She is passionate about teaching and has always encouraged her students to continue studying the language beyond their high school years. By fostering a love for the Indonesian language and culture, she hopes to develop a greater understanding of Indonesia’s place and role in the current world.

Yahya Zakaria, or Pak Zacky is an Indonesian teacher who recently embarked on his teaching career in Australia. His passion for language teaching began when he created his own digital series on YouTube called ‘Learn Real Bahasa Indonesia’. Since then, he has had the opportunity to teach in a community school in New South Wales, develop his own online language program, and teach students from the Indonesian Studies program at Monash University. Post his completion in the Master of Teaching from Victoria University in 2020, he has been working at Christian College as an Indonesian teacher. 

Ibu Rebecca Kristanto is an Indonesian language teacher, and NAATI translator from Melbourne. She has taught Indonesian at secondary schools and universities in Australia, and lived in Indonesia for several years working as an English teacher, and an Indonesian-English translator in the non-government sector. She joined the AIA team in 2022 and will be teaching the online lower intermediate class this year. Rebecca loves teaching and learning languages and is passionate about helping others build confidence with second language acquisition. In addition to teaching AIA classes, Rebecca currently teaches English as a Second Language as part of the Adult Migrant English Program.

Bapak Paul Thomas has had an interest in all things Indonesian since he was selected as an early participant in the Australian Indonesian Youth Exchange Program (AIYEP). Since then, he has spent his professional life as a translator, researcher and academic in Indonesian Studies at the tertiary level. His Masters thesis reported on the use of first language in second language acquisition and his PhD focused on the historical role of translation and language in the Australian-Indonesian relationship. He has designed and taught a variety of language programs with an emphasis on practical communication, history and storytelling.  He is the editor of the volume Talking North: the story of Australia’s first Asian language and published on the historical role of translators in the trepang trade in Macassan History and Heritage. Other interests include sports diplomacy in the Australian-Indonesian relationship and where to get a good gudeg dish in Australia.

Ibu Widha Chaidir is a native Indonesian teacher and has been teaching Indonesian and French for almost 40 years in many different levels, from Primary to Senior levels (VCE and IB), in France, Indonesia and Australia. After graduated from Faculty of Education, in Jakarta, majoring in French, she had the opportunity to study in South of France, at Nice University to complete her Master of Teaching. 

In 1997, she had the opportunity to came to Australia to teach Indonesian and French in a Catholic School in Gippsland and in Ivanhoe Grammar School in Melbourne. She has taught in AIAV evening’s classes for several years. She also edited the Text/Activity book of Keren2 and ¾ for the high school students.

Teaching is one of her passion other than travelling, cooking and sport. She is very happy to share her knowledge about her beautiful country of Indonesia through the language and culture to foreign students and helping them to build their confidence with their foreign language acquisition. She really enjoys meeting and interacting with people. For her, communication is the main important tool in life.

Ravando, or Mas Vando, has recently obtained his doctoral degree from the University of Melbourne, focusing on the thesis titled “A ‘New Newspaper’: Sin Po and the Voices of Progressive Chinese-Indonesian Nationalists, 1910–1949.” His initial interaction with Australian students dates back to 2008, when he volunteered as a student buddy (pendamping) for the ACICIS programme at Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), Yogyakarta. Since then, he has garnered extensive teaching experience in tertiary institutions across Indonesia and Australia. Currently employed as a lecturer at the History Department of UGM, Mas Vando has taught Bahasa Indonesia at Unimelb for more than two years. He has authored four books so far, all of which were published by Penerbit Buku Kompas. His most recent publication is “Karsa dan Karya Demi Kemanusiaan: Yayasan Kesehatan Telogorejo untuk Indonesia” (2023).