Bamboo and coffee beans help the learning process in Dompu

Siti Nursaoda – SDN 07 Pekat, Dompu

Almost half of all Indonesians live in rural or remote areas. When it comes to educating students in remote areas, the challenges are plentiful – more than for their urban peers. Limited facility access and local culture are often labelled as key barriers to improving student learning outcomes in these areas. Restricted access to quality teacher resources is an issue, and teachers in many remote areas have less competence and ability to effectively implement curriculum.

In the Pekat area of Dompu, at the foot of Tambora Mountain, Siti Nursaoda is a first grade teacher bucking the trend. Highly motivated and passionate about teaching students in remote areas, Siti is committed to helping her students learn better – and learn more.

With 14 years of teaching experience behind her, Siti is constantly exploring how she can try and test new learning methods in the classroom, and encourage parents and students. It wasn’t until she participated in Guru BAIK workshops in Bima that she truly felt her mindset shift.

“In the past, when teaching I did not have learning media. My mindset at that time, is that learning media is a product that I need to buy at the store and it costs money. But, after joining the INOVASI program workshops, I got inspired. This workshop not only made my thinking increase, but also changed my mindset. From the discussions with the facilitators who supported me, I came up with the idea to create a learning media tool based on local context”.

Siti recalls arriving home from the first Guru BAIK workshop, and forming her idea more carefully.

“I was overflowing with ideas”.

Using bamboo materials around her house, Siti began to cut them into glass, adorning them with coffee bean ornaments from her garden. She then inserted the numbers 1 to 10 in each glass, planning to help her grade one students improve basic numeracy skills.

“In the workshop at first, I tried to use plastic bottles with beverage packaging. However, one of the facilitators challenged me to think further – and I realised I could use local materials like bamboo and coffee which are popular in my area”.

When she introduced the glasses to her class, even Siti was surprised at the warm reception. Their enthusiasm for learning numbers and basic math using the colour glasses grew and grew. Soon enough, students were easily able to distinguish between numbers, and use them in simple sums.

To teach more complex math concepts, Siti continued using the glasses, filling them with coffee beans in accordance with the numbers listed on each glass. Students were then grouped together based on learning performance, with each group mixed so that children with higher learning ability could help encourage their peers to grasp concepts and catch up. This worked well in encouraging a collaborative learning environment.

Siti is very positive about this new learning media solution.

“Directing children without learning media help is very difficult. Also, teaching should not just be a lecture in front of the class. I was tired of repeatedly explaining a concept but still my students have trouble understanding. Now, with this teaching media, I am so grateful there is a change.  My students are so happy to learn, they even don’t want to stop when it’s time to go home”.

Siti is happy to share her ideas with other teachers, not just in Dompu – teachers in other remote areas with less resources could consider replicating such a low cost and easy to make learning tool. She speaks with appreciation about her own learning journey through the INOVASI program’s Guru BAIK workshops.

“I say this is the result of training received from INOVASI. We are required to be creative and create learning media. I keep making this for this material, and because of my idea, other teachers have created the same learning media for their classrooms”.


Bamboo and coffee beans help the learning process in Dompu