Ini tulisan guru dan mentor saya, Dr. Susan Stengel.
Beliau sekarang sudah kembali ke AS setelah 5 tahun mengembangkan FEE.
Education a matter of teacher training
Opinion and Editorial – May 19, 2007
Susan R. Stengel, Jakarta
The public outrage over the state of education in Indonesia has begun to spawn a variety of programs, both international and Indonesian aimed at quality improvement.
While the definitions of quality may vary slightly from organization to organization, there is general agreement that learning needs to be more active and students need to be able to think more deeply and to apply what they know in real life situations.
In fact, there is agreement in the field of education in general about effective teaching and learning practices. This was not true 25 or 30 years ago. Recent research on the teaching and learning process, however, has brought us closer to understanding what works in schools. Educators all over the world now concur that students need a variety of educational experiences that require them to actively engage with the subject matter and with other learners.
The profusion of programs aimed at the improvement of the quality of education in recent years raises questions about the process of change and the measurement of results. Is the pattern of education really changing in Indonesia? Why isn’t it possible to see the improvements more quickly and more directly? Do we have to wait for a whole generation?
The Foundation for Excellence in Education is a non-profit organization. We have been training teachers over the past five years and have learned some important lessons about how to train effectively and how to ensure that the new teaching strategies are actually implemented.
In terms of the training itself, we have learned that it is essential that the trainer model teaching adults in the ways that they should work with children. If we want the children to be active, then the teachers in the workshop have to be active too. If we want the children to use hands-on materials, then the teachers have to use those same materials in the workshop. After the teachers have had a chance to practice using the materials as learners, then they should also practice teaching using the same materials with another adult and eventually with the children in their classes.
Teaching, using the new paradigm, is like driving a car. You can’t learn how to drive a car just by reading the instruction manual. You have to actually get in the car, start the engine and try to move forward. When the car stalls, you have to try again, and again, and again, until you succeed. Only after many attempts do you become “fluent” at driving. Teachers trying active learning for the first time can expect some failures and some discomfort until they have many, many experiences and eventually get it right.
We have a rule that every concept that we teach has to be “processed” with the learners. This applies to teachers and to students. We can’t just talk about doing simulations; we have to do a simulation. We can’t just talk about using place value blocks in math, we have to practice using them to solve many different kinds of math problems. In our workshops we don’t give out any pieces of paper that we haven’t worked through with the participants, either with an activity or a structured discussion with probing questions.
The second lesson we have learned after working with public elementary schools is that the principal is the key person in the change process. If the principal is pro-active, then something will happen. If the principal sees the need for change and is willing to take some risks to make it happen, then the whole school becomes involved in the process. We have worked closely with the principals in our schools, helping them to view their role, not as managers only, but as educational leaders, people who are willing to try new teaching strategies themselves and who expect the teachers to take chances as well.
The third and perhaps most important lesson has to do with coaching. Even the best workshops in the world will not be successful unless guidance is provided on a regular basis at the schools. Teachers need demonstration lessons, they need help with planning lessons using the new teaching strategies they are learning and they need support with the evaluation and refinement process. The ideal model would be to provide trainers who can work with a single gugus to support the teachers on a daily basis.
There are great opportunities for progress in education in Indonesia today. The private schools are already starting to change the paradigm through continuous professional development, talented leaders and dedication to ideals. Many, many more excellent teachers and qualified trainers are needed if we are going to make the necessary improvements.
There is no more important job in the world than the education of the next generation. My hope is that our talented and thoughtful youth will be attracted to the field of education by the progress that has been made so far and the opportunities available to them to make a real difference in the world.
The writer is the Director of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a non-profit yayasan sponsored by Jakarta International School, General Electric and P.T. Nestle Indonesia.