Our Teachers: Encourage Better Teaching

The government has allocated 20% from the national expenditure in order to improve the quality our education. It has been taken upon considering that education is taking so important role in the future of the nation. It is expected that all efforts to enhance the quality of the national education will be no longer facing a classic reason: a limitation of budget. Will this increase of budgeting guarantee the improvement of the quality of our education?

Funding is the barrier that has caused the quality of our education left behind if it is compared with those from other countries. Due to this reason, since 2008 the government has claimed a budget for education 20% of the national expenditure. Considering the significance of the national education, most people agree to this policy. The question is now whether with this increased budget the government can improve the quality of the national education.

Now, let’s have a closer look to the fact. Soon after the government increased the budget, the first thing considered as the most crucial is to increase the salary. Since then, salary has been the largest component of the budget, and the education development program only has the rest amount that is certain to be inadequate. With this shortage of the amount, the measures of improvement that we can immediately see is the expansion of the classrooms, laboratories, textbooks, libraries and other education equipment. All of these facilities are of course important to encourage intelligent students, but it is not the most prominent factor.

The more important things are actually the presence of qualified teachers, learning-teaching method development and scientific research. Anyhow, these factors have been so far placed to be at the second priority. Here, we are trying to discuss one of the three factors: encourage better teaching.

To perform a good teaching, teachers should have a good knowledge of the contents and skill in teaching methodology. Skillful teacher will be able to apply the most appropriate teaching method, which leads the instructional most effective. A number of techniques that can empower teachers have been developed, among others, by Thomas L. Good of Arizona University and Jere E. Brophy of Michigan State University. Two methods considered to be effective in improving teacher’s knowledge of pedagogy are appreciation and power sharing.

Appreciation is the teachers’ ability to appreciate the students’ works, whilst, power sharing means their willingness of not to dominate the classroom. The appreciation approach to students will have different nature for different level of education. In Elementary and secondary students, certification or prize may be suitable for students who excel. The approach will be different for high education. In university, a professor may express his appreciation by giving his personal supervision and guidance to prominent students. An appreciation is like a small reward given to students for their success or achievement. Appreciation will boost self-confidence and self-esteem of students, which finally improve their academic performance.

Power sharing means the willingness of the teachers to reduce their domination of the classroom. Teachers should be acted as the facilitator for their students and do not center ‘the truth’ to them selves. It must be shared with their students. Teachers should hear and give a chance to students to have their own ideas about certain issues. Teachers should acknowledge their students’ own perception. Teaching should not be longer as teacher-centered approach, but it should have been altered to student-centered approach.

It is also necessary for teachers to encourage themselves for a self-development that can be acquired by reflective teaching. Self-development has gained popularity recently in teaching education due to its effectiveness in boosting the teachers’ abilities. Reflective teaching may be practiced through self-video recording, peer conference or journal keeping.

Self-video recording is a method where teachers record their teaching and play it later for their self analyzing, observation and self-critique. Peer conference is where a teacher invites her colleague while teaching so that his peer can give feedback for improvement of teaching. Another way of self-development is by reflective journal. By keeping his journal for this teaching, teachers can focus and determine their teaching goals. Another advantage of this journal is that they can review and evaluate their teaching experiences, make necessary revision and improvement for the future.

The problem is that, at least up to the time being, for most of teachers are still reluctant to self-criticism. It is still hard to criticize themselves for their self-improvement. Anyhow, it should be socialized to them that it is one of easy ways of self-improvement. They should be encouraged that they bear difficult tasks, as with their hand they shape the nation.

Bravo Indonesian teachers!

Mojokerto, 19 June 2009

the site keeper

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