Guru BAIK pilot helps teachers explore new learning strategies

In Sumbawa, one of INOVASI’s six partner districts in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), education quality is moving in the right direction. INOVASI activities at the district level are bringing new energy and ideas to help address key education challenges. One of these challenges includes teacher competency during the learning design process. Too often, student learning difficulties are caused by the ineffective application of learning strategies at the classroom level.  Guru BAIK (meaning Belajar, Aspiratif, Inklusif and Kontekstual) remains true to its local name: aspirational, inclusive and contextual learning. Or in other words, good teachers are those who are willing to learn and aspire to create an inclusive and contextual learning environment for their students.

 A recent Guru BAIK workshop in Sumbawa allowed local stakeholders to discuss the root causes of education challenges and better understand the objectives of the pilot program. Held in Sumbawa Besar from 13-14 July, the event was attended by school supervisors, principals and 13 local facilitators from INOVASI.

Facilitators introduced the five core Guru BAIK components, including the teacher’s ability to identify learning problems, analyze student learning difficulties, develop learning solution ideas, develop learning evaluations, and analyze and reflect on the learning process and outcomes.

To identify problems, a key tool used is the Fishbone Diagram. This problem identification technique is used to identify problems and their root causes. In the case of Sumbawa district, the tool was used to examine what was causing a lack of teacher competency at the primary school level, leading to student learning difficulties.

In identifying students’ learning difficulties, local facilitators began by giving examples of real life cases in other primary schools. Participants were asked to reflect on the issues faced in their own classroom context, and why students may face learning difficulties. With guidance from the local facilitators, stakeholders then presented the results from the problem identification process, including the benefits for better understanding the ‘big picture’ when it comes to education challenges. Without this big picture, designing a learning strategy may not be as effective or as targeted. In fact, it may miss the core issues at hand.

Key identified problems related to teaching. For example, teachers do not manage the classroom well, are less advanced at using technology in the classroom, and often use the lecture style method. They lack knowledge on how to better use learning tools, making the learning process more interesting.

With regards to student learning, additional problems included student attitudes (such as disruptive behavior), low learning motivation and interest, and lack of support from their family and parents.

In general, participants agreed that a solution to overcome student learning difficulties is to change the learning strategy itself. Teachers should strive to apply various learning methods, and use interesting learning tools and materials to motivate students and enhance their understanding and comprehension. Importantly, they discussed that teachers should also improve their creativity in the classroom, drawing on available materials in the local community and school environment.

In other workshop sessions, participants discussed the method for prioritizing different root causes of student learning difficulties. Prioritization during the pilot is important, as not all issues can be overcome at once, or with the same tools and approaches. Teachers must be selective.

When it came to exploring learning ideas and solutions, the Sumbawa educators were highly engaged. This is the third core component of the Guru BAIK pilot. INOVASI local facilitators Apparently, before the discussion, they did not understand how to explore ideas to solve learning problems.

“It turns out that a teacher must develop many ideas to enrich solutions for solving educational problems,” said Syahruddin, principal of primary school SDN Kerekeh, aware that his practices have changed over time thanks to Guru BAIK.

Explained Muhammad Taufik, the principal of primary school SDN 1 Sampa, the Guru BAIK pilot has so far succeeded in highlighting key education challenges in his district.  He referred to the results of the problem identification process which concluded that one of the fundamental problems of the low quality of education in Sumbawa was due to a lack of teacher commitment in carrying out their duties as professional educators. This is something the district will continue to address, with support from INOVASI and its pilot activities.

Guru BAIK pilot helps teachers explore new learning strategies