High quality teaching skills are a must when it comes to improving educational quality in the classroom. In addition, it is essential that teachers can identify and address student learning needs. At INOVASI, teachers are often asked to reflect on what makes a good educator. Is it enough to just deliver a lesson? What else is needed to ensure that students are learning? In Dompu, one of INOVASI’s six partner districts in NTB, teachers and principals have been engaged in a pilot that aims to develop their capacity and quality of teaching and learning. Using a ‘local solutions to local problems’ approach, the Guru BAIK pilot (BAIK meaning Learning, Aspirational, Inclusive, and Contextual) is now underway, supporting teachers to develop and test solutions to learning problems they face in the classroom.
Commencing last month, implementation began with a workshop held at Pajo 3 primary school, with 40 educator participants. Local INOVASI facilitators, or Fasda, ran the workshop. These facilitators are all teachers, principals and supervisors themselves, and contribute to the strengthening of education stakeholder capacity and learning in the district.
Workshop sessions were varied and focused on how teachers can develop and shift their mindset, conduct problem exploration, identify learning difficulties, factor in inclusive learning and prepare follow-up plans. Participants were invited to try and prepare an initial lesson plan that better engaged students and increased interaction during the teaching and learning process. Recognising that each child is unique with different abilities, focus was placed on the design of an inclusive learning plan – taking into account children with a disability or learning difficulty. Guru BAIK emphasises that teachers must think contextually, connecting learning with relevant concepts and items in the local community and context.
This Guru BAIK pilot, which is funded by local government funds (APBD), ultimately aims to change learning methods, enhance use of learning media, and improve classroom management in order to strengthen student learning outcomes in literacy and numeracy. In 2017, Guru BAIK was implemented by INOVASI in all six NTB partner districts. Ongoing support from local government budget allocation to run the pilot in 2018, is a positive reflection of scale out and sustainability.
At INOVASI program end, it is expected that the pilot will be continued by the Department of Education and Culture. Dompu district government remains committed to improving the quality of basic education, to ensure that children can learn to read and write more effectively in the early grades.
“This program is expected to be sustainable so that it can involve all schools and teachers in Dompu Regency,” said workshop participant Hamid, Principal of Pajo 07 primary school.
Hamid also emphasised the importance of monitoring and evaluation during the pilot implementation, to ensure that Dompu is on the ‘right track’ to achieving full literacy and numeracy rates by 2022.
At the second workshop held on 5 August, participants were invited to explore the problems faced by students, especially in the early grades. Several obstacles were found, such as first grade students unable to recognise letters, say difficult words, and write numbers, and second grade students unable to say numbers in the hundreds.
In addition to identifying problems, participants also explored the root causes. It was found that the root of the problem arises from teachers who use the ‘lecture’ method in the classroom. Their teaching methods are considered conventional, and they do not use learning tools or media effectively.
“Teachers often use the wrong method, applying material that is too difficult for students, for example, teachers use numbers that are too high for early grade students,” said A. Bakar, a teacher at SDN 2 Pajo primary school.
Participants then explored solutions that could match root causes of education issues. A commonly agreed upon solution was the use of learning methods that are simple, contextual, and easily understood by students. Additional creative ideas included the use of gravel and sticks as a counting tool in the classroom.
Other solutions and ideas for helping students with learning difficulties were also discussed, including the use of images in the shape of letters to overcome the difficulty of recognizing letters, and using numbered box materials to overcome difficulties in counting.
“I hope that this program can be sustainable because it is able to stimulate new ideas from teachers to develop appropriate learning methods,” said Ruslan, SPd, education supervisor from the Office of Local Technical Implementation Unit in Pajo District.
Read more here about INOVASI’s 2017 Guru BAIK pilot activities in NTB.