Siti Hawa, S. Pd, SD – SDN Batu Tering, Sumbawa
As many teachers might learn during the course of their career, it’s important not to give up on students – even if that student is falling behind. With the right teacher support, consent practice, and proper problem identification in the learning process, student learning difficulties can be improved.
In Sumbawa, a district in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) province, teacher Siti Hawa from Batu Tering primary school has been exploring ways to support teaching learning in her own classroom. Inspired to become a teacher by her father, who was highly engaged in her learning as a child, Siti is disappointed when she comes across grade four students who still cannot read and count.
Six months into teaching at Batu Tering Primary School, Siti noted that her fifth-grade students had difficulty in understanding how to conduct addition of fractions with different denominators.
“I remember very well, I started to go in early, and there were still students struggling to solve the problem even though I thought they already understood the concept. When I probed further, it turned out many of my students have not memorized and digested basic multiplication. Most of them still add up the numbers multiplied”.
Rather than blaming the students for their learning difficulties, Siti thought of how she could change her own practice to help improve their learning outcomes and the overall learning process. What activities could she implement in the classroom?
To help students better memorise basic multiplication, Siti had students do a singing exercise for five minutes every morning at the beginning of class. She invited students to sing basic multiplication table from numbers two until nine.
“With this repetition, children who previously could not and have not memorized could remember the multiplication table, and begin to actually work on math problems in class. Although they initially had difficulty when the question is given orally, now when both questions are given in writing or verbally, they can answer it”.
To further encourage students to better their learning, she instigated rewards and small prizes for multiplication test winners.
Siti has now been doing this daily learning activity for six months. If she misses the activity, her students will always remind her.
“Teachers must continue to look for new ways and dare to change their ways. That change begins with us as teachers. If we do not change ourselves, we will never progress. So if I want my students to be more advanced, then I must first change myself”.
Other teachers in Siti’s primary school have expressed interest in her teaching method, wanting to use the same approach in their own classrooms. Thanks to Siti, and the learnings from the Guru BAIK pilot, Batu Tering primary now sees all teachers of early grade classes using this teaching activity – for the benefit of student learning in Sumbawa.