It’s no surprise that traditional teaching and learning approaches that treat students uniformly can actually lead to marginalisation in the classroom. In any classroom in Indonesia, or indeed globally, you’ll find a diverse range of student abilities. This includes the reading ability of students in early grades – some have more advanced literacy skills than others. It is crucial that teachers adjust their teaching methods depending on the needs of each student, to ensure that no child is left behind.
In Dompu, one of INOVASI’s six partner districts in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) province, literacy skills in early primary school remains a serious issue. INOVASI 2018 baseline data showed that 62.50% of early grade students in this corn-producing district did not pass the basic literacy test. This percentage is significant when compared to other partner districts in NTB. When sorted by gender, the percentage of male students who did not pass the basic literacy test was greater (68.71%) than female students (55.64%).
Margiyono, a Dompu early grade teacher, slowly reads the large writing on the paper he is holding. He reads it slowly, like someone who is just learning to read. In front of him, a colleague observes while occasionally writing down the results of his observations. When the reading is completed, Margiyono then discusses the observation points with his colleague.
What is being done by Margiyono and his colleagues is part of INOVASI’s teacher training, helping teachers to measure student reading ability. Together, they conduct simulations to identify the correct reading ability of all students in the classroom. The training is held by INOVASI in collaboration with Dompu’s District Youth and Sports Education Office (Dikpora).
INOVASI and the district level Department of Education and Sports are currently preparing to hold a series of capacity building workshops for early grade teachers. These are part of INOVASI’s current Literacy 2 pilot for early grade students – a follow up to the Literacy 1 short course style pilot which wrapped up in May 2019. In this phase two pilot, the focus is on how to present literacy learning that can meet the different needs of each student.
In Dompu, INOVASI is working with seven primary schools located in Pago sub-district. Just like in the prior pilot, this second training program also targets early grade teachers – 21 partner teachers, to be exact.
According to INOVASI’s NTB Education Coordinator based in Bima, Moh Aminullah, the Literacy 2 short course pilot will strengthen different learning approaches in the classroom.
“Later, the teachers will be trained in how to identify their children’s abilities. Children in the same reading ability will be grouped. Next, the teacher will provide different learning models and methods according to the circumstances and needs of each group,” Aminullah explained.
Different learning models in one classroom like this, will ensure that no students are left behind or marginalized in the learning process. Each student has different conditions and challenges in the classroom. According to Aminullah, this must be identified by the teacher. This pilot is equipping teachers with the various skills needed to deliver tailored learning approaches.
“Starting from the ability to identify students’ abilities, division of groups, presenting different learning, even to the evaluation process to see the extent of development that occurs in each student. Everything will be trained. In addition, they are also equipped with knowledge about inclusion and protection of children”, said Aminullah
Besides Margiyono, there were 11 other educators who are receiving initial training. The group consists of teachers, school principals and school supervisors. Some of those trained will become Regional Facilitators (Fasda) who will then train teachers from the assisted schools. For Margiyono, who currently teaches at SD 04 Woja primary school, this training provided him with new teaching insights.
“This model makes us teachers learn to get out of their comfort zones in the classroom. So far, we have taught students equally. In fact, among them, there are those who just want to spell letters, and some who are already fluent in reading. All of us consider one though actually their needs are different “said Margiyono with pride.
After participating in the Literacy 2 short course pilot, it is expected that the early grade partner teachers will be able to tailor their learning approaches based on student learning needs. INOVASI is conducting a similar pilot in next door Bima district, working with seven schools in Bolo sub-district. Training will continue until November 2019.