Happy National Teacher’s Day! The theme of this year’s National Teachers’ Day is the strategic role of teachers in strengthening Indonesia’s human resources. Teacher quality is key to improving student learning outcomes and preparing a generation of 21st century learners. Through the Technical Assistance for Education Systems Strengthening (TASS) program, the Australian government is helping to improve student learning through a new standardised approach to teacher professional development (CPD) in Islamic schools across the country. The program, implemented by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and supported by TASS, will benefit up to 1,350,000 teachers. Ibu Diyah Utami from Central Java is one of those teachers. In this interview, she shares the benefits of the CPD program so far.
What have been the benefits of the CPD program and what have you used in your classroom?
The CPD program helps teachers develop their performance and broaden their horizons when it comes to educating children in a professional and responsible manner. After participating in this program, teachers have more knowledge, on a broader base of teaching materials. At every meeting there is always new material delivered. For example, there is material about overcoming learning difficulties in children who have been equipped with IT-based learning media tailored to the needs and age levels of students. This really helps streamline the learning process. Students are more enthusiastic and active in following the lessons delivered by the teacher.
How are you adapting new things learnt from the CPD program, at your school?
Sometimes, not all learnings can be used at school – it requires adaptation. Digital technology and digital based learning media is new to me. In certain geographical areas in the mountains the signal is difficult to obtain.
Because the learning method is new, it is a challenge for us to apply it. This is where we make use of the Teacher Working Group (KKG) and consultations with subject teachers, so we can share and find practical learning solutions.
Do you think the CPD program will require teachers to adapt effective teaching practices in their local region in the future, based on local context and student needs?
Yes, it must, teachers must innovate according to the local needs and classroom environment.
Are there any specific suggestions for the future improvement of the CPD program?
Teachers in cities are certainly different from those on the margins. Geographic and socio-cultural factors can play a big factor in teaching. This must be noted.
What must be done to expand the program?
The program must continue to be expanded so that more teachers can benefit and apply learning materials more effectively. This is the dream of many madrasah teachers including those of us who live in rural areas. In addition, CPD must be able to encourage and direct madrasah teachers to become passionate teachers. Teachers who teach from the depths of their hearts while being able to bridge knowledge. Teachers must be engaging with children.
Teachers must contribute to improved learning outcomes and help make Indonesia’s human resources better in the future.