Most of Education Faculties in Indonesia require their students to do teaching practices in several schools as a part of their final duty before starting writing thesis for a Bachelor of Education at university. The duration of that program varies among different universities, between two weeks up to four months. My university requires Education Department students to do the internship at schools for two months. There was an interesting fact based on my observation as an internship teacher five years ago. Almost half of students from the Education Faculty in my university were not able to teach in real classrooms because of many reasons, including the lack of confidence, preparation, practice, and knowledge.
I initially considered that it was just a usual and common thing that they were nervous, and it surely took some time to adjust and to apply what they had learnt in real classrooms. However, many friends ended up their internship with doing cleaning service, gardening, and preparing meals and coffee in the morning for senior teachers of the schools. I was just wonder how it could happen because I myself at that time only focused on teaching students in classrooms by of course previously discussing and collaborating with a senior teacher who was teaching the subject, and I understood that other than my teaching and the preparation was not my duty although I also learnt by observing the surrounding. Moreover, I could not be too active in the school because I was also still an Ambassador of Indonesian Language for my province and needed to do my duty at Language Service office dan travelled around the city for campaigns and promotions.
We did have micro teaching subject in semester 6 before we started the internship, but from that observation it seemed like the program did not work really well. What happened with the micro teaching was that during that one semester every student only got one opportunity to practice teaching in front of their classmates. Therefore, what they mostly did was watching others’ teaching practice and sometimes giving comments on their friends’ performance without intensively doing it by themselves. After graduating from my university, I was still thinking about that issue and trying to find the solution.
In my experience, I started teaching at a private institution as a part time job for about five hours per day when I was in semester four (2012) of my Bachelor Study because I really believed in the power of practice. I understood teaching could help me strengthen my knowledge, embrace new ideas, apply new different methods, show the room to improve, and many others. Thus, I found my teaching practice at school quite successful with no any problems, and of course I have always tried to learn more and more to improve.
Two years ago, after moving from Sumatera to another city in Java island, I started teaching in a new place, I finally came up with ideas that students of Education Faculty should be trained directly to teach since their second year of study instead of their final semester. It means that they are supposed to start the teaching practice at least from semester three or four of their study, and the university should allow students to balance between theories and practice as Sheridan (2011, p. iv) states that ‘learning for the pre-service teacher [is] developmental’. This is somehow a sort of radical reform, but with a proper goal setting it is definitely possible. Therefore, there are several things that I will do in the future in my home university, which relate to the improvement of that condition. My proposal is that my home university needs to build a “Community Learning Centre” that is open for public where the teachers are from education department students, and whoever wants to learn can come and join in that place. This new educational setting will hopefully benefit many sectors, including university and the students, and members of society living in that city. ‘[E]ffective teaching goes beyond simply knowing subject matter or theory, having interpersonal dispositions to teaching, or having a ‘bag of tricks’’ (Naylor 2015, p. 120). By doing so, the university provides students an opportunity to improve their professional teaching experience, opens new job opportunities, and helps educate the society.
The more detailed project will be posted soon.
Naylor et al 2015, Australian Journal of Teacher Education, Learning to Teach: What Do Pre-service Teachers Report, Volume 40, No. 11 pp. 120
Sheridan, L 2011, Exploring Pre-Service Teachers’ Perceptions of Teacher Qualities in Secondary Education: A Mixed-Method Study, Canberra, The University of Canberra
Note: This article was written for the 1st Blog Entry of “Innovation (ED5009)” unit, Master of Education, Victoria University, Melbourne – Victoria, Australia.