Pre-service teachers are long term investment and asset in educational context. They are prepared to be professional teachers to respond poor quality in education. They function as agent of change in society to reform education better. In the forthcoming years, they occupy themselves as teachers who fill the retired teacher’ positions. They hold great responsibility in which education demands more to solve unanswered problems. They are asked to widen their knowledge, skills and abilities by conducting field experiences. Just like in the US, pre-service teachers in Indonesia also need to accomplish field experiences. Despite of some similarities, field experiences in the US and Indonesia are different in many ways. I assume that field experiences in the US have better perspectives and practices than in Indonesia. The US has implemented Professional Development School (PDS) approach, in which this approach has ideal characteristics of teacher education programs, strong policy which creates relation between universities and schools seen from the worldwide perspective. In this paper, I adopt the PDS model to enhance the pre-service teacher’s professionalism in Indonesia.
2. Professional Development School
Professional Development School (PDS) has been initiated by the Holmes Group in 1986 (Boyle-Baise, 2008, p.311). As an pre-service teacher training program, PDS is seen as a program focuses on the academic achievement and has a clear direction in which the model demands the pre-service students to act and behave as professionals. I assume that it is because PDS offers good mentality for pre-service teachers in which PDS tries to change the mindset not just as teachers but also as professionals. This professionalism notion is clear seen from PDS perspectives when they are implemented in the real practices.
Boyle and Baise elaborate that PDS sticks on four perspectives of mastery content knowledge, learning through inquiry, collaboration/partnership, and accountability for students learning (2008, p. 316). Mastery content knowledge is compulsory for teachers. I cannot imagine if they do not really understand about the content and the materials, what will they do? And how do they conduct the instruction? Will it run smoothly? Will their pupils gain something from their classes? I do not think so. Just like a key that enable us to open the door, mastery the content helps pre-service teachers to start having quality in giving instruction in the classroom. Learning through inquiry gives more beneficial for pre-service teachers. It is since inquiry or research enables these pre-service teachers to see the weaknesses of their teaching and help them to reflect and enhance the quality in teaching. Just like an eight in numerical order, they do a daily inquiry to understand their teaching style which strategies, methods, approaches fits for students. Collaboration or partnership. Schools and universities attempt to maintain the collaboration by being symbiotic. They create a bridge in which it enables pre-service teachers do the field experiences. Universities benefit since they have a place to train the students in the real condition, while schools can improve the schools system including academic stuff. Accountability is associated with responsibility teachers to promote students’ motivation to learn and to have good academic achievement. In my view, the perspectives above are good in which enable pre-service teachers to see what the future education demands them.
The PDS has been used widely in the USA. It might be because the perspectives of the four ideal characteristics meet the reality. As Boyle-Baise depiction, the data shows that PDS teacher candidates performed at the competent level while non-PDS candidates performed at a minimum satisfactory level (2008, 323). With the competent level in content knowledge and teaching and always behaving as inquirers to look for the best methods for teaching, I assume that it is not hard for pre-service teachers to instruct their class well. Then, no doubt if in the future the students who are taught by these PDS students will have better academic achievement.
3. Field Experiences in Indonesia
In Indonesia, pre-service teacher training programs are commonly called as PPL (Field Experience Practice). In many cases, PPL offers three-months field experiences for pre-service teachers which the specific time is usually determined by the universities. PPL also has principles but tend to abstract and difficult to be implemented practice.
Unlike the PDS, the implementation of PPL does not have the clear principles. Some reading that I find from the undergraduate university gives blur elaboration. In the manual of PPL, pre-service teachers are demanded to be professionals with requirements such as (1) have morality, (2) mastery the subject, (3) mastery pedagogical competence....(14) fight for students’ business and (15) do reflection and improvement in his/her practice (Unnes, 2011, pp.90-91). I really do not understand about the principles of it. Why don’t they have simple but applicable principle?
Many universities just send pre-service teachers to schools without needing to pass standard. It means that it is difficult to know their mastery on content knowledge and instruction ability. It is of course uneasy to recognize teacher readiness to teach. It contradicts with the US in which Federal since 1990 used Teacher Report Cards to require teacher education programs to report the passes rates of teacher candidates on content exams (Boyle-Baise, 2008, p.316).
4. Adoption of Professional Development Schools according to Indonesia
I come to an idea that Professional Development Schools is problem solving for Indonesia. Having so many unsolved problems, I argue and agree if pre-service teachers training programs need to adopt the PDS’s concept, as follows:
Mastery content knowledge. In line with the implementation of PDS in the US, our government needs to determine standard of the mastery content knowledge. Pre-service teachers in PPL need to accomplish a set of test which covers content knowledge and pedagogical competence. Pre-service teachers are not only to pass the written test but also microteaching test. In Indonesia, yes we have microteaching test but we don’t have written test. And another weakness is based on my personal experience. There is only one lecturer as an assessor and around 20 pre-service teacher candidates in one room for conducting microteaching. The lecturer usually sits in the corner to see our performance. I feel that we are not really evaluated since we do not have feedback for our performance. Based on that fact, I want to government takes control on the standard then all universities create their own assessment, both written and microteaching assessment. It is because pre-service teachers have big responsibility for Indonesia future. They will educate the very young generation which means they contribute to create the human resources. If this nation wants to have better future, they really need to control it. Only those who are able to accomplish the requirements are allowed to teach, but who are not meet, they can take the next test.
Learning Through Inquiry. This principle is amazing idea for me. I have already known that the PDS has this principle. In Indonesia, the teacher’s supervisor, or the lecturer do not encourage us to act as inquirers. PDS projects focus on the collaborative inquiry as a vehicle for developing teachers and for enhancing students’ achievement (Boyle-Baise, 2008, p.322). I strongly agree if the pre-service teachers work with the school teachers to conduct a research about any problems they meet in classroom activities. It is the chance especially for less-experienced pre-service teachers to experience research and learn from school teachers. They plan, act, observe and reflect. With knowing their weaknesses, they try new techniques or strategies and reflect whether the techniques have significant improvement or not.
Collaboration/Partnership. In Indonesia, many universities entwine relation with schools. But, there is only one drawbacks of the implementation PPL, i.e. one-way relationship. I feel that the collaboration in Indonesia merely tend to be ‘domination model’ (Eisler, 2009, p.135) in which universities are on the top and the schools are bottom. I remembered my PPL’s experience, only three times the faculty members visited the school, i.e. first is the first day we came to school, second is when lecturers gave score to us, and third is the last day we left school. Universities tend to have dominant power than schools. This is of course not good idea, in which it raises inegalitarian relationship. I assume that it will be good if the collaboration that happens between universities and schools in Indonesia in are partnership model with non-hierarchical system.
Accountability. Pre-service teachers accountable for students’ academic achievements. In Indonesia, pre-service teachers see how parents demand school teachers to be responsible for their students’ achievement. Teachers are directly accountable with to students’ parents and community (World Bank, 2010, p.12) especially in the national examination. Teachers must foster students to pass the minimum score which has been determined by the government. They are monitored to do well and if they fail in making students pass the exam, they were labeled as non qualified teachers.
To sum up, pre-service teacher training program in Indonesia is at a critical condition and need to be renewed. By adopting the PDS models, we can reduce the bad point of teacher training (PPL) we already have. I do believe that we start to change the perspective of PPL program now, we can grow the professionalism inside of pre-service teachers.
Boyle-Baise, M. & Mclntyre, DJ. (2008).What kind of experience? Preparing teachers in PDS or community settings. In M. Cochran-Smith, S. Feiman-Nemser & JD Mclentrye (Eds.), Handbook of research on teacher education: Enduring questions in changing context (pp.307-329). New York: Routledge.
Eisler, R. (2009). Education for a partnership world: Building cultures of piece. In H.S. Shapiro (Ed.), Education and hope in troubled times (pp. 259-271). New York: Routledge.
Unnes. (2011). Pedoman PPL Universitas Negeri Semarang. Semarang: Unnes Press.
World Bank and Indonesian Ministry of National Education. (2008). Transforming Indonesia’s Teaching Force. Washington, DC :World Bank.