Reviewing School-Based Curriculum to Succeed the 2013 Curriculum

Logo Kurikulum 2013The new curriculum (2013 Curriculum) for education system in Indonesia has been gradually implemented since the beginning of 2013/2014 academic year, July 2013. The Education and Culture Minister, Muhammad Nuh, said that not all schools would implement the 2013 curriculum. It means that this new curriculum will be carried out in stages, and in 2015 all the schools in Indonesia will have been implementing it, including schools in remote areas.

Although the 2013 curriculum offers significant breakthroughs in improving the quality of teaching and learning process, I personally believe that the success of this curriculum depends on how schools apply it. The key words are teachers and students. They determine whether the curriculum can run well or not. The main concept of the 2013 curriculum is excellent. As an effort to improve the nation’s education quality, the new curriculum integrates science and civic education with religious and moral education. Students should be taught to think creatively. Education should be both accurate and offer the best lesson, and this can be achieved by teaching them to be creative.

But, once again, the result of the 2013 curriculum will be seen from its practice, not only from its theoretical framework.

Regarding the implementation of this curriculum, I would like to track back to the previous curriculum. In my mind, School-Based Curriculum (Indonesian: Kurikulum Tingkat Satuan Pendidikan – KTSP), also known as 2006 Curriculum, is actually good enough for Indonesia’s education system. The curriculum enables schools to develop their teaching learning process creatively in accordance with the condition of their schools and society. But the result of the 2006 curriculum is dissatisfying. It seems there is no great improvement in the quality of teaching learning process. The main cause is, as usual, schools are not ready to apply the concept of school-based curriculum. One of the reasons why this happens is because teachers are not often trained by the Education Department to update and upgrade their ability in teaching. English teachers, for example, are not given sufficient and regular training to apply the concept of the approach used in teaching English. Up to these days, it is admitted that there are many English teachers do not master Genre-Based Approach well.

The following writing is a review of school-based curriculum for English teaching and learning. The aim of this article is to discuss the framework of school-based curriculum; its advantages and disadvantages, and some recommendations how to improve it to integrate and succeed the 2013 curriculum. (Source: elihsutisnayanto.wordpress.com, posted by: Elih Sutisna Yanto).

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The Framework of The 2006 Curriculum, School-Based Curriculum (Kurikulum Tingkat Satuan Pendidikan – KTSP)

The spirit of decentralization, as showed by act of local autonomy No. 22, 1999 revised by Act of local Autonomy No.32, 2004 and hand in hand with Act No. 20, 2003 has been seen in the 2006 curriculum (KTSP) launched by government. In this case, education is not merely central government’s responsibility; local government also has responsibility in managing and funding education.

Basically the 2006 curriculum (KTSP) is developed from standard of content by schools based their context and potentiality. Although KTSP varies between one and other schools, government gives some regulations stated in Governmental Regulation (PP) No. 19, 2005 concerning National Standard of Education (SNP) at May 16, 2005 such as standard of content and standard of competence of graduate.

English as stated in standard of content (PERMENDIKNAS No 22, 2006) is learned at elementary two hours in a week (as local content [MULOK] for class IV, V and VI), at junior and senior high school four hours in a week except for language program in SMA – five hours in  a week.

In addition, the standard competence of graduate of English (PERMEN No 23, 2006) for each level is communicative competence in the form of spoken of language accompanying action for elementary school, in the form of spoken and written for achieving functional literacy level for junior high school, in the form of spoken and written for achieving information literacy level for senior high school.

The syllabus, in this curriculum, perceived as the plan of learning process with lesson plan – RPP (PP No. 19, 2005), chapter IV, article 20, PERMEN No, 41, 2007) which consists of standard of competence , basic standard, material, learning activities, learning indicators, assessment, time allocation and resources (PP No. 19, 2005, chapter IV, article 20; DEPDIKNAS, 2006; PERMEN No. 41, 2007) . The syllabus is developed by a teacher or group teacher supervised by department of education based on standard of content, standard competence of graduate and guiding of arrangement of school-based curriculum (Appendix of PERMEN No. 41, 2007).

Furthermore, principle of developing the 2006 syllabus are scientific, relevance, systematic, consistence, adequate, actual, contextual, flexible and comprehensive (DEPDIKNAS, 2006). Moreover, the steps of development are as follow: (1) investigating and deciding standard of competence, (2) investigating and deciding basic competence, (3) identifying main topic/material, (4) developing learning activity, (5) formulating indicators, (6) deciding kinds of assessment, (7) deciding time allocation, and (8) deciding resources. (Appendix of PERMEN No. 41, 2007).

Basically, the 2006 syllabus is a as similar with the 2004 syllabus. Principle of developing the 2004 competence-based syllabus are scientific based, learner’s needs, systematic, relevant, consistent and adequate (Dikdasmen 2004:11). Furthermore , there are six steps of developing this syllabus; (1) writing subject identity, (2) formulating standard competence,(3) deciding basic competence, (4) deciding material and its explanation, (5) deciding learning strategy, and (6) deciding time allocation and resources (Dikdasmen 2004:25).

The difference is in deciding indicators, theme and in teaching approach. The 2006 does not focus on theme and indicators are decided based on the necessity of learner’s need and ability. Moreover, the 2006 syllabus emphasizes on learning process as high light in lesson plan and as mentioned in PP No. 19, 2005, chapter IV, article 19, verse 1 “ learning process is performed interactive, inspirable, fun, challenging, motivating learners to involve actively, and given adequate space for innovation, creativity, autonomy based on learner’s potential, interest, physical and psychological development.

The characteristics of the 2006 curriculum are as follows:

  1. Emphasizing the attainment of the students’ competence individually and classically;
  2. Orienting toward learning outcomes, and diversity;
  3. Using genre approaches in the learning process and greatly is influenced with Systematic Functional Grammar of Halliday (1987);
  4. Accepting any other educative learning sources besides teachers;
  5. Emphasizing its evaluation on the learning process and outcomes in acquiring or attaining a certain competence;
  6. Using special terms such as standar kompetensi (Standard of Competence) refers to a minimum statement covering know ledges, skills, attitudes, and values which are reflected in the way of thinking and acting after students learned and finished one of the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing); Kompetensi Dasar (Basic Competence) refers to a minimum statement covering know ledges, skills, attitudes, and values which are reflected in the way of thinking and acting after students learned and finished one of the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing).; indicator (Achievement Indicators) refers to a specific basic competence that can taken as a standard to assess the attainment of a learning process;
  7. Materi Pokok (Core Materials) refers to core materials or lessons that students have to learn in a learning process.

The succession of a number of pedagogical approaches to teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in Indonesia is not without problems. Bringing innovation to an established education system will pose a number of challenges to educators concerning the approach and “may bring problems to language teachers” (Feez ,1998, p. 13) . There will be an urgent need for EFL teachers to develop an understanding about the approach and how the different elements in the new curriculum fit together. Phrased differently, the Indonesian government’s decision to introduce an innovation into the Indonesian English language curriculum requires teachers as the key persons in the restructuring task to adapt effectively (le Roux & Ferreire, 2005) to the changes as determined and directed by the educational authorities.

Therefore, as an answer to these potential problems, it is paramount to introduce the curriculum first to in-service teachers as the people who will be directly involved in the implementation of the approach in Indonesian schools. In doing so, since the beginning of the pre-introduction of the new curriculum project in 2001, there have been a great number of in-service training programs and education for teachers specifically designed for the introduction of the new curriculum. This training has mainly involved government funded programs as a part of the new curriculum project. In order to reach all levels of education in Indonesia, the training has been conducted from various levels, including central government, local government and institutions such as schools.

However, another problem arises concerning how effective the provided in-service teacher training is at developing teachers’ understandings about the genre approach and the way they should apply this approach in their classroom. Working as a trainer in a government funded teachers’ training and development centre; it is part of my job to introduce the 2004 curriculum to the elementary and secondary school English language teachers in my working area – Riau province. In my experience, there is still much confusion among teachers about the curriculum, and the genre-based approach in particular. The confusion centers on understanding the conceptual theory of the genre-based approach and its pedagogical application in the classroom.

Another problem that arises from the implementation of this approach is the appropriateness of the genre-based approach to be implemented in the Indonesian context because English is a foreign language. In the Australian context, this approach is aimed at developing the students’ literacy skills in writing and reading in the context of English as a first language and second language (Wales, 1993). It is assumed that students with English as a first language have already developed the ability to speak and listen from their early childhood. In addition, students who learn English as a second language in an English speaking country such as Australia benefit from the environment where they get more exposure and opportunity in the target language than students who learn English in a non-English speaking country like Indonesia.

In addition, much of the literature on the pedagogical applications of the genre approach in classrooms shows that some educators think that the approach “seems to be connected largely with the teaching of writing” (Kay and Dudley-Evans, 1998, p. 312). In the Australian context, this approach has been found to be an effective approach to teaching writing to native speakers and in teaching English as a second language (Hammond, 1989 in Kongpetch, 2006). However, less attention has been paid to the possibility of using the genre-based approach for teaching integrated language skills, whereas in the Indonesian context, this approach is suggested to be used for teaching integrated English as foreign language skills (Depdiknas, 2003a; 2003b; 2006b).

The Classroom Practices Problems

It is interesting to discuss  the implementation of the genre-based approach in Indonesian schools. In particular, It is important to discuss of  Indonesian teachers’ adoption of teaching integrated English language skills using a new approach, and the problems they encounter during the process.

The implementation of the 2006 curriculum in the field has faced four main constraints.

First, the number of students is so large and their diversity – in terms of their motivation level, intellectual capability, cultural backgrounds, and access to educational resources – is so high that it’s hard to implement the 2006 curriculum.

The second constraint is the budget shortage. Several implications of this budget shortage include the large class size, the low teacher salary, and the lack of educational resources. No matter how good the curriculum guideline is, even an excellent teacher would find it extremely hard to deliver the 2006 syllabus effectively in a class of 40 to 50 students. This situation is worsened by the low salary. The majority of teachers have to do some moonlighting work after school and thus are not able to put enough energy and time into making class preparation, improving their quality, and enhancing their professional development. The 2006 syllabus is not followed by the changing of approaching  used by the teacher in classroom. Teachers tend to teach more grammar and structure separately and explicitly out of their communicative competence. Teachers’ habitual and their previous experiences influence the way of their teaching.  Some research found that the English teachers are not active users of English and they are not familiar with the genre-based approach.  The limited budget also led to the lack of educational resources. Only exceptional schools have language laboratories, adequate libraries or self-access learning centers. Most schools don’t even provide a tape recorder and cassette tape to let students listen to model input.

The third constraint is the nature of EFL learning environment. Indonesia doesn’t provide adequate exposure to English for the majority of the learners. This perhaps used to be a universal constraint among other countries where English is used as a foreign language. People did not have ready access to read and listen to English materials. Besides, at the immediate level, there are no urgent real needs for the majority of Indonesians – as well as no adequate resources – to develop communicative competence in English.

The last constraint is there has been mismatch between the commitment to competence and the insistence of the Ministry of Education to sustain the national examination for junior and senior high school levels. The national exam frenzy drives teachers to teach to the test and drill their students for several months of their last year in high school.

Summary and Recommendation

  1. There are different levels of understanding and ways of applying Genre based curriculum approach among those teachers in school. Those teachers to learn about this approach is through the formal training provided by the government.
  2. The curriculum changes in the Indonesian educational system for the teaching of English place a lot of stress and need for learning on teachers. Therefore, planning for this learning is critical for the success of the new program and the intended improvement in students’ learning.
  3. The teachers who participated in applying this approach do not fully understand the concept of the genre-based approach and are confused between the positive aspects of the genre-based approach and the principal pedagogical applications of genre theory in the classroom. Their limited understanding of this approach has influenced their confidence to use this approach in their classroom. In addition, there is a mismatch between the literature and most of the participants’ practical application of the genre-based approach for teaching English.
  4. It is  important of providing teachers with formal training as an initial step to introduce innovation in the educational system. In other words, it is evident that teachers’ development is absolutely necessary for a reform to take place. However, most participants indicated that the in-service training they had, did not provide them with enough knowledge and confidence to use the genre-based approach in their teaching practice. In this respect, it has reflected the argument that “in-service teacher training does not always have a good reputation for transforming teachers’ practice” (Garcia, Flores & Gallegos, 2005, p. 37).
  5. The lack of the training’s continuity and follow-up program, poor delivery modes, poor devised activities and information are to blame for the failure. Therefore, it is more important to pay more attention to improve these training factors in order to be more effective in helping teachers to adapt to the reformation. For example, the activities and information given in the training should be designed in accordance with teachers’ needs and should be linked to school’s particular problems.

Recommendations

  1. Regarding the teachers’ limited understanding of the genre-based approach, these teachers should be more active themselves in seeking more information and learning opportunities to develop their expertise in this approach. One way of doing this is by continuously conducting professional development either independently or collaboratively. Conducting independent learning, actively involving themselves in teachers’ networks or teachers’ centres and reflective learning from teaching practice using this approach are some examples of professional development available for teachers. Thus, teachers should not merely depend on the formal training provided by the government in developing their expertise in this approach. Teachers should view their professional learning not only as a learning for acquiring necessary skills for teaching but also learning that involves cognitive process, personal construction and reflective practice (Richards & Farrell, 2005).
  2. In introducing a new teaching approach, particularly to in-service teachers who are the key actors in performing this task in the classroom, there arguably needs to be more than just formal training. The program itself needs to be well prepared and well designed. The improvement of the design of activities involved and information provided in the training is important. Training needs assessment and program evaluation can play an important role in order to link what teachers need and what is available on the program itself. Therefore, training needs assessment should be carried out by the training designers as the necessary preliminary step for designing the training. The timing of the training is also a concern.
  3. The government needs to consider the right timing for the training, to provide a grace period for teacher to learn the approach before being officially obligated to introduce the curriculum.
  4. The curriculum designers also need to consider aspects such as suitability and practicality of this particular approach to be implemented in Indonesian secondary school curriculum. This is due to the fact that the genre-based approach is an approach that is designed to develop students’ literacy skills such as reading and writing, which most of these teachers find it hard to teach due to particular learning situations and circumstances in their classrooms.
  5. Concerning the problem of unequal opportunity for teachers to enroll in the training, it has so far been hard for the government to provide in-house training for all teachers in Indonesia. This is most likely because of some limitations such as financial shortages and the large number of in-service teachers in Indonesia. Therefore, the training designers should consider other forms of training which are financially affordable and have a wider range of accessibility, such as online training and electronic training.
  6. Each school should decide to set advanced competencies in their English curriculum, the very first step to take is to improve the quality of their English teachers themselves.
  7. It’s time that the scholarship and fellowship be directed also to secondary school teachers rather than to university teachers only.
  8. The teacher certification program required in the Bill of Teachers and Lecturers (UU Guru dan Dosen) should be given to the valid and qualified institution to carry out the certification.

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One response to “Reviewing School-Based Curriculum to Succeed the 2013 Curriculum

  1. amazingggggg

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