March 20, 2008

What's Goin On The International Program?

I don't know where I should put at this question. Is it for the government? Is it for the principals? Or for the students themselves? But I know for sure that the question ain't for teachers who teach any international classes. Nowadays the Indonesian government c.q. national education department has been releasing a prestige program called national schools with international standard.

One of those schools is SMA Plus Negeri 17 Palembang where I've been teaching. At first time the school components heard this news, they were surprised and so proud that the government sufficiently could accept some good schools with good human resources by giving them a special name of the school. For me personally, it doesn't influence me at all in my work but by having such title I know I must work harder, much harder to keep having such prestige title. As I was one of teachers only, I thought I just could teach and transfer lessons for my students as well as before everything changed because I'd done the best of me in my work.

What Is It Exactly?

Well, not easy to explain it much because I've never been one of international teachers committees but I'll try to tell you what I've known from any meetings and papers which they offered me. National schools with international standard will adopt and use any international curriculum, such as O-level, IGCSE, AS-level and A-level. They actually have no different with any national curriculum for SMA but the differences are only when and how deep the subjects will be learned. For the first international standard schools, there are only 5 subjects will be taught, are English, Math, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. So they are only which will be tested, based on those international programs.

There's a little bit different to learn natural sciences here in Indonesia compared with other countries. Indonesian students may be 'expert' in theory but not in laboratory as it's what an international curriculum wants. My X grade students just had had one laboratory experiment in one semester (about 6 months)! It ain't because I'm too lazy to prepare any laboratory tools but for some other reasons. Our school has one person to help any chemistry teachers to do any experiments for their classes. But this one ain't a chemistry graduated person. She graduated from an IT academia and also teaches IT subject in our school. She may be able to learn chemistry tools or help chemistry teachers to keep cleaning the laboratory but she for sure will be so slow to learn chemistry as a subject. She can do nothing to make any solutions which will be needed in any chemistry experiments.

Actually I teach 3 classes only as I've been taking a higher education in chemical engineering master program. Because I must go to study on Monday till Thursday and teach on Friday-Saturday only, so I have classes in all of the time of school days. Can you imagine how I must prepare anything before asking students to do an experiment at laboratory? Will I have time? Well, of course if the laboratory would be opened for about 24 hours so I might prepare them all when others were taking rest!

When two friends and I attended a CIE workshop 2 years ago we had talked that there's no other way to run the program better but worked harder. One friend said, 'We've worked harder than any other teachers in other schools but now it's not enough. We must give the hardest effort of us.' I agreed with him.

But today it seems that it stops working. All efforts which we'd done long time ago looking meaningless now. The last meeting where I'd attended with some other teachers of international classes and facilitators, looked funny for me. Because the top leaders and also the front desk of facilitators said that we wouldn't work with CIE curriculum but we would teach international classes by using national curriculum and there's no any guarantee for students to take an international certificate. We at least just would try to develop international characters among teachers and students, and would flow an international atmosphere around classes. I'd tried to explain that it wouldn't work. It's impossible to have twenties students to join a new international class and pay more but they will get nothing. They can't improve their English ability because their teachers shouldn't speak English fully in class to decrease misunderstanding between students and the teacher. English can be used regularly but not fully. But later in any examinations, the teachers were asked to write their questions in English. No wonder then why most international students cant answer their examination well because of the language. What poor students!

What Should We Do?

  • The most important thing of all is a commitment! Good commitments from the principal, students, their parents, teachers, and facilitators. We may list the government out because of the school autonomy which we've hold on.
  • The school should have a fixed program and spread it to all school components. The first year it will be among international students and teachers only but later it should be the school atmosphere.
  • The school should prepare all things of international program needs such as the completed laboratories, human resources, the class room needs and so on.
  • The schools c.q the frontman of the international program, should contact CIE to sign any agreement and soon they will tell us what we should do and how to run the program. Asking the expert will be much better than working alone in the dark forest.
  • Teachers should take any English course to improve their English ability while they keep teaching. The TOEFL or TOEIC tests or scores had been run and they showed where the teachers should be. I won't talk about that kinda tests not because I don't take any yet, but there's no any other way to teach your subject in English except you yourself understand English well. It may look too late but at least we'll show our hard work.
  • International students should speak English in the 5 subjects' times. Once they don't know the word, they'll ask other students or the teacher and it will be easier for them to remember the word and its meaning. The key of English disable is too lazy to check a dictionary.
  • The school management should be opened with the teachers and students about the program. Hiding it all won't help at all. The students may take their due, their parents may ask where their kids will go further, and the teachers can know what they possible do to develop their teaching skills. The school should let these components to help their work because the result is for all components, not just for the school management. Having some opinions from some heads is much better than one opinion from one head.
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    7 Comments:

    Blogger wyd said...

    I've challenging my international students to give their comment.
    let's see if anyone could run his/her words here....

    March 28, 2008  
    Blogger mine.... said...

    Hello mom...
    I am one of your students. I came from english class, but now i am not in english again.
    I agree with your words. I think english class should have good facilities and Teachers too. I mean that all teachers who teach this class must be able speak english well and also have a good TOEFL.
    We can see another countries, like Singapore, malaysia, etc. They have used english in their daily activities.How about Indonesia?I think we can , if we want.
    International class is one of the best ways to improve our english. But, how about International class in our country?
    I think, we can get the answer by looking our heart...
    I think that's all, thanks for the chance...
    Good luck...Faiz...IPA 4....

    March 30, 2008  
    Blogger wyd said...

    seems hard enough to run what you said.
    why don't we take what we've already had?
    teachers might not have good english (mine is the worst i guess) but they wanna give the best at least.
    why don't younger genres come with that way?

    March 30, 2008  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Assalamulaikum wr wb...

    I think our school have good facilities, teachers, and others...
    So, in my opinion, our school can be a good international school...
    Let's do the best.....
    Thank you...
    Faiz...Ipa 4

    April 28, 2008  
    Blogger wyd said...

    yeah that's true....

    but sometimes not all of elements wanna give the best of their work.

    we can start from ourselves, at least, dont need to wait for others to start.

    May 03, 2008  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    assalamualaikum wr wb

    mom how are you...?
    do you still remember me...?
    i am faiz,,,your student, but now i am not student of sman 17 palembang again....
    Now, i am student of dentistry faculty of Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta...

    How are you,mom...?
    i miss you so much...

    How about our school now..?
    anD HOW ABOUT international class in sman 17 palembang,,,?

    here i study chemistry again, because all the students in the first year must take this study...

    oh my God,,,may be chemistry in university is more complex,,, but i try to give the best...

    Mom, i want to ask something,, do you know chemistry book that written by James Bredy?

    I use the book now,,,he he he
    I think this book is very good...
    and there are so many science that i can get from this book....

    ok mom, i think that's all,,, you are the best teacher for me.....

    Many things that i get here...
    Especially when i am far from my parents...

    I must be more discipline than before...
    I will try to give the best for all...
    i need your pray, mom

    Thank you

    Wassalamualaikum wr wb

    November 13, 2008  
    Blogger wyd said...

    hey i used brady as one of resources for our chemistry module.

    but yes it's a very good book.

    our principal said that we would run international program by school. but i honestly cant see that running here. just lets see lah....

    take care
    miss u and love u, kid

    November 13, 2008  

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