NOWADAYS, teachers face challenges they had never faced before. It is not enough for them to impart a body of knowledge to students as they have done in the past. It is now essential to give students the skills which enable them to survive in real life. These skills are known as life skills.
In Tanjungbalai, the efforts to spread Contextual Teaching and Learning is continuing. One of the ways is through training entitled Pengajaran Profesional dan Pembelajaran Bermakna (usually known as Better Teaching and Learning 2 - BTL2).
For several days 189 training participants – consisting of principals, teachers and tutors, were trained to use the BTL2 module. Besides that, they also had opportunities to practice teaching. This was done to give participants the opportunity to implement the theories they had been learning.
Some interesting and positive things occurred during the practice teaching, including the following:
First: Participants were able to design lessons integrating aspects of life skills development into their teaching.
Second, The students in the classes used for the teaching practice were actively involved in working on the challenging tasks given to them by the teacher. They enjoyed the tasks they were given and the questions they were asked and they were actively involved in thinking and discussing to find solutions to the problems they were given
District Facilitator in Tanjungbalai
Third, The written feedback from the students reflected their enjoyment in completing their tasks. They felt motivated and challenged to be more active and creative in learning.
From the points above, there are three things that I would like to recommend:
First:, Students should be exposed to contextual, challenging and varied tasks to develop their life skills.
Second:, Formal education institutions including Education Offices (Dinas Pendidikan) and schools and other orgainzations such as DBE3 should continue to support and guide teachers in developing their skills and commitment in integrating life skills into their teaching.
Third:, School Principals have to be able to give guidance, support and encouragement to help teachers implement contextual learning and develop students’ life skills in our country’s next generation.
Two participants in the BTL2 training in Tanjungbalali having serious discussions while preparing their lesson plans