Teacher Professional Development in Papua, Indonesia

Year: 2015

Author: Donnison, Sharn, Christie, Michael

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In this paper we report on research carried out as part of a large scale project funded by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) through the Government Partnerships for Development (GPFD) funding stream. This ongoing project is aimed at increasing the education capacity of early childhood teachers, primary school teachers, principals and teacher educators in Papua, Indonesia and is a partnership project with Australian Aid, the Papuan Provincial Government and the University of the Sunshine Coast. Our contribution to the project focusses on the professional development of primary school teachers and was undertaken in Jayapura, Papua province on two separate occasions. In the first 12 day workshop we provided master coach training to 40 Papuan senior primary school teachers who then assisted with the second 10 day workshop that provided professional development in curriculum design and implementation, pedagogy, assessment and resource development for 100 primary teachers at different stages of their careers.
We have used a modified form of the Most Significant Change (MSC) methodology to determine to what extent the professional development program helped change the Papuan primary teachers’ educational knowledge and skills and their attitudes towards their teaching and their professional roles. Unlike other methodologies used in educational development projects MSC endeavors to capture what the recipients think have been the most significant results of the project. Captured in the form of stories, participants identify why, when and how they have changed in their professional attitudes, thoughts and actions. The project participants filled out pre and post surveys, kept daily reflections and participated in focus groups where they shared insights about the value and appropriateness of the professional development that they had received. For this paper we have concentrated on the stories evidenced in the daily reflections. At a later stage of the overall project we will also analyze the significant stories that have emerged from the pre and post surveys and the focus groups. Analysis of the daily reflection data revealed that a clear majority of the participants felt that they had strengthened their capacity and competence to teach in what is, often, a very demanding situation.