Why do teacher professional standards fail to improve novice teacher learning during induction programs? Lessons from the Indonesian context

Year: 2021

Author: Tatik, Tatik

Type of paper: Individual Paper

Along with the movement towards standards-based reform, there have been efforts to use teacher professional standards in novice teacher induction programs. This is part of a broader educational trend in teacher preparation, licensing, certification, evaluation, and ongoing professional development. In Indonesia, policy makers consider the use of standards in induction programs to be a step towards better teacher management and teaching quality assurance. The standards are used as criteria to assist and assess teachers. However, critical questions have been raised about the impact of the use of such a mechanism on novice teacher quality. The first concern is related to the real motivating factor for assessing the quality of teaching. The other concern is that standards may increase the pressure on them and problematise their learning. Given the contested nature of the standards and novice teachers’ role in directing their own learning process, my research was designed to capture the complex process of novice teacher learning in standards-based induction programs and their impact on novice teachers’ experiences and learning.  A focus on novice teachers’ experiences can generate new insights into various aspects of standards-based induction policy and contribute to the evidence base on the use of standards to improve teacher quality. A qualitative, multiple case study design was employed to explore the implementation of induction programs in three schools in Indonesia. The results of data analysis using third generation activity theory identified some of the challenges experienced by the novice teachers. The potential for standards to improve teacher quality cannot easily be actualised in the Indonesian context, where they conflicted with local managerial practices, cultural factors, and religious values. The findings indicate that the confusion resulting from different values and purposes, and lack of awareness of the roles of local government and school providers, led to the risk that policy-related demands would be implemented in ways that diminished, rather than enhanced, novice teachers’ learning. The findings contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of Teacher Professional Standards on novice teachers’ learning. They also provide a useful extension to Western literature in relation to the interaction between standards and contextual factors and their impact on novice teachers’ learning.