I know nothing about Philosophy. It is a world that I never visit. I just heard that Philosophy is a very delicate and difficult subject to learn, and I feel a bit afraid because of that.
When I entered the class to join the lecture this morning, what a shame! I came late. My mind had walked ahead, it told me that I would meet a man with white long beard, hold a thick book and wear spectacles as my lecturer. I was 100% wrong! My lecturer is not like that. He is a unique man, and all my imaginations about scared lesson vanish.
I include the word ‘unique’ to describe my lecturer, as he is unique, indeed. He said,”I will wait for 3 seconds to be asked, and if you fail to give me questions I will give you another 3 seconds.”
What he said knock my head to use teaching precious time to teach not to wait for uncertain thing. I look at myself as a teacher. When I teach, I give more than 2 minutes for my students to come with question(s). What I did all these years is called wasting time in purpose.
Besides unique, my lecture is also very smart. He is the only lecturer who said that it will be no UAS (Semester Final Test). I consider this as a blessing. No test! But he added,”you must submit 1 entry of assignment each and every week.” I postponed my happiness then.
I tried to find out why he made a very different MoU with the learners from other lecturers. Then I can conclude that he is really SMART person. My first reason is when a teacher begins his first lesson by making MoU such as inform the students the tolerate percentage of absence, the material for each meeting, what material should be read, and how the assignment should be made. Indirectly he sets the rules and shows how to manage the class, so that it will not only put the class in manageable level but also establish understanding amongst the learners.
The second one is that no test but entry a reflective journal for every meeting. It means that a new method for assessing students’ ability and potential will be applied.
Test is usually carried out to find out how far the learner had achieved the minimum target. When it is done through namely mid and final test, the result of both tests does not represent the real competency of the student because they do not check the consistency of pupils’ performance. The measurement focus on result not the process. Whereas the test itself is a process to collect information to determine the achievement of the learner (Permendiknas No. 20; 2007).
When the assessment is taken from the journals, it meets the requirement above. Through journal, teacher can follow and intervene to the improvement of students, take writing proficiency as the example. So the final test is not a must anymore, since journals that are submitted help teacher classify and place student in the right class performance.
Another reason is that he shifts the responsibility for learning from teacher to students. Through journals he shows that the central in education is the learner. He directed me to write what I experience in his class. He did not ask much, but the effect is huge to me. I am the one who never write, force to write, and must submit my writing. After years I did not read to learn; now I sit and try to read again. He said that he will give feedback to my writing by giving comments on COL aspects. This encourages self-directed learning, because the comments will help to minimize my errors in the future and maximize my clarity in my writing.
The last reason I propose is that every response journal I submit become my media to communicate with my lecturer. I am lack of access to native speaker for authentic communication especially in writing. Submitting journals and then read the comments on them are empowering the learner.
My first meeting with my lecturer means a lot to me. I even have an idea to do a research from his teaching. I wonder if writing journals help the SPs students in improving their writing ability. Improve means change. I would like to know the change of the first writing (entry 1) until the 16th writing after comments or feedbacks are given. But I do not know how to conduct research for non- test data, and I am also in doubt whether the writings can be borrowed to be studied.
Negotiations in the first meeting inspire my own teaching later. I must do this too in, so that I can successfully handle my excitable children in my class. I will have my students to define rules (MoU) on my first lesson and post all the MoUs in their note book. My students can access and read the MoU easily and I will stick to them. Stick in the sense of be consistent in applying the MoU. I do not need to give punishment to remind my students when they break the rule, but show the consequences for all good and bad behavior is another positive way to show consistency.
So far I have applied consistency for my students when they break the MoU. let say Miss A comes late more than 10 minutes. She may enter the class. As soon as she enters the class, the president of the class clap his hands 3 times and says, ‘stand up!’. (Clapping hands to attract attention that someting is happening). All the students including me-the teacher stand up. We directly clap hands 3 times. President of the class said,” the MoU no.4 states we must come on time, and it has been broken. Miss A, please ask for apologizes”. Then Miss A will ask for apologizes for breaking the MoU, then all of us sit down. In the 3 first meetings, I still have 2 or 3 students come late. But after I apply this, no one come late. They said that they do not want everyone stand up and state the rule they breaks.
What my lecture did this morning challenge me to manage and handle my class better. I must al least inform my students 3 things in the first meeting, they are: 1) what material they will get in a year, so I must give the the copy of silabus. 2) What kind of test I will give and how many times in a year I will do that. And 3) what basic competence that my students should have after studying a year with me.
I think I learn and inspire a lot from my first meeting this morning.