18 Feb 2016

The Physical, Cultural and Socio-economic Contexts of Educational Innovation in Rural and Disadvantaged Schools in Indonesia: A Case Study

Santri Emilin Pingsaboi Djahimo, July 2010
Macquarie University

Abstract
This field research was conducted in three different rural areas in the province of East Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia. One randomly chosen eighth-grade class in each of three schools was studied for two months, with the whole study spanning six months during the year of 2008.

The main purpose of the study was to examine the constraints in introducing new teaching methods into rural and disadvantaged schools in Indonesia,  taking into account the physical, cultural and socio-economic contexts. Additionally, it sought to assess teachers’ and students’ attitudes towards English teaching and learning in these specific contexts, to examine the sustainability of innovation in these specific contexts and to explore the potential for continued professional development for teachers in similar contexts. The exemplificatory and exploratory purpose was to identify the effectiveness of the innovation of teaching English using games and pictures in improving vocabulary acquisition of EFL students of Junior High Schools in rural areas in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. These aims were achieved by defining the pre-innovation stage of the teaching-learning situation in the schools, describing how the educational innovation (teaching English using games and pictures) was carried out in the classroom, and explaining the effects of the innovation on students’ achievement.

This mixed method study employed a combination of qualitative and quantitative designs. The qualitative data were collected through two interviews (pre- and post-treatment), direct observation and field notes. Quantitative data were analyzed to calculate the average of the results of pre-test and post-test of the students in order to gauge the effects of the innovation. However, the main interpretation of the study is explained qualitatively by: identifying the  constraints and affordability of introducing new teaching methods into rural and disadvantaged schools in Indonesia, taking into account the physical, cultural and socio-economic contexts; examining the attitudes of both teachers and students towards English  teaching and learning in these specific contexts; exploring the sustainability of  innovation in these specific contexts; and highlighting the potential for continued professional development for teachers in similar contexts.

The result shows that introducing educational innovations in rural areas is viable as long as it is easily achieved and fits in with local expectations. However, not all schools in all areas can accept innovation; one school in the study rejected this educational innovation because of the community’s strict cultural values. Teachers are interested in this new teaching method but are disappointed at the lack of in-service training. This study had clearly focused aims and was conducted only for a short period of time. Therefore the sustainability of this innovation cannot be assured as some  aspects of the longer term issues were beyond the scope of the study.

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