A. Background of Study
Education is an effort which is done by people to develop their self-competence through a process of learning. Ernst von Glasersfeld, the "father" of constructivism (in www.englishfirst.com) believes that education has two main purposes : to empower learners to think for themselves, and to promote in the next generation ways of thinking and acting that are deemed important by the present generation. Empowering the learner means that teachers should relinquish some of their power and hand it over to the learner. As mentioned in Undang-Undang Dasar Republik Indonesia Section 31 (1) every citizen has the rights for education, the government gives the same chances for all citizens to get education no matter whether they are rich or poor. This regulation shows that our government does admit the importance of education for their people.
The quality of human resource of a nation is easily judged by the number of literate population living in it. It means that education is a must if a nation aims at achieving growth and development. This may explain the fact that rich and developed nations of the world have very high literacy rate and productive human resource. Realizing the importance of quality education, the government has been doing many steps to develop the education in Indonesia.
The steps include the massive funding of education, the improvement of education qualification, educator competence and certification as well the increase of human resources in education. Among other steps were the application of information communication, and technology (ICT) for e-learning and e-administration programs, the development and reconstruction of education facilities and the substantial reform in textbook supplies for school children.
The government allocated Rp 11,5 trillion for five programs of education in 2007. They are school operational fund (Bantuan Operasional Sekolah/BOS), textbook procurement aid, student special assistance, quality management operational fund and scholarship programs. Since 2005, the ministry of education has applied an ICT-based library network system in 10 state universities and conducted ICT-based learning in 125 senior high schools in 125 regencies across the country. The development of school facilities is also considered to be part of the ministry's breakthroughs. This covers building new schools, state universities, classrooms, libraries and laboratories.
Education facility is not the only education aspect that the government concern with. Since all aspects of education determine the quality of education, teacher, as one of the important components of education, has a vital position in society. Teacher is one of the main pillars of a sound and progressive society. They bear the weight and responsibility of teaching, and, apart from parents, are the main source of knowledge and values for children. He acts as a pivot for the transmission of intellectual traditions and technical skills from generation to generation. He is also being recognized as the most vital factoring any educational system. He is the key of quality education and the foster parent of the child. Child looks up to him for knowledge, wisdom, manners, morals inspiration, enlightenment, and so on.
A teacher performs many functions in the classroom for the comprehensive development of the students. Teacher keeps the students safe, decides what is important for the students to learn, presents a rich and organized body of information to students, protects and improves the students' self-esteem, provides an environment for the students to explore a variety of experiences, helps students to use technology-related tools to accomplish certain tasks, makes sure that the students are prepared for the next level of education, loves and nurtures the students.
Teacher can influence his students since students believe him as a trusted source of knowledge. If a teacher is incompetent and the students follow him, they will grow up with a 'wrong' understanding about certain knowledge. There are many cases a student comes home with a wrong understanding and when parents are trying to correct it, they will say "But my teacher said so. My teacher can't be wrong". Therefore, the competence of teachers should be improved.
It is mentioned in the first chapter Of Act of the Republic of Indonesia Number 20, Year 2003 On National Education System with the One and Only God's Mercy President of the Republic of Indonesia that educators mean teaching staffs who have the qualification to be teachers, lecturers, counselors, learning guides (pamong belajar), senior instructors (w idyais-wara), tutors, instructors, facilitators, and other titles in accordance with their specialization, and who participate in the provision of education. Laurence D. Hazkew and Jonathan C. Me Lenon in Hamzah B. Uno (2007 : 15) say that a teacher is a professional person who conducts classes. Still in Hamzah B. Uno (2007 : 15), Jean D. Grambs and C. Morris Me. Clare define teachers as persons who consciously direct the experiences and behavior of an individual so that education takes place. By the definition above, it can be synthesized that a teacher is a professional person and therefore, they are expected to have professional competence.
A teacher, as a professional educator, should fulfill 3 requirements : (1) having academic qualification, (2) having competency, (3) having teacher certificate (Diknas, 2006 : 4). The competency of teacher can be classified into four areas of competency, namely : pedagogical, personal, professional, and social competency. In brief, each competency encompasses the following : (1) the pedagogical competency is a teacher's ability to manage students' learning which includes lesson plan, learning evaluation, and students' potency actualization (2) the personal competency includes demonstrating certain characteristics, such as faith and devoutness, stability, maturity, sensibility, etc. Teacher should be critical and skeptical in doing his duty to deliver his lesson (3) the social competency is teachers' ability to be part of the community such as communicating and socializing effectively with students, fellow teachers, teaching staff, and students' parents. (4) The professional competency is teachers' ability to master science, engineering, and/or art (in other words, content or subject knowledge).
As a part of efforts to enhance the academic qualification and competence of teachers, the ministry of education provided scholarships to 170,000 teachers to attain their university diplomas in 2007. Every scholarship recipient was allotted Rp 2 million per year. A total of 12,065 lecturers were also granted scholarships to finish their master and doctoral degrees. This program cost the government Rp 236.6 billion in 2007.
Another program which is set by the government in order to enhance the competency of teacher is the teacher certification program. Teacher certification is a process of giving an educator certificate to teachers who have fulfilled the requirements (Samani et al, 2008 : 1). The goals of this program are : (1) to determine the qualification of a teacher in doing his duty as a professional educator, (2) to enhance the process and result of teaching and learning, (3) to increase the welfare of teachers, (4) to raise teacher's prestige; in the effort of creating a qualified national education.
Teachers who have been certified will get profession subsidy as big as their main salary. It is expected that this policy will encourage teachers to work professionally and improve their teaching quality so that the goal of education can be reached. This program began in 2007 and was aimed at ensuring that state teachers have pedagogic, professional, social and personal competence. It is also being applied to 210,600 contract teachers as the government plans to appoint all of them as civil servants by 2008 at the latest.
The teacher certification program is based on the Act of the Republic Indonesia number 14/2005 on Teacher and Lecturer, the Act of the Republic Indonesia number 20/2003 on National Education System, and the regulation of National Education Minister Number 18/ 2007 about teacher certification. Government believes that this program is the right medicine for the poor quality and payment of education. Launched in 2006, the program is aimed at certifying 2.7 million state and private school teachers in 2015.
Nowadays, many teachers have been certified, either by portfolio assessment or by attending teacher training. By passing this program, it is believed that they have good capabilities in teaching their students. It is proved by the documents they submit and teaching assessment by the evaluator. Certified teachers are believed to perform better than teachers who have not been certified. People assume that they have enough competencies in teaching. Educators, policy makers, media, and public equate teacher quality with teacher certification.
In fact, many teachers do not follow the process of teacher certification program fairly. There are some cases of deceit done by the teacher certification program participants. Take as an example, a few months ago there was a teacher who was excluded from the certification process by the evaluator because he was found copying other's scientific writing in order to fulfill the teacher certification requirements. It is only one example of many deceits found during the teacher certification program.
The other case is that teachers perform their best only during the program but not after it. Teachers have high motivation to arrange lesson plans and attend any seminars related to their major. The problem is that they do these activities not because they want to enhance their quality of teaching but because they want to pass the certification program and get the profession subsidy. Much skepticism appears from different people related to the teacher certification program. The validity of teacher certification program is being questioned. They are not sure whether teachers who have passed the teacher certification program are really professional teachers, teachers who are eligible to teach. Many assumptions state that teacher certification program is only a waste of time and money since teachers are only interested in the high salary without any quality improvement.
Teacher certification is like a candle in the dark for teachers since it offers a raise of profession subsidy for teachers. On the other hand, government hopes that by the process of teacher certification, teachers will be encouraged to improve their quality in teaching, not only during the process of certification but also after the process. Many teachers have high motivation to give their best performance during the teacher certification program. But, whether they keep their best performance after the process is the question that the researcher also deals with. In this research, the researcher is interested to find out the extent of teacher certification affects the quality of English teaching and learning process.
Since the main purpose of teacher certification program is to enhance the professionalism of teachers, certified teachers should be teachers who are professional and vice versa. However, there have been many rumors saying that certified teachers do not always lead to professionalism. These rumors may come arise because the phenomenon showing that teachers do not make lesson plan, use various method in teaching, make use of media, or arrange a good evaluation mechanism. Therefore the researcher is interested to conduct the study in SMAN X. The researcher chooses SMA N X as the object of the study because it represents the requirement for conducting the research since all of the English teachers in SMA X have been certified. The writer is eager to find out the extent of teacher certification affects the quality of English teaching and learning process in SMA N X.
B. Formulation of the Problem
In harmony with the background of the study exposed, the problem of this study is formulated as follow :
To what extent does teacher certification affect the quality of English teaching and learning process at SMA N X?
C. The Objective of the Study
Based on the formulation of the problem, this research is aimed at identifying to what extent the teacher certification can effectively affect the English teaching and learning process.
D. The Benefits of the Research
This research is mainly intended to find out the extent of teacher certification affect the quality of English teaching and learning process. It will be fruitful not only for the certified teachers but also the uncertified teachers and the government. The result of the research is expected to be able to give some advantages classified as follows.
For the researcher, this research is expected to give a good understanding about teacher certification and its effects on the English teaching and learning process. The results of the research are expected to be significant considerations in enhancing the quality of English teaching and learning process. In addition, this study also sharpens the inquiry of the researcher in doing research.
For the teachers, this research will provide them some basic information about teacher certification program. This research will provide information for the teachers about the teacher certification mechanism and what should be done as further implications of teacher certification. With this in mind, it is expected that teachers who have been certified can teach their students better than before and develop themselves in order to perform their best in the classroom. And for the teachers who have not been certified, it is hoped that by reading the result of this study, they will understand how they should attend the teacher certification program and what they should do after the program. This study is also hoped to give motivation for the uncertified teachers to always improve their competencies.
For the government, this research provides some authentic data about teacher certification program and its effect on the quality of English teaching and learning process. The data include the teachers' lesson plan, result of interview with the teachers, and the result of classroom observation. Therefore, it is hoped that the government can take the result of this research into consideration for the betterment of teacher certification program and the development of teacher professionalism.