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UNY Develops the USAID PRIORITAS Program

UNY Develops the USAID PRIORITAS Program
Trainee teachers demonstrate literacy media they have made to stimulate the interest of primary school students to learn to read.

YOGYAKARTA – USAID PRIORITAS, Yogyakarta State University (UNY), and several Teacher Training Institutes (TTIs), have worked together since 2013. The cooperation has been in the form of developing training modules and resource books to enrich lecture courses, the training of lecturers and teachers in the partner schools of TTIs, and the development of teaching practicums (PPL) and other programs. Here are the programs implemented and developed by USAID PRIORITAS at UNY.


1. Creation of New Courses: Literacy for Early Grade Classes and School Based Management

"After we reviewed the curriculum, prepared competency standards, and analyzed subjects taught in 2014, we began to include literacy courses and School Based Management as elective courses," said Supartinah MHum, a lecturer at UNY.

Lectures on literacy in early grade classes are given to the fifth semester students, and they aim to introduce the teaching of reading and writing in early grades, including teaching strategies, assessment, and teaching media. This course consists of two course credits, one for theory and the other practical work. The course was developed by adapting a USAID PRIORITAS training module and teaching materials for the lectures on literacy in early grades and based on research done with Florida State University.

The School Based Management (SBM) lecture course is also new and given to the fifth semester students. The course materials are adapted from USAID PRIORITAS training Modules 1, II, and III. The first Module covers the SBM and TAP (transparency, accountability, and participation) concept in school management. Modules II and III cover catering for individual differences in learning, supervision by school principals, literacy, and developing a reading culture. "There are three classes taking this elective course," said Agung Hastomo MPd, lecturer in SBM.

2. Active Learning and Literacy

Lecture courses using active learning have been conducted by all lecturers trained by USAID PRIORITAS. In Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Indonesian and English, as well as in the primary school teacher training department, lecturers have become used to delivering active lectures. "More than 75% of the lecturers who have received training, implement an active learning approach in their lecturing. This includes using discussion, variations in lecture methods, formative assessment, and making displays of work," said Esti Swatika Sari, an Indonesian Language lecturer at FBS. According to Esti, a lecture may include the students reading for 15 minutes; summarizing the reading material; and analyzing what they read. The students' work also stress the principles of literacy.

3. Research and Community Service on Literacy in Schools

To develop the trainee teachers’ reading habit, research on their literacy was held. This was a follow-up to the USAID PRIORITAS literacy module implementation in the TTIs. The literacy levels of the undergraduates was assessed and strategies to strengthen it were developed. Besides literacy research, lecturers implemented a community service training program with school teachers to make literacy activities in schools routine to encourage schools developing a reading culture suited to local circumstances.

4. Quality Teaching Practicums (PPL) for Under- and Post-Graduate Students

After training by USAID PRIORITAS for supervising lecturers and teacher tutors to improve the student teaching practicums quality, the Faculty of Languages and Arts disseminated to all supervising lecturers for both undergraduate and postgraduate students in 11 study programs, and for the teacher tutors of partner schools. The participants agreed to implement the practicum model they learned. This is due to the response from trainee teachers and schools who felt this was the right model. The university is drawing up a guide to effective student teacher practicums and planning to implement the program with all supervisory lecturers.

5. Integration of Cooperation with Partner Schools

Partner schools of TTIs have opened themselves up to develop models of good practice together. These range from the assignments for trainee teachers regarding media development, and active learning, to the development of a reading culture. Lecturers and teachers have been implementing active learning and collaborative research.  (Arz) 

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