By: T. Nugroho Angkasa
The government has changed the national curriculum in this new academic year (2013-2014). The main reason because of the KTSP (Kurikulum Tingkat Satuan Pendidikan or Curriculum Education Unit) was considered too much for the students. In this context, I cannot agree more with the opinion of Prof. Dr. Djamaludin Ancok, “If it is too many materials, we just should revise the Curriculum Education Unit or KTSP. Therefore, we do not need to change the entire curriculum.”
Moreover, in my humble opinion the education curriculum relies on the teachers’ quality. Since the teachers are the main actors in the nation education transformation. Even after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed and destroyed in World War II, the Emperor of Japan spontaneously asked, “How many teachers we have left?” It means that the progress of a nation is in line with the quality of teachers in the education sector (Anand Krishna, 2008).
Ironically, IKIP (Institut Keguruan dan Ilmu Pendidikan or Teachers’ Training College) for the teacher candidates has been closed. In 2013 it has been 24 years of the elimination of SPG (Sekolah Pendidikan Guru or Teachers’ Education School) and 17 years after IKIP was changed into merely common university.
According to Darmaningtyas, an education activist from Taman Siswa, the SPG and PGSD (Pendidikan Guru Sekolah Dasar or Teacher Education for Elementary School ) closures was the insistence of the World Bank since the World Bank considered that the alumni of Teachers’ Education School and the Teachers’ Training College were not having good teaching skills and lack of the mastery in basic science locus.
Therefore, related to the changed of the national, the government must conduct an intense training for more than 7 million teachers who are educating our future generations from Sabang to Merauke in Indonesia. By holding a training course, so the educators are able to effectively teach in their respective subject areas.
In the next two decades as a result, the ability of cognitive, affective, and psychomotor of the students can develop more optimal. It is in line with the thesis of William W, “Mediocre teacher is teaching. Superior teacher demonstrates his/her superior authority. Good teacher explains a complicated lesson in a simple way. Great teacher inspires!”
The next important question is how to inspire the students in the class? I will answer with a story. Johnny is a guy with a mental disability. Nevertheless, he continues to work at one of the supermarket at the rural area in United States. Diligently he put the grocery items of customers in the recycled bag. He stands right behind the cashier spot.
His perseverance, honesty, and warm friendliness bring admiration within the customers. As a result, the supermarket is always full of shoppers. Why the customers are so interested? While he put the grocery items of customers in the recycled bag, Johnny also put in a piece of colorful paper mentioning some inspirational words.
He writes those inspirational words at home. Then, he brings the colorful papers while he is in duty. Gradually, the customers feel there is something within that inspires them after shopping at the supermarket. Johnny managed to share the spirit and carve unforgettable memories to the customers.
Indeed, the simple example above caused a significant impact. Therefore I apply also after learning English in extracurricular lesson at the Canisius Sleman, Yogyakarta Junior High School (JHS) every Saturday. There is always a closing aphorism after the lessons are ended. For example, the words of wisdom from Plato (427-347 BC), “Be kind, because everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Then the students perceive it together.
Interestingly, at a time there was one of the students suggested a brilliant idea, “Sir, how if at every traffic light stops was fitted with some aphorisms too?” As a result, the public spaces are not just filled with some ads and – borrowing a phrase from Sumbo Tinarbuko – visual garbage, but also exhibiting the values of life virtue.
I am amazed with my student’s idea, but of course the authority that has the capability to impose it. At least, we can begin to put the inspirational words in the classroom. It is in line with the opinion of Aesop, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”.
From Beta to Alpha
According to research of Hans Berger in 1924, human brain waves can be used to detect the brain hemorrhage such as mental disorders, epilepsy, stroke, and even brain cancer. That famous German neurologist jotted down the wave of the human brain in a piece of paper.
He was using radio equipment to amplify the electrical impulse of a million nerve cells in human brain. It was such a device is the forerunner of EEG or Electro Encephalo Graph (Munif Chatib, 2013).
The finding is beneficial especially related with the learning process in the classroom. In delta state (0.5 to 3.5 Hz) is not a perfect time to learn since it is during a sleep period without dreams. There is no way of a teacher to teach in front of the disciples who were asleep, isn’t it?
Next, theta waves (3.5-7 Hz) is a condition of sleeping and dreaming. In this period, a bedtime short story finds its relevance and significance. According to Taufiq Pasiak, fairy tales presented in an interesting and undoubtedly sincere way will be memorized by the children until they are growing up since the fairy tales became the first memory that is downloaded by the unconscious mind when the our beloved baby started to sleep.
The question is when the right time to learn? It is in the alpha waves (7-13 Hz) since in this condition the student can be relaxed and alert at the same time. Their nerve cells in the brain are in a state of harmony, meaning that the electrical impulses are firing simultaneously (compact) as well at the rest time (relaxation).
Last but not least, beta waves (13-25 Hz) are happened when the road conditions are so crowded. It can arise anger, annoyance, and stress and so on. This is reflected by the phenomenon of children who speak for themselves, obstreperous, reluctant to listen, running around in the classroom, and showing a hostile facial expression. If we are the teacher insist to continue the learning process, it is certainly in vain.
Therefore, what’s the solution? Restore from the beta brainwaves into alpha condition. We can do this by providing some additional stimulus such as ice breaking activity, game, singing, fun storytelling, music, brain gym, magic show, etc.
Finally, what is the indicator that our beloved students are ready to learn again? When they show a happy face with two beautiful sparkling eyes, their lips curving the sweetest smile, and even they are laughing cheerfully. This is the right time to continue the learning process. Happy teaching!
Footnote: This opinion article has been submitted by the author to ASPENSI e-mail address at: [email protected] on Tuesday, 6th August 2013.
The author, T. Nugroho Angkasa S.Pd., is an English Private Teacher in Yogyakarta and Contributing Author in Indonesian Online Education Magazine at: http://mjeducation.co/