Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Positive Teachers’ Camp Batch III


Initiatives of Change (IofC) Indonesia supported the Positive Teachers’ Camp Batch III organized by GCI (Generasi Cerdas Indonesia). This camp was attended by teachers of SMA Negeri 28 Jakarta. It was conducted on 29 – 30 June 2018 in Bogor. The theme of this two-day camp was Leadership and Communication. Ramadhona, co-founder of GCI warmly welcomed all teachers and school staff. “It is an honor for us to collaborate with SMA Negeri 28 Jakarta.” Through this camp, the participants learnt and discussed about character, critics, communication, collaboration, creativity, and literacy. We hope that each of us were inspired and received insights to be the real educators. After the opening ceremony, we had ice-breaking and were divided into groups.

Irna Yugaswatie, one of the facilitators, led a session about active listening. Active listening is one of the most important skills we should have. We can learn to develop our communication skills in order to interact with our students well. During this session, the participants practiced listening to another participant’s sharing without interrupting. They learnt to understand of listening. As a teacher, we learn to listen with the intention to understand. We can express our care to our students by listening because being listened to is so close to being cared for.

Teguh Khaerudin, a lecturer of UIN Jakarta led the session on Reflective Thinking in Leadership. We started the session by filling in a K-W-L chart: What I know, What I want to know, and What I learnt. The participants were asked to fill in the form about what they know about reflection, what they want to know about reflection in this camp, and after the session they filled in the form of what they would finally learn about reflection. Just as it happened during the first and the second teachers’ camp, a question was raised to interpret a quote which said that experience is the best teacher. John Dewey, an American philosopher, said we do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience. Having lots of experiences does not always make us wiser, however reflecting on the experiences will give us lessons. A teacher experiences different things from each class that he or she teaches and, through these experiences, a teacher can strengthen his or her capacity and improve teaching ability. Reflection can be applied through self-reflection and also by sharing with other colleagues.

Khairul Umam, one of the facilitators, led the session on Inner Reflection. In many moments of our lives we face challenges and problems. Through inner reflection, we learn to listen to our inner voice. God gave us two ears and one mouth, we should listen twice as much as we speak. We can do inner reflection/ quiet time session by looking up (connection), looking in (correction), and looking out (direction). Writing down our thoughts will also help us.

In the evening, we continued the session on Inner Reflection. It was about Unpacking Silence Experience and Life Story Sharing. During this session, the participants were guided to have inner reflection. In the moment of inner reflection, we learn to listen quietly to our inner voice. Great things have their origin in silence. “Inner reflection plays an essential role in bringing more awareness to practicing gratitude.” The participants were given space to have a quiet time with the inputs: What kind of teacher/staff are you?; What kind of teacher/ staff do you want to be?; What do you need to change to be that kind of teacher/ staff? One teacher shared, “I want to be an inspired teacher and I still encourage myself to learn more about development of technology.” A staff member shared, “I keep trying to work sincerely and have integrity.” Another teacher said, “I want to be a role model to my students and create a good environment during my class.”

On the second day, we started with morning reflection. Ramadhona shared about his life experience on how he found his life’s passion and a career he loved. “I used to work in a multinational company which focuses on development of educational technology. I enjoyed my career and earned more than enough. Once I attended a seminar that gave me highlights about finding my passion and what steps I had to take in doing my passions. I found that I wanted to fully follow my passion. I finally decided to resign from the company and so did my wife who worked at the same company. With the power of prayer and hard work, we built our educational company, GCI (Generasi Cerdas Indonesia). It has been 4 years, we face many challenges but we are so grateful that more and more schools cooperate with GCI.” Afterwards, we had a quiet time session and today’s quiet time inputs were: (1) How do I live my life as a teacher?; (2) How do I inspire my students? One teacher said, “I not only want to encourage my students to learn but also to inspire them to be better persons.” We, then had team building activities. The outdoor activity was aimed at building an awareness of team spirit and cooperation.


Wendi Wijarwadi, an auditor in a government office, led a session about Conflict Management in an Organization.  Conflicts cannot be avoided, but it is possible to overcome and manage them. We were divided into groups and shared about internal conflicts at school. Blake and Mouton (1964) identified five modes of handling conflict: forcing, withdrawing, smoothing, compromising, and problem solving.

We were divided into two groups in the next session during which teachers discussed Creative Problem Solving while school staff talked about playing important roles in school. Tanenji, a lecturer at UIN Jakarta, led a session about Creative Problem Solving. The participants were divided into groups and each group discussed questions that they wanted to ask and other groups would think of questions from other groups. This session emphasized having discussions and that the importance of discussion is to listen to other points of view. Through discussions, the participants shared their thoughts on how to be an inspiring teacher and listened to others sharing their thoughts. In the end, each group presented the conclusions they made. During the presentation, the participants delivered the presentation by implementing 3 elements of communication which were identified by Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology from UCLA: (1) 55% Visual (body languages, including facial expressions), (2) 7% Verbal (the words themselves), and (3) 38% Vocal (tone of voice).  Tanenji also asked the participants to reflect on how we can play our part in creating a good Indonesian society.

Wendi Wijarwadi facilitated the session for school staff. They were given space to share about their experiences as school staff, what went well and what needs to be improved at school. They discussed ways to provide excellent services to teachers and students in order to improve the quality of education. It was so interesting and meaningful that the participants could openly share, discuss, and figure out solutions together.

To end the camp, we had a session on decision making and goal setting. During this session, the highlights of the camp were reviewed in order to reflect on what had happened. All participants were encouraged to have self-reflection on the questions: What can I do in accordance to my competence as a teacher or school staff? Self-reflection guides us to have a moment of silence, to practice introspection, and to think about the next steps to be taken.  The quote was from Stephen Covey; being proactive means taking initiatives. As Tanenji stated in his session, “We do not have the authority to change the education system but we can create our own teaching methods in order to approach the students and to create a comfortable learning environment”.

In the closing session, Ramadhona delivered his closing speech and hoped to build further partnership with SMA Negeri 28 Jakarta. The participants were encouraged to apply in their school what they had learnt during the camp, such as having inner reflection with other colleagues and students at school. We were grateful for this two-day camp and appreciated all the committee for their work, cooperation, and cheerfulness. 


Reported by Yofrina Octika Gultom