DESIGNING A MATHEMATICS CURRICULUM
A decade of PMRI saw the changes in the classroom in some of the primary schools in Indonesia. PMRI stands for Pendidikan Matematika Realistik Indonesia or Indonesian Realistic Mathematics Education. We often refer to syllabus as an official document which describes what to teach in schools. We may refer to curriculum as the package of a syllabus together with the implementation tools such as textbooks and resource materials for teacher training. Then we can say that though the mathematics syllabus in Indonesia did not change, its curriculum has changed under the movement of PMRI. Naturally, the next topic of interest is the design of a mathematics curriculum encompassing PMRI.
Typically, there are two types of syllabuses. One is descriptive and another isprescriptive. By descriptive, we mean the syllabus is brief. It leaves a lot of room for teachers to interpret the syllabus. It could be due to the culture of the country that teaching is left to teachers to manage, and not to be dictated by those who designed the syllabus. Another type of syllabus is prescriptive sometimes to the extent that items to be excluded would be clearly stated in the syllabus. Teaching out of syllabus is not welcome by students and parents.
A curriculum is a good curriculum only when we have implemented it successfully. To be successful, it has to be considered in connection with teachers, students, and many other determining factors. We have included teacher factor and student profile.
During the Maths Reforms, it was a common practice to conduct workshops for in-service teachers. That seems to be the only way to train teachers to acquire new content knowledge within a short period of time. For every reform, we need new textbooks. The production of textbooks became another important component in the successful implementation of a syllabus.
The environment definitely affects student’s learning. Top of the list is learning habit or more precisely discipline. Hence it is important that we know our students and design a curriculum with students in mind. The new jobs require them to be a thinking person and an independent learner. Hence teaching mathematics is not just teaching mathematics alone. It is also part of training for the work place. In order to be creative, one has to teach out of syllabus. In other words, teaching out of syllabus will soon become a norm and not an exception. Often student profile is not a top priority in designing a curriculum. Knowing the learning habit of our students is as important as selecting the topics to be included in a syllabus. In one sentence, we may wish to pay greater attention to the student profile while designing a curriculum.
When we review our syllabus, we look around among other countries and compare with them. Perhaps we should also look back in time. Find out what we have done right and what we have done wrong. In order to do that, we need good documentation of the past events. In other words, we must have institutional memory. Activity-based teaching of PMRI may have made in-roads into the classroom in10 Lee Peng Yee Indonesia. It will be the design of a locally-produced curriculum that will lead the movement of PMRI to become a main stream in the reform of mathematics teaching, in particular, and education, in general, in Indonesia.
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25 Oktober 2011 pukul 12:24 WIB
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