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90% of teachers disapproved of Minister Nadiem’s plan to implement "hybrid learning" permanently. Why?


Image Credit: https://www.edutopia.org/article/what-teachers-china-have-learned-past-month

On 2-3 July 2020, various online dailies, such as Kompas, Tribun News, Kontan, and Idonews, reported the plan of the Minister of Education and Culture Nadiem Makarim to implement hybrid learning permanently after the Covid-19 pandemic. Minister Nadiem proposed the plan at a meeting with Commission X of the House of Representatives on Thursday, July 2, 2020. It was proposed based on the idea that technology use in learning provides many benefits, including the opportunities for schools to implement various learning models and to operate with various efficiency. The plan is also supported by the fact that the online learning implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic had eventually driven teachers, students, and parents to adapt and utilize technology to support learning. The result was admittedly not yet satisfactory, but it was mainly due to the lack of preparation since the plague emerged suddenly and face-to-face learning could not be done.

On Saturday, July 4th, 2020, the news about the plan was posted in various teachers’ FaceBook Groups (FBG) and the post was immediately commented on by many members of each FBG. These spontaneous comments are interesting to analyze because they can be used to portray teachers’ perceptions and attitudes toward the plan. This article analyzes the comments to see the portion of teachers who approved, rejected, and were neutral (abstain) and find out the reasons underlying the acceptance or rejection. The results were hopefully beneficial to inform stakeholders in making the necessary follow-up decisions and to provide basic information for further research.

To attain the purpose, all comments posted throughout Saturday, July 4, 2020, in two teachers’ FBGs were copied and used as the corpus. The two FBGs were selected as the sources of data because each of them has a large number of members (over 100,000) and the members are lived in various regions of Indonesia. The two FBGs were deliberately kept anonymous to guarantee confidentiality.

Since the data used in this article are the comments of teachers obtained from only two FBGs, the results probably do not represent the attitudes of all teachers throughout Indonesia. However, since the commentators are teachers living in various regions in Indonesia, the analysis result can, at least, provide an initial overview of Indonesian teacher's attitude towards the plan for implementing hybrid learning in Indonesian schools.

Agreement, Disagreement, and abstention
The comments collected throughout Saturday, July 4 2020 from the two FBGs are 174 items. By assuming that one comment was given by one teacher, the number of teacher participants in this analysis is also 174. The length of the comments is varied. The shortest comment consists of two words, while the longest is 110 words. After all the comments were classified, it was found that 157 (90%) teachers disagreed; 15 (9%) agreed, and 1 (1%) was neutral towards the Minister of Education and Culture's plan to implement hybrid learning permanently (See Figure 1).


The teacher who was abstain did not provide the reason for his decision. He only stated: "It’s up to you, Minister..." The reasons of those who agreed and disagreed with the plan are quite varied, as described in the following sections.

Teachers’ Reasons for Accepting the Plan
The analysis showed that the arguments provided by those who agreed with the plan were based on two reasons. (Figure 2). The first reason is the respondents’ understanding that the one planned to be implemented is hybrid learning, not the online-based distance learning. They believed that hybrid learning has the potential to enrich learning, increase literacy, and advance education. In addition to their acceptance, the respondents in this group emphasized that the plan needs to be implemented selectively, i.e. by applying it in the regions having adequate infrastructure and facilities first. After that, it is gradually implemented in other regions. They also accentuated that the Ministry of Education and Culture needs to provide a sound guideline for implementing the learning method that combines both face to face and online learning.


The second reason provided by those who accepted the plan is the belief that the plan to implement hybrid learning permanently must have been carefully considered by the government. For them, the plan was proposed after first calculating how to realize it. So, why should we reject it?

Teacher's Reasons for Rejecting the Plan
As described earlier, 90% of the 173 comments revealed rejection of the Minister's plan. The results of the analysis showed that the rejection was based on three reasons (See Figure 3).


The first reason is related to the poor infrastructure (internet network) and inadequacy of student equipment (laptops, desktops, smartphones, and fun for purchasing internet package). This was proposed by 25 (16%) teachers who refused the plan. They were traumatic of the distance learning implementation during the COVID 19 outbreak. Teachers working in remote areas said online learning did not work because they had no internet connection. Some said the students did not have the equipment to do online learning. Some others said many families in the area could not buy internet packages. Some others even said their region did not yet have electricity. Some teachers living in big cities said that although an internet connection was available, online learning did not work well. Teachers also encountered problems in getting online learning facilities. Although they had smartphones, for instance, to buy the internet package for learning was burdensome. To sum up, the problems encountered in the online learning implementation during the COVID 19 pandemic due to the poor infrastructure and insufficient equipment made the teachers in this group reject the plan. For them, technology-based learning only causes problems.

Unfortunately, the teachers in this group tended to see the difficulties encountered in online learning implementation during the COVID 19 pandemic as failures, not learning. In fact, in the news that reported the plan to implement hybrid learning permanently these difficulties are acknowledged. Minister Nadiem also clarified that the problems were mainly caused by the lack of government and schools’ preparation for the COVID 19 outbreak came suddenly and the impossibility to carry out face-to-face learning sessions. Learning from that experience, with good planning and preparation, hybrid learning has the potential to improve national education. However, the teachers in this group did not get the message. Thus, the teachers in this group rejected the Minister’s plan because they only saw past problems as failures. They did not catch the Minister’s view of taking the problems as an opportunity to learn to develop.

Misunderstanding of the Substance of the Plan
The second reason, which underlies the rejection of 123 teachers, is due to their lack of understanding of the substance of the proposed plan. This misunderstanding occurred because of two possibilities.

First, they did not read the news about the plan critically. This led them to get the wrong perception. The news headlines employed by the online dailies concerning the plan could admittedly mislead as they use the terms like "Online School", "Distance Learning", and "Distance Learning. If the reader only sees the titles, they could get the impression that the learning method planned to be implemented is online learning or distance-learning, not hybrid learning. The contents of the news, however, clearly describe that the method proposed by the Minister is a combination of online learning and face-to-face learning. All the online dailies even directly cite the Minister’s ​​statement stressing that the one he proposed is not “pure” distance learning but the hybrid model. Since the teachers in this group probably looked at the news titles only (without reading the whole contents of the news), instead of getting the correct plan they wrongly concluded that he proposed to implement distance learning permanently

Second, the teachers in this group did read the news contents but were unable to distinguish distance or online learning with hybrid learning. In the discussion platform of both FBGs, among the comments that reject the plan, some teachers who supported the plan occasionally tried to correct their colleagues by stating that the method to be implemented is hybrid learning that includes face-to-face learning. But such a corrective statement did not affect the teachers in this group. They kept on commenting that the Minister would eliminate face-to-face learning. This confirms that the teachers in this group did not know the nature of hybrid learning that the Minister planned to implement permanently.

Having the perception that the Minister planned to replace face-to-face learning with online learning, the teachers in this group felt they should disapprove of it. In their opinion the plan will surely destruct the national education because it contradicts the education views they held, i.e.: (1) face-to-face learning is far more effective than online learning; (2) students do not like online learning; (3) online learning is not suitable for practical subjects; (4) online learning costs far more expensive than face-to-face learning so that the plan will only waste a lot of money; (5) technology-based learning cannot be used to develop character and ethics; (6) online learning will turn Indonesian children to be inferior human resources; (7) online learning will ruin students’ morality because it makes them possible to access pornography sites; and (8) online learning has and will damage students' faith.

It seems obvious that although hybrid learning is not a new practice, the knowledge of the teachers in this group about the various benefits it offers is still very limited. To a higher extent, they have never in touch with research results revealing that when appropriately designed and implemented, hybrid learning offers many advantages, such as flexibility, broad access to knowledge, opportunity to develop social interaction, cost efficiency, opportunity to collaborate with students all over the world, ease to revise learning content, and so on. It seems that they also have not realized that hybrid learning is the current most logical and scientifically acceptable alternative to any other learning methods (Salama, 2005) Besides, hybrid learning can also accelerate and streamline character education (Indartono, 2011; Fisher & Kusumah, 2018) and facilitate the formation of good attitudes and behaviors among students in daily life (Yulianti & Sulistiawatyi, 2020).

If only these teachers had understood that technology-based learning elements in hybrid learning are very effective to help and enrich the learning process, they might have accepted the Minister’s plan. Yet, due to their ignorance, they even judged that the Minister planned to implement hybrid learning permanently because he did not understand the nature and purpose of true education. Their ignorance led them to misjudgment and rejection.

Suspicion on Unrelated Motives.
The third reason, proposed by 9 (6%) teachers who rejected the plan, is the suspicion that the plan is driven by business motives that will benefit certain parties. Because the comments revealing this reason are relatively short, no information could be obtained to explain why such reasons appeared.

Conclusion.
The rejection made by 90% of teachers against the plan of the Minister of Education and Culture to implement hybrid learning permanent, seeing from the educational perspective is very surprising. As educators, they should have known that hybrid learning is the most innovative learning method in the 21st Century and is very potential to use to empower the young generation to contribute to the Industrial Revolution 4.0 era. That rejection is also worrying since these teachers failed to read critically but were eager to comment on something they did not understand. If teachers do not read critically, how can they expect their students to be critical readers?

Since the corpus analyzed in this article is merely comments obtained from two FBGs, to get more comprehensive teachers’ attitudes towards hybrid learning implementation plan in particular and their resistance to the use of technology in learning in general, more in-depth research needs to be done with more comprehensive methods. The results of such studies can provide a sound basis for making decisions to help teachers enthusiastically use technology, especially hybrid learning, in learning. Hybrid learning not only combines but also maximizes the opportunity to get the best of face-to-face and online learning. In the present Industrial Revolution 4.0 era, hybrid learning is not an option but a need! Therefore, hybrid learning is very urgent to implement.*****

Author: Parlindungan Pardede (parlin@weedutap.com)

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