After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS) has resumed the highly anticipated Jakarta Principal Shadowing Program as part of its ongoing commitment to connecting with local educators for the advancement of teaching and learning in Indonesia.
The gathering of principals and vice principals was held on Jan. 12-13 in collaboration with the Jakarta Education Agency and Jakarta Human Resources Development Agency (BPSDM Jakarta).
“The Jakarta Principal Shadowing Program is a professional development opportunity for the leadership of state schools across the capital. For two days, participating principals work together as they share their observations from their own experiences, receive feedback and insights from JIS administrators and address the various challenges prevalent in Indonesia’s education sector — especially in the ‘new normal’,” said Maya Nelson, JIS Interim Head of School.
It’s also a unique look into the scope and complex demands of managing an international-standard school the size of JIS, she added.
Founded 70 years ago by two United Nations workers, JIS currently has some 1,900 students and over 200 faculty and staff members across three sprawling campuses. The largest of these is the Cilandak campus, where the Jakarta Principal Shadowing Program was conducted under strict health protocols, and is equipped with university-level facilities.
From the hundreds of applicants, 11 educators representing schools across Jakarta were selected to be part of the 2022 batch — about half the number usually taking part to support physical distancing. Despite the limited capacity, each session was enlivened by interactive discussions, demonstrations, modeling, and presentations, guided by JIS teachers and administrators. They covered a range of teaching and management strategies, concepts and techniques relevant to today’s changing landscape of education, particularly related to the demands of online or hybrid learning.
Nunun Maslukah, a participating principal from SMAN 74 state high school, was especially inspired by a session on setting clear, consistent rules for the virtual classroom to minimize distractions and make the most of class time. Many SMAN 74 teachers, she conceded, struggled with students moving “off camera” or turning their cameras off entirely.
“We usually let it go, but it has become a real disruption to the learning process,” she said. “As part of the program, we were encouraged to maintain discipline [during online classes] and set boundaries. For example, students are allowed to turn off their cameras once; if they do it a second time, they will be marked as absent.”
For SMP 10 state junior high school principal Mirdawani, the program came at a time when teachers are being stretched to their limits as they adapt to the demands of today’s changing educational landscape. It reminded him, he said, how important it was for principals to support their teachers.
“Principals must be able to understand the needs of teachers and maintain a close relationship with them,” Mirdawani said. “We [the participants] are ready to bring a new mindset to our school after this.”
Also attending the two-day program were BPSDM Jakarta head Mochamad Miftahulloh Tamary and BPSDM Jakarta head of managerial and functional development Indang Murningsih. Mitfah urged participants to share their experience with their teachers and even other schools, saying he was confident they had the skills to instruct other educators on what they had learned.
“Through this program, the principals were able to see firsthand the international standards for school management put into practice. They broadened their understanding of teaching and learning,” he said. “In addition to applying these new strategies and concepts at their own school, they can also share them with their colleagues.”