How Things Work At SMAN Medan 3

February 24, 2018

During my stay as an exchange student I was assigned to have my observation and practice teaching at one of the public senior high schools in the city.

During my observation period, I noticed many differences between schools in the Philippines and schools in Indonesia. School hours end start at 7:15 in the morning and end at 2 in the afternoon. Most classes however end at 12:30 in the afternoon. This is so that the students could pray at the local mosques in the town, and because some classes are held only once a week. Tardiness is discouraged as students who do not come to their classes on time are often given disciplinary sanction. During some of the classes I observed, tardy students were not allowed to enter their classroom during the lesson and had to wait outside before they could enter again. Some students also had to sit in groups at the courtyard until the teachers allowed them to come back to their classes. 


There are around three or four breaks that are held in one school day. Students are allowed to leave their classrooms during break times so long as they come back once their lessons start again. There are speakers installed in all the classrooms so that the students could hear announcements signalling the beginning and end of lessons, as well as break times.



Sections fall into two categories in the school: Science and Social. Science sections are labeled as "MIPA", while Social sections are labeled as "IPS". Students are categorized based on their academic performances during the previous year, with high performing students being categorized into the Science sections and lower performing students being categorized into the Social sections.


Each class is allotted two 45-minute periods. The first period is usually allotted for lectures or discussions, while the second period is allotted for activities.


The approach used by most teachers is student-centered, with students being expected to take charge of their learning and work with the teachers if needed. The teachers are usually seen as authority figures that the students are supposed to obey and listen to during the lesson.


Teachers do not seem to make their own assessment tools, such as quizzes and seatworks that need to be approved by a Learning Area Coordinator. Rather, they mostly use textbooks for summative assessment. One hundred points is the quantity often used for assessment.


All in all, my host school was very student centered and encouraged the students to take charge of their own learning and discipline. Though school time was shorter, the students still maximized their time and tried to learn as best as they can.



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