How Does Granting Teacher Autonomy Influence Classroom Instruction? Lessons From Indonesia’s Curriculum Reform Implementation

Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning
Policy Research

This research seeks to understand how a curriculum reform that emphasizes student-centered learning influences classroom instruction. The new curriculum is designed by  the  government  of  Indonesia  to  grant  autonomy  to  teachers  in  re-emphasizing  learning  according  to  the  student’s  needs  and  local  context. Previous  studies suggest that teacher autonomy in elaborating curricula and pedagogy is associated with student’s engagement and improvement in learning outcomes. Given the low  autonomy  of  teachers  in  Indonesia,  their  responses  can  inform  how  we  should  formulate effective reforms. This research used a case study to investigate how curriculum reform is perceived by middle school teachers and how they translate it into classroom instruction. The data was collected through classroom observations and  complemented  by  semi-structured  phone  interviews  with  20  Math  teachers  in Jakarta and Central Java from November 2022 to February 2023. To avoid incongruous instruction, this research informs that countries with a long history of low teacher autonomy like Indonesia should not promote a grand education reform design without clear guidelines and adequate support. The reformers need to touch upon teacher’s beliefs about curriculum completion and didactic pedagogy before expecting them to change their teaching practices into active learning and exercise their authority in independently developing curricula.

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Risa Wardatun Nihayah
Wahyu Farrah Dina
Dyana Wjayanti
Annabel Noor Asyah
Wahyu Farrah Dina
Dyana Wjayanti
Research Area 
Special Capital Region of Jakarta
East Java
Research Topic 
Publication Type 
Journal Article