Secondary School Language Teachers’ Online Learning Engagement during the Covid-19 Pandemic in Indonesia

Anita - Lie, Siti Mina Tamah, Imelda - Gozali, Katarina Retno Triwidayati, Tresiana Sari Diah Utami, Fransiskus - Jemadi
Journal of Information Technology Education: Research  •  Volume 19  •  2020  •  pp. 803-832

The purpose of this study was to explore language teachers’ online engagement during the Covid-19 pandemic in Indonesia. Four questions guided the inquiry in this study: 1) To what extent did teachers engage in online learning during the Covid-19 pandemic? 2) What challenges did teachers encounter while engaging in online learning during the Covid-19 crisis? 3) How has the suspension of face-to-face classroom meetings changed teachers’ practices? and 4) What were their hopes for the future of education in their respective regions?v

The sudden learn-from-home mode enacted since 24 March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic has forced all schools to shift into online learning with no or little preparation in terms of internet access, teacher capacity, and student-parent readiness. All in all, the pandemic disruption has shed light on the widening digital divide that has serious implications for the human capital development in Indonesia

This case study involved 18 teachers from four regions in Indonesia. Data were collected through an online survey, weekly reflections, and interviews with the teachers. A group interview with five students for each of the 18 teachers was used as triangulation. To probe more deeply into a representative sample for a variety of attributes, the researchers then focused on four teachers for a more in-depth analysis.

Knowledge of the impacting factors on online learning engagement can aid in resolving the issues and providing equal opportunities for all students. This study highlighted that teachers in remote regions would need a more top-down intervention from education authorities and offered two recommendations to the government to overcome the widening digital divide as amplified by the current school suspension. This study presents interesting results pertaining to online learning engagement during the Covid-19 pandemic in Indonesia. Insights gained in this study would contribute to the perspective on the challenges and dilemmas faced by educators and students elsewhere while engaging in online learning.

This study found an interplay of five related factors of online learning processes against five levels of engagement. Those five factors are learners, teachers’ prior exposure to online learning, technological knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and the support system. Teachers in this study were still struggling to enhance the quality of online learning engagement. Nevertheless, given the rising awareness of the inadequacy of their online learning delivery and a renewed sense of commitment, these teachers had high hopes that they would be able to enhance their competence and improve their professional practices.

This study found most teacher participants have, within a short period, enhanced their technological knowledge (TK) regardless of their prior exposure to technology. Teachers can be encouraged to integrate their technological knowledge with pedagogical and content knowledge to develop their technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) by participating in the government program for teacher professional development.

This study involves only language teachers; therefore, future researchers are invited to involve non-language teachers so that more conclusive findings can be obtained.

Knowledge of the impacting factors on online learning engagement can aid in resolving the issues and providing equal opportunities for all students. More importantly, the lessons learned should enlighten educators that technology integration into sound pedagogy would transform current practices into quality learning.

Issues related to technology integration in education can still be unearthed especially because the budding insights of online learning will steadily be developing in post-pandemic realm, particularly in Indonesia.

online learning engagement, urban vs remote regions, language teaching, secondary school teachers, Indonesia
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