The government of Indonesia has been continuously attempting to reform the national education system and improve the quality of education. To support this effort, since 2007 the national government has organized a teacher certification program to improve the professionalism of teachers at all educational levels. When they are able to pass the exams administered during the program, they are entitled to hold a professional teacher certificate. The teacher certification program is also expected to improve teachers’ acquisition of four competences: pedagogical, professional, personal and social. Approximately 250,000 – 300,000 teachers, including language teachers, participate in this program every year, which is expected to end in 2014.The program has been based on the fact that many teachers did not perform their instructional and professional tasks properly and that the education system has failed to produce school graduates with high quality knowledge and skills. However, this program is not a panacea as similar issues of the quality of teachers and students’ learning outcomes still persist in Indonesia’s education system.
In terms of language teachers, a previous study by Setiadi (2006) revealed that teachers believed that they were self-efficacious, but they were poor in pedagogical content knowledge and teaching performance. Furthermore, the National Ministry of Education (2012) pinpointed the poor quality of many teachers in the aftermath of competence examinations. They mostly lacked the mastery of content knowledge and methodological manipulation. Consequently, some Indonesian regulations, such as the Teacher and Lecturer Act and National Education System Act, require them to enhance their pedagogical, professional, social and personal competences for the improvement of instructional outcome quality. These national regulations were based on the fact that scientific and technological advances have been in progress, which in turn require the teachers to adapt to and adopt current approaches, methods, and learning technology. When they are not able to meet this requirement, it is believed that they can hamper the achievement of instructional goals.
Based on the above-mentioned issues, this study focuses on two variables; namely the pedagogical content knowledge and teaching performance of the teachers who have completed the teacher certification program. In this case, it is believed that both variables can significantly contribute to the improved quality of teachers. As there are a huge number of program participants, the study only examines language teachers at junior secondary level.
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