Experiences of Participants in Teacher Professional Education on Obtaining Soft Skills: A Case Study in Indonesia

January 2021

Source: European Journal of Educational Research, 10(1), 313-325

(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This research aims to answer questions about how the participants experience in following lessons to develop themselves in the soft skills  in the teacher professional education program (PPG).
The key questions are developed into three main questions as follows:
First, how is the learning system in the teacher professional program (PPG)? Second, how did the participants acquire soft skills during the PPG?
Third, what soft skills did the participants acquire while participating in PPG?


General Background and Participants
This research is qualitative using an interpretive phenomenology approach (Creswell & Creswell, 2017).
The research was conducted to explore information about the experiences of the teacher participants in obtaining soft skills during the PPG program.
The research was conducted for 6 months, between January to June 2020.
It employed a purposive sampling technique.
The 15 participants in this research were PPG participants from the provinces of Central Java, West Java, Yogyakarta Special Region, and the Special Capital Region of Jakarta, which involved 5 universities implementing PPG.

Data collection in this research was carried out through in-depth interviews of forty to sixty minutes duration.
Interview questions were open and general, compiled by researchers to understand the core phenomena of this research.
During the interview, the researcher tried to create a conducive climate so that participants feel comfortable and free in responding to any questions asked.
All interview data were then triangulated on different data to obtain valid data.

Analyzing of Data
Data analysis used in this research follows a phenomenological data analysis model, through horizontalization, texturally, structurally, and essential descriptions (Miles & Huberman, 1994). Furthermore, to ensure the validity and reliability of the data analysis used in this qualitative study, several stages of the validity and reliability of the data analysis were carried out.
Data validation was carried out by confirming and clarifying the data obtained with the participants and conducting panel discussions with experts to re-analyze the data that had been obtained.

Findings and discussion
Soft skill materials and learning provided to PPG participants are not specifically provided in a structured curriculum, guidebooks, and other written learning materials.
This kind of model in education is better known as the hidden curriculum.
Because there is no written curriculum concept used, the PPG model of soft-skills learning is called integrated learning (Mailool et al., 2020; Widiati & Hayati, 2015).
This integrated learning pattern causes PPG participants to have different initial awareness and understanding of soft skills.
Lecturers or instructors are also less involved in providing specific explanations and emphasis on aspects of soft skills and are more focused on a structured core curriculum.
PPG participants finally understand soft skills based on their respective abilities and experiences.
So, it is true that the hidden curriculum allows unequal acceptance and understanding of participants (Warren et al., 2019).
Learning soft skills that are not formalized in the form of a curriculum requires each learning participant to independently identify and sort out the aspects of soft skills in the learning material. In integrated soft skill learning, PPG participants also develop thematic ways of learning soft skills.
The experience of PPG participants shows that the values or soft skill themes they get are mostly due to their independent search.
The soft skill themes they found are in line with previous research and surveys conducted by experts (Liu et al., 2020).
The learning methods of soft skills most easily understood by PPG participants are the socio-drama method, doing certain project practices, micro-teaching, life practices in diverse communities, and actual learning practices in schools.
This indicates that the methods of lectures, questions and answers, and theoretical assignments in PPG are less appropriate to use to strengthen the soft skills of PPG participants (Haq & Giatman, 2019).
In order to improve the skills and capacity of teachers' soft skills, it should be accomplished through training that involves concrete aspects and direct practice, in the form of socio-drama, making projects, micro-teaching, and field experience practices (PPL).
Even though PPG uses integrated learning, a hidden curriculum, it appears that PPG participants do acquire many soft skills.
The soft skills obtained by PPG participants are as follows; self-confidence, hard work, respect for culture, patience, wisdom, maturity, mental resilience, humility, responsibility, creative thinking, positive thinking, cooperation, collaboration, tolerance, humility, respect for others, and tolerance.
The acquisition of so many soft skills shows that PPG participants are very diligent and independent in identifying aspects of soft skills in each lesson.
Acquiring soft skills that are quantitatively adequate is problematic because as soft skill learning is integrated, the hidden curriculum does not have a structured and measurable content (Cinque, 2016).
The authors recommend that the unstructured soft skill learning pattern (hidden curriculum) in PPG needs to be improved into a structured pattern in the curriculum.
With a structured soft skill learning pattern at PPG, instructors (lecturers) and participants will understand the soft skill goals from the start and will be able to focus more because of the outlined patterns and guidelines.

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Updated: Apr. 11, 2021