Learning Strategies for Reading and Writing the Quran: Improving Student Competence as Preservice Teachers at the Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training
Students must realize competence according to the chosen majors and study programs. The Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training, one of the students’ choices for continuing education, also has a mission to become a faculty that fosters students to become prospective professional educators. The reality that occurs is inversely proportional to the mission, and there are still Islamic education students as Islamic education preservice teachers who cannot read the Qur’an properly, while the Qur’an is the primary source in teaching Islam to students if they will become teachers in the future. This study aimed to critically analyze the strategies and policies implemented in conducting Quranic reading and writing learning at the Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training, UIN Imam Bonjol Padang. This study used a qualitative approach, and data were collected using interviews, observations, and study documentation. Based on the results of the study, Quranic reading and writing skills learning starts from mapping the abilities of all students, but the follow-up of mapping is not realized in continuous learning. However, the intracurricular and extracurricular activities carried out can improve students’ Quranic reading and writing competencies.
Islamic education is one of the most important pillars in building quality human resources. Because personality not only lies in intellectuality but also must be supported by spiritual and emotional intelligence. Islamic education is compulsory for every Muslim student . At school, Islamic learning includes five aspects, namely, the Qur’an, Fiqh, Faith/Aqeedah, Morals, and Islamic History [2, 3].
Quranic reading competency has been listed in the 2013 curriculum in aspects of the Qur’an . This is the minimum competency that students must master at every level of education [5–7]. There are reading competencies, comprehension competencies, and memorization competencies [8, 9]. Therefore, students must be able to read, memorize, and understand the contents of the Qur’an.
Quranic reading and writing skills are essential and have come to the government’s attention. This began with Government Regulation Number 55 of 2007 on religious education and then Minister of Religious Affairs Regulation Number 13 of 2014 on Islamic education. In addition, this is supported by regional regulations in several regions, including Padang City. If noted, the Minister of Religious Affairs Regulation has been realized through nonformal Islamic education institutions known as Madrasah Diniyah Takmiliyah Awaliyah, Wustha, and Ulya, and the Qur’an Learning Center, Ta’limul Quran Lil Aulad , and others, formerly known as Surau or mushalla, later developed under the name Qur’an Learning Center. However, these activities have become a significant concern for the government, which for a long time was neglected [11–13]. This institution implements religious education and Al-Qur’an education. This education is intended for elementary school students (ibtidaiyah). With the Regional Government Regulation Number 6 of 2003 on Quranic reading and writing skills for elementary school students, elementary school students must be good at Quranic reading and writing skills as a requirement for entering further education levels.
Quranic reading and writing skills are part of the competence of the Islamic education subject to prepare students to recognize, understand, live, and practice the Qur’an . Al-Qur’an has a vital role in the life of a Muslim [15, 16]. Therefore, students should have started to be taught to read and write the Qur’an following the rules and are expected to understand and then practice the teachings of the Qur’an in every daily activity. However, some Muslims do not pay attention to Quranic reading and writing skills from an early age [17–19], so many young Muslims, even old Muslims, have not been able to read and write the Qur’an.
The Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training and UIN annually conduct a UIN admission test taking into account Quranic reading and writing skills. The results showed that most participants have not been able to read and write the Qur’an well and correctly according to the Tajweed and writing methods, and even some are still illiterate. The same thing was found in several subjects: Quran reading and writing, Al-Qur’an learning methods [19–21], Tilawah Practice, Quran and Hadith Learning, Tahsin al-Qur’an, and others [22, 23].
Various activities have also been carried out by some lecturers, such as requiring students to read the Qur’an before lecturing activities, before conducting academic guidance, before consulting a thesis, making a daily schedule in reading the Qur’an and memorizing the Qur’an, reading the Qur’an before the thesis proposal seminar and before starting the munaqasyah exam, and others. On the other hand, several activities have been carried out to empower and guide students who have the ability to both read and memorize the Qur’an, through Islamic education and related institutions. Based on the above thoughts and studies, the purpose of this study was to reveal the Quranic reading and writing skills of Islamic education students and explore learning strategies for Quranic reading and writing skills in Islamic education students.
1.1. Significance and Objectives of the Study
The significance of this study lies in the fact that it offers benefits to the researcher, the university or international class program, and the enhancement of one’s existing body of knowledge. (1) It has advantages for the researcher. The benefit is that this study was conducted in the field. Therefore, the students may take on the role of researcher and conduct in-depth study and investigation into the learning technique lecturers utilize in the Tarbiyah International Class Program to improve the participants’ academic skills in Islamic education. (2) For the University and the Tarbiyah International Class Program, the additional benefit is giving some details to the State Islamic University of UIN Imam Bonjol Padang, particularly to the Tarbiyah International Class Program, about some of these research results of learning strategies that have become a majestic notion for all of the Tarbiyah International Class Program lectures, the learning strategy that was formed by lecture to boost participant academic skills in Islamic education should be applied regularly. (3) To increase the depth of the knowledge based on theory. Hopefully, this study will result in some form of scientific progress and a commitment to the ongoing process of developing the Tarbiyah International Class Program. The method that can improve students’ abilities needs to be used by lecturers in other classes. Thus, due to the important value of the topic, this study aimed to critically analyze the strategies and policies implemented in conducting Quranic reading and writing learning at the Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training, UIN Imam Bonjol Padang.
2.1. Participants and Context
This study used a qualitative approach because the data were found and analyzed in words and sentences instead of numbers. The study was carried out in the Islamic Education Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training of UIN Imam Bonjol Padang; the subjects of this study were as follows: (1) 4 lecturers of the Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training as Advisors of Quranic reading and writing and (2) 2nd or 3rd semester of Islamic education students in 2016–2017 who took part in Quranic reading and writing learning consisting of A, B, C, D, E, and F locals.
Data were collected by using observations, interviews, and documentation studies. To obtain data on the Quranic reading and writing skills of students, researchers conducted tests by asking informants to read the Qur’an.
2.3. Data Analysis
Data were analyzed using interactive analysis, namely, by linking data obtained with different data collection techniques. To ensure the validity of the data, researchers used triangulation (see Tables 1 and 2).
3. Results and Discussion
3.1. Quranic Reading and Writing Skills of Islamic Education Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training Students
Quranic reading skills show that students can read the Qur’an fluently and according to the principles of Tajweed, including makharij al-huruf, shifat al-huruf, ahkam al-huruf, mad, and qashar, as well as ibtida’ and waqaf. Through a reading test, from 208 students, 130 students were in the reasonably good category (55.00%), 55 students were in the wrong category (23.00%), and 53 students were in the good category (22.00%), as can be seen from Table 1.
Table 1 shows Quranic reading skills of Islamic Education Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training UIN Imam Bonjol Padang students. It can be seen that 58.70% of the students were in the fairly good category, while 24.50% of the students were in a good category, and others were in the wrong category. Thus, the Quranic reading skills of Islamic education students were in a fairly good category. The Qur’an reading test was carried out before students conducted guidance with the lecturer. This shows that the ability was possessed before being accepted at the Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training at UIN Imam Bonjol Padang. The examiner recognized this result at the UIN Imam Bonjol admission test, held every year (ID.1, ID.2, ID.3, ID.4, ID.5, ID.6).
According to the Head of Islamic Education, who is also one of the examining teams, the ability of students who are accepted at the Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training was in a fairly good category; they are outstanding and can make the institution proud. This potential must be fostered with a particular program for them going forward. Besides that, some students were in a bad category and needed serious learning even though they came from madrasas (IKA.7: interview, 02102017). After various lessons and exercises, it was found that the Quranic reading skills of students will turn out well. This can be seen with the ability to read the Qur’an fluently, following the makhraj and principles of Tajweed .
The terms used to indicate the reading of the Qur’an in the repertoire of Islamic literature, in addition to makhraj, are tartil (reading slowly), tilawah (reading calmly, balanced, and pleasant), and qiraah (reading with understanding). In addition, there are other methods of reading the Qur’an, namely, hadr (fast reading) and tadwir (reading at medium speed) .
Being skillful in reading the Qur’an becomes an essential ability that Muslims must master. The first step to better understanding the Qur’an is to read it correctly and adequately . Moreover, essential rituals in Islam, such as prayer, require good Quranic reading skills. Allah says in the Qur’an to read an easy verse from the Qur’an. In addition, reading the Qur’an is also worship. Thus, the Qur’an preservice teachers must be able to read the Qur’an well and correctly as a basic competency possessed [27, 28]. Therefore, the Qur’an, like the Scriptures, has a central role in life.
Table 2 shows the ability to write letters, verses, and chapters of al-Qur’an of Islamic education students. It shows the average score for writing letters, punctuation, and fineness skills. Of 208 students, 40 students (19%) were in a suitable category, 138 students (66%) were in the fairly good category, and 30 students (15) were in a bad category. Overall, Quranic writing skills were in a fairly good category.
There was no difference between Quranic reading and writing skills through observations made. Most mistakes were found in writing letters of the Qur’an by students, such as writing letters according to position, such as on lines, cutting lines, and joining letters. Some others showed ability in writing harakat, the beauty of writing, and technical writing of letters and sentences. The writing test results were different if the form of the test was different, such as writing by dictation or by looking at the text, as well as writing by rote (more errors).
The most common error is to write the letters or verses of the Qur’an through “dictation” or “Imlak.” The errors referred to were found in writing letters with the same makhraj and writing sentences with the following sentences concurrently; the same mistakes were found in the results of the study by Ritonga et al., who stated that the most common error among students in Arabic learning was the inability to determine the right way . However, after going through the learning process with various exercises through the examples and techniques provided, students can imitate and learn on their own to bring better change.
3.2. Learning Strategy of Quranic Reading and Writing Competencies for Islamic Education Students
Quranic reading and writing learning follows the learning process as stated by several students (IM.1,2,3,4,5, and 6: interview, 02102017), where the lecturer uses the discussion method for material related theory, then the question and answer method, practice, and assignments. In Quranic reading and writing learning, students are given quite a lot of practice. In general, to improve Quranic reading skills, lecturers use the method of reading and memorizing. Meanwhile, according to most students, the writing by the rote method was problematic. But after going through the exercises, the difficulty can be overcome gradually.
The statements of students above are in line with the expression of all lecturers (ID.1, ID.2, ID.3, ID.4, ID5, and ID.6), that for material only given in the form of theory where students are fostered through the discussion method, the question and answer method, and the assignment. Meanwhile, students are given the exercises to read, write, and memorize and assignments to apply the discussion material. Therefore, the Quranic reading and writing skills of learning methods for students as preservice teachers need to pay attention to the following activities: (1) selecting learning methods suitable for the learning material of Quranic reading and writing and (2) establishing a learning approach by paying attention to students’ basic abilities.
Quranic reading and writing learning to improve the Quranic reading and writing skills of students is in the form of intracurricular and extracurricular activities. Following the interviews with informants (IM.1, IM.2, IM.3, IM.4, IM.5, and IM.6), learning is carried out in the intracurricular form, where several courses contain the Quranic reading and writing material method. At the same time, extracurricular learning can be seen with the involvement of students in activities at the Qur’an Learning Center. According to several lecturers (ID.2, ID.5, and ID.6), learning conducted through intracurricular activities is quite maximal in various ways and approaches. In addition, learning is carried out with a variety of methods and approaches in a classical manner, also giving home assignments to read the Qur’an, write or copy verses of the Quran as homework, and so on.
Based on the information by IKJ.7, in addition to the forms of learning that lecturers have performed face-to-face, learning is also performed by empowering the position of lecturers as academic advisors when students cannot yet read the Qur’an correctly and accurately; the lecturer as an academic advisor should improve the Quranic reading and writing skills of students.
Based on the results of focus group discussions, several efforts can be performed in Quranic reading and writing learning, namely: (1) conducting Quranic reading and writing learning through student activities with lecturers as academic advisors regularly, (2) building cooperation with all elements, especially lecturers to commit to read the Qur’an regularly, (3) building stimulant programs, such as memorizing the Qur’an, MTQ, or mutual quiz about the Qur’an, and (4) reading the Qur’an as a joint program between departments and student organizations.
Based on the interviews (ID and IKJ. 04092017), learning strategies of Quranic reading and writing skills of Islamic Education Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training of UIN Imam Bonjol Padang students as Islamic education preservice teachers can be performed in various forms and ways. In general, it can be said that the learning strategy can be performed by (1) mapping Quranic reading and writing skills of students as the basis for learning Quranic reading and writing skills with the assessment standards that have been prepared following applicable methods, (2) arranging learning steps by making plans, carrying out learning activities of Quranic reading and writing, and doing an evaluation of Quranic reading and writing activities according to appropriate and applicable criteria, (3) establishing methods and approaches that pay attention to the objectives of Quranic reading and writing, providing supporting infrastructure, (4) establishing professional instructors according to the field, (5) building sustainable collaboration in an integrated manner, and (6) developing minimum standards of Quranic reading and writing skills that students must possess.
Based on the results of interviews and FGD, the learning strategy of the Quranic reading and writing skills in the Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training of UIN Imam Bonjol is following experts’ opinions who have concerns about the same problem. This is in line with a study by Hakim, which confirmed that exploration for the initial ability to improve Quranic reading and writing competencies is a must , while Aderi et al.  stated that the improvement in Quranic reading skills begins with introducing letters correctly .
Meanwhile, Quranic reading and writing skills indicators of the Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training students were (ID.1, ID.2, ID.3, ID.4, ID.5, ID.6, and IKJ.7) (1) knowing the Qur’an and how to read it, (2) knowing the form of hijaiyah letters in the form of single letters, connecting letters, and sentences, (3) knowing how to pronounce hijaiyah letters well, (4) ability to read the Qur’an according to the principles of Tajweed, (5) mastering the principles of the Tajweed to read the Qur’an properly and correctly, and (6) knowing the ways and technical evaluation of reading the Qur’an.
Based on the above information, there are several indicators for knowing students’ Quran reading and writing skills. As the results of studies, Quran reading and writing skills have various categories, namely, good, reasonably good, and bad, where they need to be designed according to their level and following learning material.
Government Regulation Number 19 of 2005 on the National Education System (SPN) states that the National Education System is a minimum criterion regarding the education system in all jurisdictions of the Republic of Indonesia. One of the national education standards required in the National Education System is the Assessment Standards followed up with the Minister of Education Regulation Number 20 of 2007 on Educational Assessment Standards.
For the Minister of Education Regulations, Educational Assessment Standards relate to the mechanisms, procedures, and instruments of assessing learning outcomes. This has implications for models and assessment techniques implemented in class. The form of assessment consists of external assessments and internal assessments. External assessments are assessments conducted by other parties who do not carry out the learning process, such as those carried out by domestic and foreign institutions, aiming, among others, for quality control and standardization. In contrast, internal assessments are planned and carried out by the teacher during the learning process.
While the class assessment is part of an internal assessment (internal assessment) to determine student learning outcomes on mastery of competencies taught by teachers, it aims to assess the level of achievement of student competencies that are carried out at learning and the end of learning. Al-Qur’an education focuses more on the ability to read, write, and memorize [29, 33–35] and understand, appreciate, and practice the teachings of the Qur’an. Therefore, there needs to be a model of assessment in al-Qur’an education that can be used as a reference for teachers, mentors, and trainers in elementary and high schools.
Local assessment is a lecturer or teacher activity related to decision-making on achieving competencies or student learning outcomes that follow the learning process. For this reason, data is needed as reliable information as a basis for decision-making. Data obtained by lecturers or teachers during the learning process is collected through procedures and assessment tools following the competencies or indicators to be assessed. From this process, a portrait or profile of abilities in achieving several essential competencies is formulated in the Qur’an education following the curriculum criteria.
Quranic reading skills of the Islamic Education Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training students were in fairly good categories, in terms of the ability to pronounce letters, the characteristics of letters, and tajweed. Quranic reading and writing learning competencies in the Department of Islamic Education Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training are conducted through intracurricular and extracurricular activities. Learning through these two programs can get a good response from students who joined Quranic reading and writing competencies learning. Lectures could use techniques not only because of the situation but also because of the particular academic criterion sought to enhance by the lecture. As a result, these techniques are guided to the objectives of the institute and society, to help university students understand the social environment and accomplish their tasks successfully. In addition, as an active learning method, it is more focused on how the learning strategy is applied and how much the learner enjoys this learning. Active learning may reveal itself in the student’s social interaction and communication process when the learning is put into practice. The indicators of learning strategy are built on strengthening both social and communication skills. These indicators are derived from either the sociological theory or the social-communication Islamic viewpoint, both of which emanate from the Qur’an and hadith. In addition, dealing with the influence of the learning strategy that was used to cultivate social and communication skills in the Tarbiyah International Class Program of Islamic Education Student gave some advancements, such as the discovery learning strategy delivering students to be appreciated and honored, students to have management and recreation, students to have conscientious souls, students to have respectful or moderate behavior, students to have smooth speaking, students to have relevant and accurate speaking, and students to have articulate style in speaking.
This study is beneficial for the institution and academics to recognize the truth of the learning strategy execution, which is appropriate to boost social and communication skills to assist academic skill development of International Class students in this university. This research has a significant impact on the usefulness of the research for the institution and academics. One of the ways that a proper approach may be created between the teaching of content and the emotional development of skill is via an awareness of the learning methods employed throughout the lecture. In addition to that, it is also crucially significant to prepare all lectures on educational, professional development (psycomotoric) primary objective learning process to be capable of improving the instructional quality for it to be classified as a world-class education system (WCU). This is to ensure that it can be improved. When we realize that students in the International Class Program (ICP) can increase their academic talent, particularly their social and communication ability in their lives and their accomplishment in competition, the standing of this institution will inevitably be elevated.
Based on the findings of this study, it is recommended that the educational system for studying the Qur’an at Indonesia’s official institutions of higher learning be examined and improved. This is regarded as crucial because research has shown that teaching pupils to read the Qur’an fluently based on the essential quality of Arabic language proficiency is not ineffective. In addition, it is advised that a follow-up study be done on students’ knowledge regarding the text of the Qur’an to offer further perspective on the process of building a method of learning the Qur’an that is appropriate for the present day.
The data that support the findings of this study are included in the paper.
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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