Is an educational institution based on islamic teaching

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Pondok Modern DÉrussalÉm Gontor, Ponorogo, Indonesia (referred to as the Pondok henceforth) is an educational institution based on Islamic teachings. This Pondok, which is not affiliated to any political group, is one of the biggest and most prominent schools in Indonesia. Historically, this Pondok was established on October 20th, 1926 by three brothers, known as Trimutri consisting of K.H. AÍmad Sahal, K.H. ZainuddÊn Fannani and K.H. ImÉm Zarkasyi. The campus is situated on 9 hectares of land in Gontor, a small rural village about 10 kilometers from the city of Ponorogo, or about 210 kilometers from Surabaya, the capital of East Java, Indonesia (Gontor, 2008).

The basic characteristics of this Pondok stand on four main points. Firstly, the education in this school is based on the teachings of Islam of which its main sources are al-Qur`Én and the Prophetic traditions. Secondly, the students' activities are carried out in an integrated campus under constant supervision of a Kyai (Islamic spiritual figure). Thirdly, the Kyai becomes the central figure on whom the students mould their characters and personality as well as that of Kyai. Finally, the existence of a mosque on which the spiritual activities of students during day and night are centralled. (Gontor, 2006).

The educational values of this Pondok are originally derived from the synthesized four prototypes of well-known educational institutions such as Al-AzhÉr University in Cairo Egypt, Alighar Muslim University in Alighar India, Santiniketan in Calcutta India and Shanggit in North Africa. Briefly,

Al-AzhÉr University, which begun from a tiny mosque during the period of FaÏima dynasty in the 7th century, poses the center of Islamic Study on a wide land of waqf.

Alighar Muslim University, which started from a small college during the occupation of British in India, soon became a great Islamic university in South Asia which assisted noticeable figures struggling for the freedom of Indian Muslims as well as the independence of Pakistan.

Santiniketan, an educational institution situated in the India subcontinent was famous with its peaceful atmosphere and modesty.

Shanggit, in North Africa, is known for the nobility and generosity of its guardians.

(Gontor, 2006).

The educational aim of this Pondok is to prepare capable Muslim leaders, scholars, educators and preachers, who are balanced spiritually and mentally and who devote themselves to the development of the Muslim ummah. This aim is based on the Pondok's five principles, which are sincerity, simplicity, self-reliance, Islamic brotherhood, and freedom (Misbach et al., 1996).

Kulliyyat al-MuÑallimÊn al-IslÉmiyyah (KMI) which is translated to Islamic Teachers Training College is the formal department of education and teaching. This school level institution is an educational department that mainly focuses its dynamics on student academic activities. This institution tries its level best to improve the academic qualities through various programmes, so that the school may develop gradually. The development of this institution is basically based on the motto of "Even the best can be improved". This motto is an educational principle which is portrayed and implemented in every aspect of the school activities. This idea is pivotal in actualizing the dynamics of this educational institution (Gontor, 2008).

To improve teachers' competencies, various programmes such as teacher training, subject orientation and workshops are held from time to time and, in order to supervise the academic achievement of every student, a tutor is assigned to guide and report on his/her improvement and progress at the end of every semester. Besides that, the tutor is also responsible for organizing meetings with the principal of this institution along with his colleagues to evaluate students' improvement and performance. In short, the tutor plays an important role in helping to improve the learning achievement of every student (Gontor, 2008).

The teachers of this Pondok are highly dedicated and sincere in transmitting their knowledge, motivating students to perform better and inculcating the Islamic values with the students faithfully following all the instructions given by their teachers. In other word, teachers and students at this Pondok try to be sincere in all acts of devotion for the sake of AllÉh and not for reaping any worldly profit from it. Since the students and teachers stay at the Pondok twenty four hours daily, teachers play their role as mudarris, mu`addib, murabbi, murshid, muÑallim, mujtahid and mujaddid which lead students to become spiritually and mentally balanced human beings. Detailed explanation of these terms will be discussed in Chapter Two.

Khan (1990) stated that teachers in Islamic institutions are not only responsible for students' academic achievement but also spiritual development as well as character building. Since, teachers' life is an example for the students, it is important that teachers are to be perfectly religious, ethical, cultured and decent; expressed by their fear of God in their sayings, actions and movements in open as well as in private because students will observe their teachers. For that reason, teachers have to keep their deeds under Islamic ethics as they are the most important people in their students' educational process. That is supported by the motto of this Pondok: "al-ÏarÊqatu ahammu min al-mÉddah wa al-mudarris ahammu min al-ÏarÊqah wa rËh al-mudarris ahammu min mudarris nafsihi", which means the technique of teaching is more important than subject, the teacher is more important than both technique and subject but teacher's spirit is the most important. In light of those reasons, this study proposes to examine the students' perception on the duties and the functions of teachers at this Pondok. In addition, this study aims to investigate the practice of teacher-leader among teachers at this Pondok.


Teachers, as mentioned earlier, are an important element in education and have a big role to play for success in education. Teachers have the responsibility in developing students' morals and behaviours. Teachers' personality and method of teaching affect students' mind and spirit. At this stage, students will imitate what teachers do because they are influenced more by teachers' attitudes rather than others. Therefore, teachers must prepare everything before they teach the students.

Teachers also have an important impact on students' achievement. As their roles are not restricted as transmitters of knowledge, administrators, managers, facilitators who encourage the students physically to improve their academic achievement, but also teachers may become psychologists, guides and counselors who know students' problems and overcome those problems, advise and lead them wisely, and become a good example for them. It is like giving students the torch to find out their identities that allow them to recognize their weaknesses and strengths. It, gradually, builds students' self-consciousness towards what they have to or not do for their success. Teachers, indirectly, also encourage their students spiritually to improve their achievement.

Tamuri (2006) in his research states that there are five basic concepts of teacher-educator. Those six concepts are Mudarris, Mu`addib, MurabbÊ, Murshid and MuÑallim. All of those concepts can be categorized as concepts of teacher-educator.

In this study the researcher attempts to add two more concepts of teacher: Mujtahid and Mujaddid, where teacher as transformational leader and decision maker respectively. Thereby, this study will discuss seven concepts of the teacher: Mudarris, Mu`addib, Murabbi, Murshid, MuÑallim, Mujtahid and Mujaddid which can be categorized as seven concepts of teacher-leader and its practice among teachers at Pondok Modern DÉrussalÉm Gontor. Although several studies have been addressed on teacher-leader, none of study has focused on the practice of these concepts among teachers at Pondok Modern DÉrussalÉm Gontor. Therefore, the researcher will conduct this study in order to identify to what extent the teachers at this Pondok practice and implement the teacher-leader concept.


The conceptual framework of this study will be based on Islamic literature on teachers. There are seven terms which can be concepts of teachers, namely Mudarris, Mu`addib, Murabbi, Murshid, MuÑallim, Mujtahid and Mujaddid.

Figure 1.1

Research Conceptual Framework

Philosophy of Islamic Education

Islamic Literature

Fiqh Theory


Leader's Characteristics









Quantitative Data

SPSS Analysis

Friedman's Test




The objective of this research is to study the practice of teacher-leader among teachers at Pondok Modern Darussalam Gontor. The following are the detailed objectives of the research:

To examine teacher-leader practices among teachers at Pondok Modern DÉrussalÉm Gontor.

To identify the extent to which the teachers at Pondok Modern DÉrussalÉm Gontor practice the seven concepts of teacher-leader.

To explore the most frequently practices of the seven concepts of teacher-leader at Pondok Modern DÉrussalÉm Gontor.


The research questions posed are:

What are the teacher-leader practices among teachers at Pondok Modern DÉrussalÉm Gontor as perceived by teachers and students?

To what extent do teachers at Pondok Modern DÉrussalÉm Gontor demonstrate the teacher-leader practices as perceived by teachers and students according to its seven concepts?

Which of the seven concepts of teacher-leader is the most frequently practiced by teachers at Pondok Modern DÉrussalÉm Gontor and can be used as a benchmark?

These research questions will be examined by using quantitative methods. These methods will be discussed in detail in Chapter Three.


As mentioned earlier, teachers play an important role in developing students' mentality, spirituality, morality and intelligence. The role of the teacher is not only in imparting knowledge to the students and making them succeed in examinations, but developing their spiritual aspect, guiding them to the right way and leading them to be successful here and in the hereafter. Because of these different responsibilities, this study aims to discuss the teacher-leader based on its seven concepts: Mudarris, Mu`addib, Murabbi, Murshid, MuÑallim, Mujtahid and Mujaddid. The study also investigates the practice among teachers at Pondok Modern DÉrussalÉm Gontor.

The outcome of this study is expected to help teachers at that school to understand the concept of teacher-leader in terms of its characteristics, roles, duties, and functions in the educational process, help students understand their own perspective towards teachers' role, thus assisting them in building a good interpersonal communication with teachers during their years at the school. Similarly, the study envisaged providing useful information to the school administrator about their students' perspectives, which can then be carefully considered in dealing with teacher competencies and student academic improvement.

Furthermore, the findings of this study will not only help teachers to develop their competencies in the education process and giving some insight for Muslim teachers into the kinds of problems faced by Muslim students which may also be faced by non-Muslim students, but will also contribute productive information to other Pondok Modern in Indonesia.


Due to time and financial constraints, this study was limited to selected teachers and Class Five students in the academic year of 2008/2009, not every class at this Pondok and not all the Pondok Modern in Indonesia. Therefore, the findings of the study may not be generalized to all the Pondok Modern in Indonesia. The researcher personally visited this Pondok to administer the questionnaires in order to save time and to ensure a higher rate of response.


i. Teacher-leader: A concept of a teacher who sacrifices all efforts/abilities in order to improve his students' achievement by imparting knowledge, administering the school system, guiding students, facilitating them, leading the students wisely, making decision, making reformation in education, and establishing vision and mission of the school. For this study, the term refers to the seven concepts of teacher-leader: Mudarris, Mu`addib, Murabbi, Murshid, MuÑallim, Mujtahid and Mujaddid.

ii. Mudarris: This word comes from the Arabic root: دَرَّسَ-يُدَرِّسُ-تَدْرِيْسٌ-مُدَرِّسٌ, which means to tutor, to school or to teach. It means schoolteacher and has a close meaning to madrasah, it comes from the same root; madrasah (ismun makÉn) which means a place of reading or study in which persons read or study. Mudarris refers only to the schoolteacher who attends the school to convey knowledge to students. Since he has the formal curriculum, methodology of teaching and textbook standardized by the school, he teaches student professionally (NihlÉwi, 1999).

iii. Mu'addib: It comes from the Arabic root: أَدَّبَ-يُؤَدِّبُ-تَأْدِيْبٌ-مَؤَدِّبٌ, which means to mould, to discipline, to punish or to correct. Muaddib is person who educates and disciplines students to become Mu`addab (has good moral) and better educated spiritually, intellectually and mentality than before. In addition, he is the person imparting both moral and intellectual knowledge (ShalabÊ, 1954).

iv. Murabbi: This word comes from the Arabic root: رَبَّي-يُرَبِّي-تَرْبِيَةٌ-مُرَبِّي, which means to feed, to nourish, to nurture, to develop, to make grow or to educate. It refers to a person who teaches the concepts and skills and shapes the behaviours, physique, spirit, and mental of his students. His responsibility is upon his students' intellectual, physical, and spiritual growth (NÊÍlawÊ, 1999). Thus, he must understand the conditions of his students; physically (jismun), spiritually (nafsun), intellectually (caqlun), and their abilities.

v. Murshid: The term comes from the Arabic root أَرْشَدَ- يُرْشِدُ- إِرْشَادٌ- مُرْشِدٌ that means to guide, to direct or to advise. In education the term means the teacher who has the responsibility to advise or guide students to the right way through a set of actions (ÏarÊqÉt) namely: syari`at, haqiqat and maÑrifat. It means that the spiritual dimension of the students have to be fulfilled in order to counterbalance the intellectual one (NiÍlÉwÊ, 1999).

vi. MuÑallim: It comes from the Arabic root: عَلَّمَ-يُعَلِّمُ-تَعْلِيْمًا-مُعَلِّمٌ, which means to instruct. In this study, MuÑallim means a knowledgeable teacher. It has semantic relations with ÑAllÉmah (عَلاَّمَةٌ) which means the teacher who has great knowledge characterized with great competency in some or more specialization of knowledge, and has deep understanding in terms of knowledge, particularly, and about life, generally (ManÐËr, n.d:p.416).

vii. Mujtahid: It comes from the Arabic root: اجْتَهَدَ - يَجْتَهِدُ - اجْتِهَادٌ - مُجْتَهِدٌ, which means to strive, to decide or work hard. In education ijtihÉd can be interpreted as a decision making process (ShËrÉ). Shura is the process and order in Islam by which the leader consults with his members and hears their opinions before deciding upon any issue (Al-Buraey, 1990:348). Therefore, Mujtahid is a teacher as an educator and decision maker at the same time.

viii. Mujaddid: It comes from the Arabic root: جَدَّدَ- يُجَدِّدُ - تَجْدِيْدٌ - مُجَدِّدٌ, which means to renew, to update, to restore, to renovate or to modernize. In education, Mujaddid is the teacher who encourages a revival of Islam, removing from it any extraneous elements and restoring it to its pristine state as well as reforming the education objectives relevant to modernity in order to reform the education system towards improving the quality of education as well as solving its problems (Khan, 1990).

ix. Pondok Pesantren: This is defined by Zarkasyi (1994 as stated in Misbach et al, 1996) as an Islamic Boarding School where the Kyai acts as the spiritual figure and the mosque is the centre of activities that influences students' behaviour, personalities, values, thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. At this Pondok teachers and students live together.

x. DÉrussalÉm: Means a place of peace. Thus, students faithfully follow all instructions given by their teachers. The students from different ethnic groups, cultures and nationalities are accommodated at the Pondok Modern, and the milieu of this Pondok is to keep the spirit of brotherhood and mutual consultation based on the five principles of this Pondok (Gontor, 2006).