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Expatriate 'experts' in Indonesia and Thailand:

Professional and personal qualities for effective teaching
and consulting

Article  in  International Review of Education · December 1991

DOI: 10.1007/BF00597621


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Robert A. Cannon



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Abstract -- Structured group interviews with Thai and Indonesian educators indicate
that expatriate experts require a wide range of personal and professional qualities to
be effective: they must have expertise, be able to estabfish and maintain good
relationships with people, be well organised and effective teachers, and transfer
information and skills that are applicable and of benefit to the nation. None of these
qualities is simple or uni-dimensional. The study shows, for example, that 'expertise'
has several elements including technical expertise, cultural knowledge, language
ability and expertise in education. Practical implications of the findings are in
overseas project design, management and placement of personnel, professional
development of experts, and in the design, implementation and evaluation of teaching
and training.
Zusammenfassung -- Strukturierte Gruppeninterviews mit thail/indischen und indo-
nesischen Erziehern zeigen, dab augebiirgerte Experten weitreichende pers6nliche
und berufliche F/ihigkeiten ben6tigen, urn wirksam arbeiten zu k6nnen: Sie miissen
Fachwissen besitzen, gute Beziehungen zu Menschen kn/ipfen mad aufrechterhalten,
gut vorbereitete und effektive Lehrer sein und Informationen und F/ihigkeiten ver-
mittein, die anwendbar und von Nutzen fiir die Nation sind. Keine dieser Qualit/iten
ist einfach oder einseitig. Die Studie zeigt zum Beispiel, dab Fachwissen mehrere
Bereiche umfagt, wie z.B. technisches Fachwissen, Kulturkenntnisse, Sprachf/ihig-
keiten und Fachwissen auf dem Gebiet der Erziehung. Praktische Folgerungen aus
diesen Feststellungen finden sich in Projektentwiiffen in lJbersee, Management und
Personaleinsatz, beruflicher Entwicklung yon Experten sowie Entwurf, Durchffihrung
mad Evaluierung von Lehren und Fortbildung.
R6sum6 -- Des interviews structurdes de groupes avec des 6dncateurs tha'fs et
indongsiens indiquent que les experts expatri6s ndcessitent mac large gamme de
qualit6s personnelles et professionnelles pour 6tre efficaces: ils doivent 6tre expdri-
mentgs, 6tre capables d'gtablir et de malntenir de bolmes relations avec les gens, 6tre
des enseiguants bien organisds et efficaces, ils doivent transmettre des informations et
des comp6tences qui sont applicables et profitables /t la nation. Aucune de ces
qualitgs n'est simple ou unidimensionnelle. Cette gtude montre, par exemple, que la
"comp6tence" englobe plusieurs 616ments, tels que la compdtence technique, la
connaissance culturelle, l'aptitude linguistique et la comp6tence pgdagogique. Les
rgsultats obtenus ont des implications pratiques dans la conception des projets
d'outre met, l'administration et le recrutement du personnel, le ddveloppment profes-
sionnel des experts, au nivean de la conception, de la raise en oeuvre et de l'gvalua-
tion de l'enseignement et de la formation.

The Context

Australia, like several Western nations, provides substantial technical and

International Review of Education-Internationale Zeitschrift fiir Erziehungswissenschafi-Revue

Internationale de Pe'dagogie 37(4): 453--472, 1991. © 1991 Unesco Institute for Education
and Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.

educational assistance to developing countries. For example, nearly one

quarter of Australia's assistance is concentrated in the Southeast Asian
region. The Australian Government, through the Australian Development
Assistance Bureau (A/DAB) -- the Government's formal provider of over-
seas aid -- finances a large number of 'experts '1 in the region and currently
spends more than SA 1 billion on all overseas aid (Australia's Overseas Aid
Program 1990-91:12.)
Many experts work in formal education, training or advisory roles. It is
reasonable to ask what seem to be the qualities of effective teaching and
training activities that these roles demand. Such enquiry may lead to the de-
velopment of a body of advice about teaching and training that can inform
experts about their role.
Although large numbers of experts are working in developing countries, it
must be recognised that their contributions are seriously questioned on
grounds of relevance (Bosquet 1976; Edwards 1989) and of their impact on
development (Macbean and Balasubramanyan 1978; Verspoor and Leno
1986). The need for overseas experts in some areas must also be questioned.
There is a growing number of very well qualified and experienced profes-
sionals in the developing countries. These professionals often have the
capacity to provide excellent development advice because of their technical
qualifications and superior knowledge of the local language, needs, customs
and politics. In future, more effective and efficient development assistance --
where it is required -- might be provided by exploring ways of supporting
the work of such professionals rather than finding experts from overseas.
In the short term, however, there will be a continuing flow of experts into
existing and new development aid projects and an expanding exchange of
professionals between institutions in the developing and in the more devel-
oped countries of the world. In these contexts, this paper addresses the
question of the personal and professional qualities of experts called upon to
teach and to provide advice in two Asian countries that are recipients of
substantial Australian assistance: Thailand and Indonesia.

The paper has, as one of its purposes, the development of advice on good
teaching practice. It assumes that one particularly valid source of advice will
be from practising educators. Accordingly, thirteen 'structured-group inter-
views' were conducted in 1989 with 168 Indonesian and 36 Thai academics
and teachers from six different educational institutions to gather descriptive
information about their views on experts: see Table 1.
The groups, comprising volunteer respondents from each institution,
included women and men from a very broad range of disciplines and spe-
cialities. University and IKIP staff were from the disciplines of Mathematics,
Science, Engineering, Medicine, Law, Dentistry, Economics, Education and

Table 1. Structured group interviews: Indonesia and Thailand.

Country and institution Type of institution No. of respondents

Indonesia Group 1 Group 2

Hassanudin University (Unhas) University 15 20
University of Indonesia University 25 15
IK1P Surabaya Teachers' College 20 16
Regional Centre Teachers' upgrading 18 --
(Ujungpandang, Sulawesi) centre
Vocational Teachers' Teachers' upgrading 17 22
Upgrading Centre (VTUC) centre and vocational
(Jakarta) teacher training
Srinakharinwirot University
University (SWU): (with emphasis on
Bang Saen Campus 14 11
Prasarnmit Campus 6 --
Pathumwan Campus 5 --

Physical Education, Agriculture, Social Science, Humanities, Languages, and

Technology. Staff from the teacher upgrading institutions in Indonesia were
from the vocational specialities of Food, Clothing, Business Studies, Hair-
dressing, from Educational Adminstration and from Media. The experience
of group members with experts ranged from considerable -- some had
studied for degrees in overseas universities and had worked as counterparts
with long and short-term experts -- to others who had very limited experi-
ence. Because of the organisational complexities involved in setting up the
group interviews, no attempt has been made in this study to distinguish
between group members according to gender, discipline or experience. The
paper also draws on interviews with Australian experts (n = 7), with educa-
tion professionals in Thailand and Indonesia (n --- 7), on experts' reports and
on the published literature on development, particularly on development in
The 'structured-group interviews', developed from the nominal group
technique (Delbecq et al. 1975), proceeded as follows:
-- The purpose of the project was explained together with the structured-
group interview procedure to be followed.
-- The 'interview' question, printed on a single sheet (in English -- for
Thailand -- or in Indonesian -- see Appendix 1), was distributed to each
participant with the invitation to list on the sheet as many qualities of the
effective adviser or expert as they wished and with the instruction to
prepare the listing individually.

-- When respondents completed their personal lists, they were invited to

offer one point at a time for listing on a large whiteboard at the front of
the meeting room. The listing proceeded in the 'round-robin' maturer
recommended by Delbecq in his description of the nominal-group
technique so as to maximise individual contribution to the process.
-- After each of the different points respondents had recorded had been
listed on the board and clarified, each respondent was then asked to
select from the summary listing on the whiteboard the f i v e items he or she
considered to be the most important qualities of experts and then to write
these down on a response slip.
-- The five items selected were then rated, or voted on, in order of impor-
tance using the method described by Delbecq.
-- The (anonymous) voting slips were then collected for analysis.
At each group meeting the author was assisted by a bilingual counterpart,
who was also a member of the institution from which the group was drawn.
Each counterpart had arranged the group meetings and also provided essen-
tial data recording and translation assistance during the group interviews.2


All items listed on the whiteboards were recorded in English and translations
cross-checked with counterparts and English-speaking respondents from the
groups. Votes were recorded for each item and subsequently converted by
linear scaling to a 'score' with a range of 0: -- no votes recorded at all, to
100: -- the most highly rated item from a particular country group. All items
were then assigned by two judges to five broad categories of professional and
personal qualities appropriate for experts conducting teaching activities.
Categories were developed from earlier work on teacher effectiveness
(Cohen, Trent and Rose 1973; Marsh 1987). The qualities were categorised
as follows:
-- O r g a n i s a t i o n : this refers to the ways in which teaching has been organised
and prepared for.
-- Instruction: this refers to all matters directly concerning the act of
teaching and learning, and to the assessment of learning and feedback to
-- Relationships: this refers to the ways in which teachers relate to their
students. Personal qualities are an important aspect of this category
because of their fundamental importance in any relationship.
Two further categories were indicated by the information provided by the
groups in Thailand and Indonesia and by interviewees. These two categories,
which reflect aspects of teaching and general professional competency, are:

Course content: this refers to the subject-matter, or content, included in

the curriculum by the expert.
Expertise: this includes professional expertise as well as expertise in the
culture, understanding of local issues, and ability to communicate in the
local language.

Results and Discussion

The qualities listed by the respondents in the structured groups generally fall
into the categories specified above, although inevitably there are the few that
could reasonably be assigned to more than one category. Considered
together, in their categories, the qualities describe aspects of professional and
personal conduct considered to be important and relevant in the eyes of the
people with whom the expert must interact. Considered comparatively, the
categories give a general picture of the relative importance of different
personal and professional qualities. For example, a simple count of the
number of qualities listed by respondents in the five different categories gives
the distribution shown in Table 2.

Table 2. Distribution of qualities -- Indonesia and Thailand.

Category of Indonesia Thailand

qualities No. Percent No. Percent

Relationship 59 32 41 60
Expertise 64 35 20 29
Instruction 40 22 5 8
Course content 11 6 2 3
Organisation 10 5 -- --
Total 184 100 68 100

Precedence is given by respondents to qualities of Expertise and Relation-

ship. Instruction, Course content, and Organisation, are seen to be relatively
less important. (However, it can be argued that Course content and Organi-
sation are implicit in the expert's Expertise and in the quality of Instruction,
The relative importance assigned by Thai and Indonesian educators to
different qualities is further illustrated by examining the five top-rated items
from each of the groups interviewed. The importance of Expertise and
Relationship is again illustrated. Table 3 presents expert's professional and
personal qualities rated most highly by the four groups of Thai educators.
The full inventory of the 68 items describing the qualities is available

Table 3. Qualities and ratings -- Thailand.

Rating of professional and personal qualifies of experts Category Institution and group
(1 = highest rating, 2 = second highest rating, etc. etc.)

1, Very good academic knowledge Expertise SWU Bang Saen-1

2, Experience Expertise
3. Good human relationships Relationship
4, Well informed in national characteristics Expertise
5. eq Can apply educational technology Instruction
5. eq Know about Thai educational system and Expertise
5. eq With Thai cultural background Expertise
1. Be an expert in his/her field Expertise SWU Bang Saen-2
2. Has good human relationships Relationship
3. Be sincere to help our country and transfer Relationship
knowledge to Thailand
4. Has good personality Relationship
5. Understand Thai culture Expertise
1. Academic excellence Expertise SWU Pathumwan
2. Knowing Thai cultural background Expertise
3. Having human relationships among participants Relationship
4. Being broad minded and accepting others ideas Relationship
5. Willing to work with Thai people Relationship
1. Expertise in particular field Expertise SWUPrasarnmit
2. Understanding of Thai culture and Expertise
relationships among Thai educational aspects
3. Good communication skills Instruction
4. Be able to apply knowledge in any situation Course content
5. eq Be in good health Relationship
5. eq Creative in new ideas and models Expertise
5. eq Specialised in instructional techniques Instruction

separately from the author. The most highly rated qualities listed in Table 3
are reported in the words used by respondents and have not been edited.
Table 4 presents professional and personal qualities of experts rated most
highly by the nine groups of Indonesian educators. The full inventory of the
184 items describing the qualities is available separately from the author. The
qualifies listed in Table 4 are reported in the words used by respondents and
have not been edited.

Characteristics of Effective Teaching by Overseas Experts

The following discussion seeks to explain and to describe each of the cate-
gories both in the terms of the qualifies identified by respondents to the

Table 4. Qualities and ratings -- Indonesia.

Rating of professional and personal qualities of experts Category Institution and group
(1 ~ highest rating, 2 ~ second highest rating, etc. etc.)

1. Competent/expert in his field Expertise IKIP-Surabaya l

2. Ideas and approaches should be applicable in Course content
Indonesian setting
3. Should make the effort to be as communicative Instruction
as possible when teaching
4. Should have a good personality (sense of Relationship
humour and friendly)
5. Should be able to speak Indonesian Expertise
1. Have a speciality Expertise IKIP-Surabaya 2
2. Good verbal communication Instruction
3. Can find more effective teaching method Instruction
suitable to Indonesian conditions
4. Willing and able to pass on their knowledge Relationship
and skill
5. Experience in teaching in their discipline Expertise
1. Can speak/understand Indonesian Expertise Regional Centre
2. Friendly Relationship
3. Professionality Expertise
4. Knowledge of theory and practice Expertise '
5. Practical knowledge-applicable Course content
1. Explaining matter systematically and efficiently Instruction Unhas - 1
2. Material prepared and submitted to students Organisation
3. Broad knowledge of Asia and subject Expertise
4. Communicated well Instruction
5. Good English Expertise
1. Material well prepared and distributed to Organisation Unhas - 2
students/up to-date and relevant
2. Teaching method Instruction
3. Language: Bahasa Indonesia Expertise
4. Media Instruction
5. Consultation after the course Instruction
1. Subject expertise Expertise Uni Indonesia 1
2. Ability to adjust to local need Relationship
3. Responsibility for programme achievement Relationship
4. Has relevant experience Expertise
5. Clear explanation Instruction
I. Competence in teaching and research Expertise Uni Indonesia 2
2. Knows characteristic and culture of Indonesia Expertise
3. Motivating personality Relationship
4. Consultant has access to scientific eentres and Expertise
researchers in the discipline
5. Emphasis on benefit for Indonesian conditions Course content

Table 4 (Continued)

Rating of professional and personal qualities of experts Category Institution

and group
(1 = highest rating, 2 = second highest rating, etc. etc.)

1. He should be an expert in his field Expertise VTUC -1

2. He should transfer his knowledgeand s k i l l Instruction
3. Up to date with knowledge (applicable) Expertise
4. Competent in planning and implementation Organisation
5. He should be creative and disciplined Relationship
1. Shouldbe an expert in his field Expertise VTUC-2
2. Course content should relate to needs Course content
3. Shouldmotivate the counterpart/student Instruction
4. Shouldwork to improve science Course content
5. Highresponsibilityin his task Relationship

structured group interviews, through individual interviews, and in terms of

practice reported by experts and researchers in the literature and in reports
to aid agencies.


'Expertise' is a major consideration in determining personal and professional

effectiveness. Expertise was rated as the most important characteristic in
eleven of the thirteen structured group meetings in the two countries. Four
kinds of expertise were identified in this study.

Technical Expertise in the Profession

This kind of expertise is a blend of formal qualifications and professional
experience, including developing country experience and, in the vocational
areas, relevant industrial experience. Technical expertise -- or professionality
- has three key qualities:

- currency (e.g., 'being up-to-date')


- competence (e.g., 'subject expertise', 'academic excellence')


-- comprehensiveness (e.g., 'high level of education', 'industrial experience',

'well prepared in problem solving', 'jack of all trades', 'broad knowledge
of Asia')

Cultural Knowledge and Understanding

In both Indonesia and Thailand, respondents regularly identified 'under-
standing of the local culture' and 'understanding us' as important qualities.
(Such understanding, they cautioned, must not lead the foreigner to try to
behave like a Thai or Indonesian.)

Language Ability
One route to greater cultural understanding is through language learning.
However, this kind of expertise was seen as important in this study only by
Indonesian respondents (although one Thai interviewee thought it might be
helpful to learn a few key words and phrases of Thai). For Indonesians,
language ability has two dimensions. The first is an appreciation of the
expert's ability to be able to speak Bahasa Indonesia. This ability is seen as a
means of enhancing communication and as an indication of cultural interest
and understanding. The second dimension of language ability is the capacity
to speak clear English. This dimension was raised only in Indonesia.

Expertise in Education
Here, competence in an understanding of teaching, curriculum, the national
education system, research methods and student learning characteristics are
seen as important. Technical expertise is essential in establishing credibility.
Interviews in both Thailand and Indonesia indicate that local professionals
have concerns that some experts are less qualified and experienced than
some of their own colleagues. Credibility suffers in these cases.
Finally, it is not sufficient just to be expert in the diverse areas named
above. It is vital to discharge this expertise through a willingness to work
hard. According to several interviewees, this requires more than a solid
9-to-5 day. It can involve evening preparation and marking, putting effort
into establishing and developing relationships, (both on-the-job and off-the-
job through social activities), and the ability to seek out areas where addi-
tional professional contribution can be usefully made, particularly as contexts
and needs change.


Studies of teaching effectiveness consistently draw attention to the impor-

tance of the quality of the relationship that is established between teacher
and taught. Marsh (1987), for example, reports the following factors as
comprising the quality he describes as 'individual rapport' for teachers in
higher education: friendly, welcomed students seeking help/advice, interested
in students, and accessible. Enthusiasm for teaching is another, but separate,
factor reported by Marsh. The quality of relationships established is most
important for the expert working in Southeast Asia because of the greater
cultural importance attached to maintaining good relations with all people,
rather than stressing the individuality that is characteristic of Australian
culture. This is illustrated clearly in Table 2, which shows the very strong
emphasis placed on relationships, especially by the Thais, in comparison to
There are certain acceptable modes of behaviour within a culture. These
differ from one culture to another but are highly consistent within a culture.
It is valuable to learn what these behaviours are. Noesjirwan (1978), for

example, demonstrated differences and consistencies in behaviour for

Indonesians and Australians. Relevant examples for educational settings
-- Relationships: Indonesians, more than Australians, prefer to have good
relations with everyone.
-- Group norms: Indonesians believe that the individual should be sub-
ordinate to the group leader and that, in contrast to Australians, the
community is more important than the individual.
-- H e l p seeking: Indonesians express a greater likelihood of seeking help.
-- Attitude to life: Indonesians, more than Australians, believe life should be
calm and steady, dissent should be avoided, as should unnecessary haste
and negative emotions.
Analysis of the inventory of qualities resulting from the structured-group
interviews shows that there are four primary components of Relationship.
Each component reflects the issues identified in the previous discussion.
These components are:

Personal Qualities a n d Characteristics

These qualities include physical attributes such as good appearance and
being in good health (an attribute mentioned in Thailand reflecting anxieties
about the spread of AIDS), and personal qualities including having a 'good'
personality, responsibility, politeness, patience, enthusiasm, tolerance, sin-
cerity, versatility and flexibility. Mode of dress was mentioned during inter-
views with Indonesians as an important element of behaviour and of attitude
towards Indonesian people: scanty, tourist-like clothing is considered an
affront to Indonesian modesty.

Closely connected to the personal qualities of the expert is the matter of
attitude -- to the people with whom they work, the work itself, and to the
country generally. Respondents listed the following attitudes, among others,
as having importance: goodwill, the acceptance of participants as they are,
respect for people from developing countries, a concern for the human
environment, not being paternalistic and being positive and optimistic.

Relationships with others

Central, of course, is the way the expert relates to people with whom he or
she comes into contact, including students, counterparts and other subject-
experts. Specific aspects of this characteristic include a willingness to help,
and being friendly, attentive, and cooperative.

Leadership refers to a distinctive way in which the expert relates to others
and has been identified here as a separate characteristic. Experts' leadership

has been a topic of study in its own right. Schwarz, quoted in van den Bor
(1983:164) identified eleven dimensions of project leadership. Many of these
elements are strikingly similar to the qualities described in this study. The
elements of leadership Schwarz identified are: technical qualification, admin-
istrative ability, interpersonal relations, motivation, acceptance of constraints,
stability, poise, 'backbone', security and political finesse.

All interviewees stressed the priority of relationships and personal qualities

in the work of experts. One experienced Australian teacher and aid adminis-
trator asserted that interpersonal relationships -- based on cultural sensi-
tivity, personal flexibility and a genuine respect for local people -- has, in his
mind, priority over formal qualifications and experience. Another drew
attention to the dangers of acting paternalistically, to being patronising and
dominating and to behaving as a 'father' figure, especially when there is a
tendency by some local persons to indulge the expert in ways that foster just
these kinds of behaviour. These behaviours create barriers which can impede
learning and development. Quite the reverse is required of expatriate leaders:
they must strive to develop confidence and independence in those they are
teaching, assisting or supervising. Rather than building barriers and being
distant, one senior Indonesian school principal argued that it was important
for the expert to be 'close' to the people with whom she or he is working and
to appreciate their achievements. A good way of achieving this 'closeness',
according to both Indonesian and Australian interviewees, is to join in local
social activities such as outings, dinners and parties. A Thai academic
proposed that the expert should not be too 'serious' and should adopt the
Thai character of 'laughter and smiles'.
The practical importance of relationships in successful educational devel-
opment projects is illustrated by Ely. In his analysis of the diffusion of educa-
tional technology in Indonesia he identifies four categories, or 'lessons',
for project success. These are: attention to cultural affairs, personnel and
training, organisation and management, and leadership. A distinguishing
characteristic of each of these lessons for project success is that they are all
people-oriented and focus in different ways on the relationships established
between experts and local persons (Ely 1989).

Careful organisation, planning, and preparation are acknowledged hallmarks
of good teaching and management. There are three major 'players' in
organisational matters: the aid-provider, the expert and the host institution in
the developing country. There are two related, but distinguishable, aspects of
organisation: educational planning and preparation, and administrative
planning and preparation. Table 5 lists components of organisation identified
in experts' reports held by IDP -- the International Development Program of
Australian Universities and Colleges. The list is not intended to be exhaus-

Table 5. Components of organisation, planning and preparation.

Administrative preparation Educational preparation

By Expert By Expert
Establishing reliable communication with Timetabling
Clarifyingroles and purposes Content, approach, materials, and
methods of instruction
Prior site inspection Prior discussion with participants about
educational context and needs
Preparation for work in a different culture
By Overseas Host Institution By Overseas Host Institution
Photocopying/printing facilities Selection of appropriate staff:
Rooms and equipment (a) as counterparts for experts
Transportation (b) as participants
Release of and support for staff to attend
Location of course

five. It is simply a reflection of important and distinctive organisational

concerns that have been addressed by experts in the past.
Experts identify establishing reliable communication and preliminary visits
as important for both administrative, cultural and educational reasons. In
recounting his visit to prepare for a teaching methods course in Indonesia,
Hore notes that: "This was a very valuable visit for me not only as it enabled
me to consider the emphases and content of the course most appropriate for
Unhas, but because I acquired local knowledge and the realization of the
need for my team to have some Bahasa Indonesia in order to understand the
cultural nuances" (Hore 1982:1).
It is clear, from experts' reports and from the group interviews, that an
important aspect of preparatory work is the attention given by the host to
matters related to participant selection, notification, support and release-time
to attend the activity. The frequency with which experts' reports refer to the
matter testifies to its importance.
The organisational support and encouragement of senior staff appears to
be critical. However, all the support and encouragement in the world will not
overcome timetabling and course structure problems -- an issue identified in
experts' reports and in interviews with experts. Timetabling flexibility, while
maintaining adherence to a well-worked out course structure, was considered
by one interviewee to be a very desirable strategy of adjustment to local
needs and circumstances without sacrificing the direction of an activity
altogether. As a summary guide to organisation, the following principles
and recommendations variously suggested by Wallace and Wisher (1983)
Andrews, Housego and Thomas (1986) and Edwards (1989) are presented.

The principles reflect the qualities identified by respondents and interviewees

in the present study.
-- Respect participants' knowledge and culture
- hnplement interactive methods

- Engage participants in programme design, development, implementation


and follow-up
- Focus on the development and application of problem-solving strategies

As Edwards asserts: "In all sectors of development, the adoption of problem-

solving approaches is much more important than communicating particular
packages of technical information. If people can analyse, design, implement
and evaluate their work in a critical fashion, they stand a good chance of
achieving their objectives" (Edwards 1989:119).
There is evidence in responses to the group interviews that this need is
recognised in Indonesia and in Thailand. Practical, problem- and skill-
oriented training and approaches are seen as important qualities of Expertise,
Course content and Instruction.
Each of the aspects of Organisation discussed above has been referred
to by respondents. But as Table 2 indicates, Organisation is considered by
them to be relatively less important than the other qualities. Yet without
careful organisation none of the other factors can operate. Courses have
failed because of a lack of attention to organisation by one or more of the
aid-provider, the host institution or the expert.


Instruction is defined to include such matters as teacher presentation and

explanation, class interaction and participation, learning, assessment and
feedback. These matters refer to the processes of teaching and learning. An
important feature of these processes is the extent to which they facilitate
effective coinmunication. And it is the matter of communication that is of
particular importance to the group-interview respondents. It is important in
two ways. First, to be able to speak the language is seen as a means of better
communication and of cultural understanding. It is also seen as an indicator
of interest in the country. An ability to communicate in Indonesia -- or at
least the motivation to learn the language -- was listed by all groups in
Indonesia. (By way of contrast, being able to speak Thai was not listed by
any Thai group.) Second, effective communication is seen as an integral part
of the whole process of instruction.
A key difficulty in instruction may be the expert's lack of skill in the local
language and possibly even a lack of awareness of language difficulties
created by pace, accent, and the use of metaphor and colloquialisms. To
some extent, the latter is most easily addressed by slowing down and by using
clear, simple standard English. The relevance of this skill is emphasised by its
being listed as an important characteristic by four of the Indonesian groups.

Lack of skill in the language of the host country is a difficult problem, but, in
theory at least, partly resolved by moving away from formal presentations
toward interactive problem-based learning -- indicated as desirable by
experts and respondents alike. Such a move has the additional benefit of
reducing the 'risk' of creating and transferring packages of Western tech-
Experts' reports reveal a variety of instructional approaches. Some indi-
cate a reliance on the traditional lecture method, possibly reflecting a
reported expectation by participants to be 'lectured', whereas others describe
interactive approaches. A few describe approaches designed to address quite
specific instructional concerns. For example, Hore describes contract learn-
ing as a means of establishing personal commitment and relevance of course
work to local needs and practice. Hore describes contract learning as that
" . . . where the participants, with assistance from the consultants, specified
what they would do and actually signed a contract with the team agreeing
that they would complete the requirements by a specified date. We reasoned
that the question of 'relevance' could not be denied if this technique were
successful" (Hore 1982:2).
According to Hore, the approach was positively received: "The thing that
the participants seemed to appreciate most was the time that had been
allowed in the workshop to practise some of the skills and ideas that had
been communicated. An important element of this was the Personal Project
module (Hore 1982:2). (This module provided the opportunity for partici-
pants to complete something of interest to them which could be used in their
teaching. Thus, desirable Course Content characteristics of applicability,
practicality and relevance were achieved.)
The Instructional process -- according to responses from the group inter-
views -- should have the following further characteristics:
- Motivation of students. Contract learning is one instructional approach to

help foster motivation. Another, reported by an Australian interviewee, is

to ensure that clients experience success on tasks that are important and
relevant to them early in a consultancy: it being important to ensure
that clients feel they are contributing to the attainment of consultancy
- Selection and use of up-to-date and appropriate methods and media

- Systematic and effective explanation


-- Active, practical teaching methods

- Assessment, feedback and support to students that includes: pre-testing,

the identification of students' background: their strengths and their

weaknesses; monitoring of student progress; constructive criticism; and
after-course consultation and follow-up.

Course Content

This refers to the subject-matter, or content taught in a course or similar


activity. To a large extent, what is taught is usually left to the professional

judgement of individual experts or to course planning teams of experts and
counterparts. This state of affairs may ignore a variety of critical issues such
as those raised in the group interviews. These issues include the applicability
of new knowledge, the benefit of that knowledge for the nation and the
practicality of ideas and technologies. Newble and Cannon (1989) report a
number of different criteria for selecting course content that are relevant to
the present discussion. These criteria are:

Philosophical Criteria
These criteria focus on theoretical, methodological and value positions. For
- - Content should emphasise the practical rather than the theoretical.
- - Content should provide participants with resources to critically assess the
ethics of development issues, and the relevance, applicability and impact
of new ideas.

Psychological Criteria
These criteria relate to the application of psychological principles -- espe-
cially of learning theory -- to teaching:
-- Content should be carefully integrated to avoid fragmentation and con-
sequential loss of opportunities for participants to develop 'deep' ap-
proaches to learning.
Content selection must provide opportunities to emphasize and to
- -

develop higher-level intellectual skills such as reasoning, problem-solving,

and creativity.
Content should relate to the development of attitudes and values as well
- -

as intellectual and practical skills. In particular, the expert's course

planning should lead participants to greater levels of self-confidence and
to the reduction of attitudes of dependency where they exist.

Professional Criteria
These criteria recognize that courses for the professions may have explicit
legal and professional requirements:
- Content must provide the kinds of theoretical and practical experiences

required for professional practice.

- Content should include attention to professional ethics.

-- Content should take account of local standards and procedures of profes-

sional practice.

Practical Criteria
These criteria concern the feasibility of teaching something and may relate to
resource considerations:

-- Content could be developed from local experience, case studies, materials

and resources.
-- Content may be derived from one or two major texts because of a lack of
suitable alternative materials.
-- Content could be influenced by the availability of a 'key' teaching
resource: library materials, computer equipment, laboratories, people, the
physical environment, etc.

Participants' Criteria
These criteria relate to the characteristics of the participants on a course. The
Participants' criterion is an important one. It was raised in several interviews.
An issue here relates particularly to the level at which material is presented.
'Knowing the background' of the participants will help avoid embarrassment
when the expert's expectations are placed at the wrong level, when the level
of rigour is not appropriate, and when the pace of teaching leads to frustra-
tion or failure. Some experts, in the interviews, advocated timetabling flexi-
bility, in addition to careful preparation and course design, as strategies to
minimise the risks of teaching at the wrong level.
Alatas has drawn attention to a special problem when Southeast Asians
study abroad or when they participate in educational development activities.
He uses the terms 'captive' and 'captor minds' to describe the problem: "A
captive mind i s . . . a product of higher institutions of learning either at home
or abroad, whose way of thinking.., is dominated by Western thought in an
imitative and uncritical manner" (Alatas 1975:39). A captor mind is " . . . the
Western scholar or his Asian disciple who imparts knowledge through books
or lectures in a manner which does not promote consciousness of the funda-
mentals of scientific thinking and reasoning . . . it [knowledge] is not con-
textual, is not philosophical, is not relational, and is not intercultural" (Alatas
Alatas proposes that the problem can be overcome by awareness of the
potential problem, by learner assimilation in a selective and constructive
manner, and by teachers drawing attention to the problems of uncritical
imitation of knowledge. This process may involve the expert in drawing on
his or her experience in developing countries to provide relevant examples,
or the use of locally available case studies. We have already seen that
previous professional experience in developing countries is one characteristic
of Expertise considered important by respondents. Respondents also report
that the material taught by experts should be practical, relevant, beneficial
and applicable to local conditions and needs. If these criteria are adhered to,
they may also act as effective antidotes to the problem described by Alatas.


When they had completed their listing and review of qualities expected of

advisers, members of the groups smiled knowingly: "We have described the
perfect person," they said. Indeed, a great number and variety of qualities
had been identified. It is unlikely that any one person would have all of them.
Even if he or she did, it would be no guarantee of successful teaching in
development work. So much can depend on other complex factors, some of
which may be beyond the reach of the expert. Hennis, quoted in van den Bor
(1983:163), proposed the following factors of this kind: the social context of
the developing country; the expert's spouse and family; the characteristics of
the assigning organisation, and factors in the social context of the expert's
own country.
The qualities thought to be important for effective teaching have been
assigned to five categories: Expertise, Relationships, Instruction, Organisation
and Course Content. A problem with categorisation like this is that it is
potentially sterile and static -- when in fact the work of the expert is rich and
A sense of this richness and dynamism comes from looking at the lists of
qualities in a different way. First, we can see that there are certain funda-
mental qualities and qualifications that an expert is expected to possess.
These are described under the headings of 'Expertise' and 'Relationships' --
such qualities as technical expertise, cultural knowledge, personal qualities
and attitudes reflect the richness of an individual's education and personality.
To a large extent, however, these qualities describe a static dimension of the
expert -- the givens -- or what the expert is as a person. Second, there is the
dynamic dimension; this dimension, according to the respondents in this
study, is about what the expert does. What the expert does is part of his or
her working and social relationships, of the qualities of leadership, organisa-
tional skill, instructional processes, communication, and of the material
taught. When we examine what is taught -- Course Content -- we see that it
is dynamic in that it has direction and it has consequences. Indonesian
respondents, particularly, pointed to this aspect of Course Content. It is
directional and consequential in the sense that the material taught should 'be
applicable to Indonesian settings', that it should 'relate to needs' and
emphasise 'benefit for Indonesian conditions'. In other words, an outcome of
what is taught is a sense of positive relevance to the development of the
The expatriate expert who is effective as a teacher or consultant in
Thailand and Indonesia should be in possession of a complex and wide range
of professional and personal qualities and skills, according to respondents in
this study. Professional behaviour, which is the most 'public' characteristic of
the expert in the developing country, evolves from a core of fundamental
personal and professional qualities that supports the expert's interaction with
others. Hopefully, it is this interaction which leads to constructive solutions
to problems, to meeting the needs of the people and the country, and to
providing the benefits which foreign aid is meant to deliver.
Understanding the perceived importance of professional and personal

qualities has a number of potential applications. First, the information can be

helpful to project managers and to aid providers in the design of develop-
ment projects and activities• For example, the data have direct applications
in the management of foreign aid personnel. These applications include
selection for adviser and project leadership positions, the placement and
management of staff, and the professional development of personnel prior to
overseas service and in the field. Second, a close study of the identified
qualities can be an instructive guide to the expert charged with the respon-
sibility for designing, implementing and evaluating teaching or training
The study has suggested broad similarities between Indonesia and Thailand
but also some differences. One of these differences is the relative importance
assigned to the quality of Relationships. Further work is suggested to validate
these findings in the two countries studied and to explore these differences.
To what extent the findings in the present study relate to other major
recipients of Australian aid in Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia and the
Philippines, remains unknown and is also worthy of study.


1. Experts are defined as persons assigned to provide assistance in developing

countries• The term includes all teachers, educational advisers, and educational
administrators as well as managers, technicians, operational personnel and
technical advisers• The term 'expert' (one many Westerners are uncomfortable
with) is used throughout this paper• It is a term that needs to be used with
considerable caution. As Adams (1979) points out: " . . . in Britain a doctor is a
doctor; he'll be a medical expert if he goes to halve the birthrate in Bangladesh
•.. what matters is the halo of impartial prestige his skills lend h i m . . . " (quoted
in Edwards 1989:118). The reason for using the term in this paper is simply to
maintain consistency with usage in the literature and by agencies such as
2. I am indebted to many people who freely gave their time to discuss the issues
reported here, who helped with the organisation of groups and facilities in
Thailand and in Indonesia, and who commented on drafts of this paper. In
particular, I wish to acknowledge the help of Drg Mniyani Bachtiar, The
University of Adelaide, for assistance with translation; Dr Nelwan (Unhas), Dr
Cholik Mutohir (IKIP Surabaya), Dra Felicitas Djawa (SMTK Ujungpandang),
Dra Siti Atikah (VTUC Jakarta), Dr S.O. Sri Widodo (University of Indonesia);
and Dr Sunthorn Kohtbantau, Dr Chompan Kunjara Na Ayudhya and Dr
Sumeth Deoisres (Srinakharinwirot University, Thailand), for their assistance
with the groups. My colleagues, Mr. Eugene Hejka and Dr Gerry Mullins gave
assistance with data analysis.

Appendix 1. Structured Group Interview Question (English and Indonesian


Advisory Centre for University Education

The University of Adelaide
South Australia
Group Question (Thailand)
When advisers or experts from overseas come to Thailand to teach,
they have been selected because of their professional qualifies.
There are many professional or personal qualities that an adviser
can have to be an effective teacher in Thailand.
What do you think these qualities are?
Make a list below (in Thai or English).

Advisory Centre for University Education

The University of Adelaide
South Australia
Pertanyaan Group
Bila pembimbing-pembimbing atau ahli-ahli dari luar negeri datang
ke Indonesia untuk mengajar, mereka terpilih karena karakteristik-
karakteristik keahlian mereka.
Sangat banyak karakteristik-karakteristik keahlian atua pribadi
yang membuat seorang pembimbing menjadi pengajar yang efektif
di Indonesia.
Apakah karakteristik-karakteristik tersebut menurut pendapat
Buatlah daftar dibawah ini (dalam Bahasa Indonesia atau Inggris).


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