MGMP Bhs. Inggris & IGI Sukabumi gelar Seminar

mgmpSenin, 26 Oktober 2015 sekitar 55 orang guru SMA/SMK Bahasa Inggris kabupaten dan kota Sukabumi mengikuti Seminar dan Bedah Kisi-kisi Uji Kompetensi Guru (UKG) bertempat di aula SMA PU. AL-Bayan Cibadak Kab. Sukabumi, dengan tema “Meningkatkan Kompetensi Guru Bahasa Inggris melalui UKG”. Sebagai pembicara dalam kegiatan tersebut adalah Ibu Dra. Hj. Endah Hasanah, M.Pd, Kasi P2TK Dinas Pendidikan Kab. Sukabumi, Hendi Syahmadi, M.Pd, Penulis buku “Siap UKG 2015”, dan Jasmansyah, M.Pd, tim penulis modul Bahasa Inggris pasca UKG Kemdikbud RI.

Kepala Dinas Pendidikan Kab. Sukabumi yang diwakili oleh kasi P2TK, Endah Hasanah, M.Pd mengapresiasi kegiatan yang digagas oleh MGMP Bahasa Inggris SMA bekerjasama dengan Ikatan Guru Indonesia (IGI) Cabang Sukabumi. “Kegiatan-kegiatan seperti ini sangat baik sebagai bagian dari peningkatan profesionalisme guru sebagaimana diamanatkan oleh UU Guru dan Dosen. MGMP sebagai perpanjangan tangan dari dinas Pendidikan harus bersinergi dengan berbagai pihak untuk melaksanakan kegiatan seperti seminar, worskhop, dan sejenisnya, Kata Endah disela-sela seminar. Dia berharap kedepan semakin banyak kegiatan-kegiatan serupa sehingga guru-guru di daerah mendapatkan pencerahan dari sesama guru, karena pemerintah belum bisa mengakomodir pelatihan secara massal, katanya menambahkan.

Sementara itu, ketua MGMP Bahasa Inggris SMA kabupaten Sukabumi, Jasmansyah, M.Pd mengatakan bahwa kegiatan seminar dan bedah UKG ini diniatkan sebagai jembatan untuk mempersiapkan guru, khususnya guru bahasa Inggris dalam menghadap Uji Kompetensi Guru (UKG) yang akan dilaksanakan secara nasional mulai 9 – 27 Nopember 2015. “Semoga seminar ini dapat membantu guru dalam rangka menghadapi UKG” Tandasnya.

Sebagaimana diberitakan bahwa Uji Kompetensi Guru (UKG) akan dilaksanakan secara serentak mulai tanggal 9 – 27 Nopember 2015 di seluruh Indonesia. Tujuan dilaksanakannya UKG adalah untuk memetakan kompetensi guru secara nasional, sehingga pemerintah mendapatkan data yang real tingkat kemampuan guru, baik paedagogis maupun profesional. Kegiatan UKG akan dilaksanakan melaui dua sistem, yaitu sistem online (berbasis komputer) dan manual (tes biasa). Selamat!

SMANDAK JUARA 1 DEBAT BAHASA INGGRIS TK. KABUPATEN SUKABUMI 2014

SMANDAK JUARA 1 DEBAT BAHASA INGGRIS TK. KABUPATEN SUKABUMI 2014smandak juaraSiswa/siswi SMAN 1 Cibadak kembali mengukir prestasi gemilag dalam bidang akademik. Kali ini tim SMAN 1 Cibadak berhasil menjuarai Lomba Debat Bahasa Inggris (LDBI) tahun 2014 tingkat Kab. Sukabumi yang diselenggarakan oleh Dinas Pendidikan Kab. Sukabumi. Kegiatan lomba tahunan ini digelar di Hotel Cleopatra Palabuhanratu Kab. Sukabumi, 23 – 24 September 2014. Pada event yang mengambil tema “Streghtening Friendship and Solidarity and Achievement among students Towards ASEAN Community 2015” diikuti oleh 30 tim dari 24 SMA negeri dan swasta di Kab. Sukabumi.

Dalam sambutannya, penanggungawab kegiatan yang juga Kasi PPTK Dikmen Kab. Sukabumi, Drs. Iyus Yusuf Hilmi, M.Pd mengatakan bahwa kegiatan debat bahasa Inggris adalah program unggulan dikmen dalam bidang Bahasa Inggris yang bertujuan untuk melatih kemampuan berbicara dan berfikir kritis siswa dalam Bahasa Inggris, sekaligus mempersiapkan peserta didik menghadapi perdagangan bebas dan memasuki Masyarakat Ekonomi ASEAN 2014. “Kegiatan seperti ini adalah sebaga bentuki pembuktian keseriusan pemerintah dalam mempersiapkan generasi muda yang memiliki kemampuan berbahasa, khususnya Bahasa Inggris menghadapi tantangan dunia kedepan”. Selain itu, imbuhnya “kegiatan LDBI ini juga diharapkan mampu berfungsi sebagai ajang shilaturrahmi antar siswa dan juga guru Bahasa Inggris SMA di Kab. Sukabumi untuk dapat bertukar informasi terkait dengan pembelajaran Bahasa Inggris”, jelasnya.

Sementara itu pembimbing tim Debat Bahasa Inggris SMAN 1 Cibadak, Jasmansyah, M.Pd., mengungkapkan bahwa anak didiknya memenangkan kompetisi ini tidak mudah dan butuh perjuangan dan kerja keras. “Melewati beberapa kali perdebatan dengan motion/tema yang tidak mudah tentu menjadi tantangan tersendiri bagi anak-anak SMANDAK. Lebih-lebih yang dihadapi adalah tim – tim tangguh dan unngulan seperti SMA PU Al-Bayan Cibadak (Juara 1 LDBI 2013) dan SMA IC al-Kautsar Parungkuda di semifinal dan final. Namun al-Hamdulillah, berkat perjuangan tanpa lelah dan doa dari semua pihak, akhirnya tim SMAN 1 Cibadak berhasil memenangkan perlombaan, dengan mengalahkan, dengan mengalahkan tim kuat SMA PU al-Bayan dengan skor tipis” tambahnya. Pada babak final Tim SMANDAK yang beranggotakan Sarah, Sarifadila dan Kintan berhasil meyakinkan dewan juri saat memperdebatkan sebuah motion/theme yang berjudul “This House Would Stop Building New Factories In Sukabumi” melawan tim A SMA PU Al-Bayan.

Sementara itu kepala SMAN 1 Cibadak, Drs. Dedi Sofyan, M.Pd memberikan apresiasi yang luar biasa kepada anak didiknya yang telah berhasil merebut kembali juara 1, setelah tahun lalu LDBI 2013 dimenangkan oleh sekolah lain. “Alhamdulillah, akhirnya siswa/wi kembali memberikan prestasi terbaiknya dalam bidang debat Bahasa Inggris. Semoga prestasi ini menjadi inspirasi dan motivasi bagi siswa lainnya” tandasnya. Senada dengan itu, Sari Fadhila, mewakili teman satu timnya mengaku senang dan terharu karena telah berhasil mengharumkan nama baik sekolah pada ajang yang sangat bergengsi. Dengan kemenangan tersebut,SMAN 1 Cibadak berhak mendapat uang pembinaan sebesar Rp. 4.500.000,- serta mewakili Kab. Sukabumi pada LDBI 2014 tingkat provinsi di Bandung Jawa Barat akhir bulan Oktober 2014. “Al-Hamdulillah, nggak nyangka bisa juara. Ini menjadi pengalaman yang terlupakan dalam hidup saya dan teman-teman 1 tim” imbuhnya sambil tersenyum. Selain sebagai pemenang, salah satu anggota tim, Sari Fadhila dipilih oleh tim juri sebagai the best speaker.

Secara lengkap, komposisi pemenang LDBI 2014 adalah : Juara 1 SMAN 1 Cibadak, Juara 2 SMA Pu al-Bayan, Juara 3 SMA PU al-Bayan dan SMA IC al-Kautsar. Just

SMAN 1 CIBADAK JUARA 1 LOMBA DEBAT BAHASA INGGRIS TK. KAB. SUKABUMI TAHUN 2012

TIM SMAN 1 CIBADAK JUARA I LOMBA DEBAT TINGKAT KAB. SUKABUMI 2012

Akhirnya, tim SMAN 1 Cibdak Kab. Sukabumi Jabar berhasil keluar sebagai juara pertama (GOLD MEDAL) dalam Lomba Debat Bahasa Inggris tingkat SMA se-kab. Sukabumi, yang diselenggarakan oleh Dinas pendidikan Kab. Sukabumi, 19 – 21 Juni 2012 bertempat di Aula YASTI Cisaat Sukabumi. Lomba debat ini adalah program tahunan disdik kab. Sukabumi, yang bertujuan untuk memotivasi siswa/wi siswa ihwal Berbahasa Inggris. Tim SMAN 1 Cibadak yang terdiri dari Haryo Sigit, Indri Rahma S dan Shiva Fauzia, berhasil mengungguli tiga tim dari SMA PU Al-Bayan dalam babak Final dengan tema : “THW Localize prostitution” . Mereka berhasil mendapatkan trophy, sertifikat dan beasiswa pendidikan. Sedangkan siswa yang mendapatkan The Best Speaker adalah adalah dari SMA PU Al-Bayan. Sebelum masuk ke babak final, SMAN 1 Cibadak bertanding di babak semi final melawan tim kuat dari SMA Mutiara Palabuhanratu. Sebagai runner-up adalah SMA PU Al-Bayan Cibadak. Sedangkan SMA Mutiara Palabuhanratu dan Tim dari SMAN 1 Cikembar sebagai juara tiga.

Grandfinal lomba debat ini, diadakan pada Rabu, 20 Juni 2012 bertempat di ruang aula YASTI, dan dinilai oleh tiga juri independen dari beberapa instansi di Kota sukabumi.
Dipilihnya motion/topik tentang Prostitution (prostitusi) dalam babak final karena penyakit masyarakat tersebut akhir-akhir ini sangat marak terjadi di kalangan generasi muda termasuk para pelajar/mahasiswa. Sehingga, dewan juri sepakat memberikan motion tersebut 30 menit sebelum babak final dimulai, guna menggali informasi ihwal dampak buruk dari prilaku menyimpang tersebut. Diakhir sesi, dewan juri sangat mengapresiasi penampilan kedua tim. “Perdebatan yang luar biasa. Kalian memang pantas masuk di babak granfinal. Seandainya kami boleh mengambil 2 tim sebagai juara 1, maka kalian pantas mendapatkannya. Tapi sayang kami harus mengambil 1 tim sebagai juara 1 dan yang lainnya sebagai ruuner up.” Komentar Mr. Anang yang menjadi komentator di sesi tersebut. Sementara itu, Mr. Erik (UMMI Sukabumi) menambhkan bahwa penampilan peserta di babak final tersebut sangat luar biasa. “Saya berharap kalian bisa GO INTERNATIONAL dengan skill yang saat ini anda miliki” tambahnya.

Metode lomba yang digunakan adalah format Asian Parliamentary (WSDC) yang merupakan three on three debating competition with point of information (dengan kesempatan interupsi). Pada babak  penyisihan, para peserta dinilai oleh 1 orang juri untuk menentukan 16 besar (big sixteen). Setelah 16 besar terpilih, mereka kemudian bertanding sesuai dengan lawan dan dan motion/topik yang dilakukan secara acak (undian).

Lomba diikuti oleh 22 SMA negeri/swasta se kab. Sukabumi. Dalam kesempatan tersebut, Kepala dinas Pendidikan Kab. Sukabumi yang diwakili oleh Kasi SMK sangat bangga dengan kemampuan para siswa dalam berkomunikasi dan adu argumen dalam bahasa Inggris. “Banyak orang yang tidak berdebat dalam bahasa Indonesia. Tapi hari ini saya menyaksikan tim-tim hebat adu argumen dalam Bahasa Inggris. Kalian memang luar biasa”. Kata Drs. Syamsul, MM. selaku kasi SMK yang juga penanggungjawab kegiatan.

Sementara itu, pembimbing tim SMAN 1 Cibadak Jasmansyah, M.Pd mengaku bangga dengan prestasi yang diraih anak-anak didiknya. Dia berharap prestasi ini akan semakin memacu dan memotivasi para siswa dalam meraih prestasi pada jenjang yang lebih tinggi. “Dengan prestasi tersebut diharapkan para siswa semakin termotivasi untuk belajar dan berprestasi, baik di tingkat regional, nasional bahkan internasional” pungkasnya. Pria yang juga guru Bahasa Inggris SMAN 1 Cibadak dan juga Ketua MGMP Bahasa Inggris SMA Kab. Sukabumi berpesan kepada semua siswa untuk terus mengasah kemampuan berbahasa Inggris, khususnya kemampuan speaking/berbicara. Karena salah satu parameter keberhasilan seseorang dalam bahasa Inggris adalah kemampuan mereka dalam berkomunikasi lisan.

Foto and teks : Just

Powerful writers versus the helpless readers

Powerful writers versus the helpless readers

A. Chaedar Alwasilah, Bandung | Sat, 01/14/2012 2:09 PM
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Once I raised the following question to 40 math and 60 language students in a graduate school in Bandung: If you do not understand the text you are reading, what is the reason?

You may replicate this informal survey, and very likely you will find similar findings. Almost 95 percent of my students blamed themselves. They said that they did not have the right background reading, the writer’s expertise was very high, the reading was beyond their capacity as a new learner, the rhetoric was too complicated, or they could not concentrate when reading.

Those responses indicated many things, with the bottom line being the fatalistic attitude toward a text created by a powerful writer. Readers are helpless beings spoon-fed by mighty writers. To repeat, they are passive readers.

I would hypothesize that our language education has failed to develop critical readers. Most Indonesian university graduates have learned a local language, Bahasa Indonesia, and a foreign language, especially English in the K-12 plus four-year college.

Critical readers develop an awareness of form, content and context. Form refers to the linguistic symbols employed by the writer, content refers to the meaning or substance being discussed and context refers to the social and psychological environment when the writing is produced.

When a reader says, “I do not have similar background knowledge,” he/she is actually self-contradicting. Readers, especially graduate students, voluntarily read what they think is interesting or relevant to their backgrounds. Clearly, self-contradicting indicates a lack of confidence.

When readers say, “The writer’s expertise is very high” or “It’s just beyond my capacity as a new learner,” they are distancing themselves from the writer by relegating themselves into hopelessness. Such positioning suggests superiority of the writer over the reader.

When readers say, “I have not reached that level” or “His rhetoric is too high for me,” they are evaluating themselves as if they have no entry knowledge or capacity to interact with the writer.

Similarly, when students respond, “I could not concentrate when reading,” they are blaming themselves as if all reading problems were a result of their lack of concentration.

All the sample responses to the aforementioned survey are indicative of the literacy profile of university graduates and reflect how language education is taking place in this country. This could be explained as follows.

First, the reading-writing connection approach believes that the extent of your reading determines the power of your writing. Knowledge accumulates through reading, while writing is putting the knowledge into paper. Students should be trained to share their experiences immediately through writing.

The common practice at schools is to postpone writing long after reading. Consequently, writing skill is less developed than reading skill. Such postponement has developed the attitude that writing is superior to reading, and the writer by implication is superior to the reader.

Second, our language education has produced reading-oriented rather than writing-oriented students. Such students tend to develop a fatalistic attitude toward the text. The text is perceived superior to its helpless readers.

Students should be taught to develop critical language awareness, namely sensitivity of power and ideology underlying language use.

By way of comparison, in the past religious texts were believed to be sacred. Only great religious scholars were allowed to interpret them, while lay people were not allowed to do so. Such a practice has developed uncritical readers, who will unlikely become critical writers.

Critical readers believe that both writers and readers are equally responsible for meaning making. To the question: “When you do not understand the text you are reading, what is the reason?” a critical reader could answer that the writer is not competent enough to convey the ideas and to entertain the reader.

Expert writers abide by Grice’s maxims of quantity, quality, relation and manner. They will not give more information than is required. The information is valid and relevant with the intended audience. Besides, rhetorically the information is well conveyed.

Muslim intellectuals are reminded of the Koranic verse, saying that they should make use of qaulan baliga (An-Nisa: 63), namely to speak to the audience an effective word to reach their inner selves. For Muslim intellectuals, then, to speak and write communicatively is in line with religious teachings.

Third, reading-oriented students will hardly become writing-oriented intellectuals, regardless of their expertise. When they have to write, they tend to take those maxims easy. They lack sensitivity of the psychology of their intended readers.

Exclusive intellectuals are simply ivory towers when their expertise is not understood by others. To be beneficial for the public, the expertise should be texted observing the criteria of qaulan baliga that is audience-oriented. Neglecting the criteria, the intellectuals are branded as arrogant and asocial.

Newly returned PhD holders from overseas often use their favorite textbooks that are too advanced for undergraduate students, thus treating it as if they were doctoral candidates already. The students are then overwhelmed with the materials beyond their zone of cognitive proximity and comfort.

This is not didactic, but an intellectual harassment. No wonder, my respondents responded pessimistically. Out of arrogance or selfishness, a lecturer does not realize that his/her decision discourages students from being critical readers.

The phenomenon of incorrect use of good textbooks for undergraduate students is sheer evidence that our intellectuals are more reading-oriented rather than writing-oriented. Obtaining a PhD overseas will not change the orientation at all. It is the K-12 education at home that should develop writing-oriented behavior.

Obviously overseas-trained intellectuals are not necessarily more productive in textbook writing. Instead of writing textbooks in Indonesian themselves, they often retort to recommending imported textbooks, which are designed for non-Indonesians. To repeat, Grice’s maxims are violated.

There is another danger of using imported textbooks. Our college students, who are currently more than 2.6 million in number, are brainwashed that our national language is not sophisticated enough to be a language of science and technology. Many intellectuals do not realize that this huge number is actually a captive market for self-produced textbooks.

Lacking the ability to write themselves, they recommend imported textbooks instead. Unconsciously they are showing a silent resistance toward the Youth Pledge, which recognizes Bahasa Indonesia as our national language.

It is time for our intellectuals to take pride in our national language by writing textbooks in Indonesian. K-12 education should promote productive reading-writing connections to develop young writers who will become adult writers and later, on completion of their advanced studies, intellectual writers.

The writer is a professor at Bandung Education University (UPI) and author of Pokoknya Menulis
(Just writing), 2006.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/01/14/powerful-writers-versus-helpless-readers.html

Which English should I teach and learn?

Which English should I teach and learn?

Nelly Martin, Madison, Wisconsin | Sat, 01/21/2012 1:28 PM
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One of my Indonesian colleagues asked whether she should teach either British English or American English. She and many other fellow English teachers might well have been asked by curious students.

This question caused me to brood, as I’ve encountered very similar questions since my first time teaching English as a foreign language back in Indonesia. Not knowing how to answer it comprehensively, I then went over my notes and some related journals in order to quench my thirst of this knowledge.

I am personally intrigued. It has successfully stimulated my critical thinking about the pedagogical values held by many teachers in Indonesia. Having learned and taught English for several years, I may say that I have been mostly exposed to both American and British English. In addition, many Indonesian colleagues and professors tend to downplay some other variations of English.

It might be safely assumed that there is no room for Singaporean English, Canadian English, Indian English or Dutch English. It is prevalent to believe that the correct way of pronouncing words is either American or British English. Therefore, many private and expensive schools are keen on using textbooks published either in the US or the UK.

Moreover, one of my Taiwanese colleagues at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, came up with a very similar and thought provoking question: “Why do I need to even bother teaching them about ordering food in some fancy American restaurant, when they can’t say a word about their traditional food in English?” She believes that language is the medium to convey our meaning in a wide array of contexts.

Having the students speak in many different academic and cultural contexts should be the objective of the lesson. I believe it should lead another point to ponder for teachers: “Should we teach English with the target language context or with the learner’s context?” If it is the former, whose context should it be?

I am afraid to say that I have a skeptical view of the pedagogical model of communicative competence that is based on native speakers’ standards. According to Alptekin (2002), the idea is too idealistic, unrealistic and tends to disregard learners’ cultural backgrounds in relation to English as the lingua franca and an international language. He believes that taking the idealized native-speakers as the model seems to fail to depict English as a world language.

Therefore, he states that communicative competence should incorporate both learners’ needs and their cultural backgrounds. He makes a very important point about teaching English and its culture. For many years, teaching English has been based on the native-speaker’s point of view.

According to him, it is true that communicative competence should enable the students to communicate well in the target language. However, the notion of teaching them only based on the native speaker’s model seems to be too idealistic, unrealistic and restricted.

In relation to English as a lingua franca and an international language (EIL), the idea seems to be idealistic because English has many dialects and is spoken not only by native speakers, but also by a great number of non-native speakers. Therefore, it seems unfair to teach English through one culture.

English, as an EIL, nowadays belongs to the world, so he really wonders whose culture should be taught in relation to integrating the two. He firmly states that English does not belong to one nation so teaching it based on the native speaker’s standard might be very unrealistic.

In addition, learners may not need to know British or American values. He inquires about the need to teach British and American courtesy to Turkish and Japanese learners doing their business in English. In that case, there is no urgency for students to learn British or American business ethics, due to the fact that none of the students really need the knowledge.

Therefore, an intercultural communicative competence that enables teachers to explore both the target language and students’ cultures may be a good idea to motivate the students to communicate appropriately. In addition, he suggests teachers integrate both international and local contexts in teaching students. Besides, the fact that now English is a lingua franca should be taken into consideration.

It is unavoidable that students should be more exposed to variants of English to make them aware that English is not only American or British. In fact, in their daily lives, they might be conversing in English more with non-natives than native speakers of English. It is salient to say that the numbers of non-native speakers of English are larger than native speakers. It might be safe to conclude that our students will interact and communicate more with non-native speakers of English, so exposing them to a wide array of variation should be crucial.

Furthermore, it may be also good if standardized tests like the International English Language Testing System (ILETS) or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) have non-native speakers with different accents on their listening sessions. However, it may sound controversial since it might be perceived as a non-standard of English. But is there any such thing as standard English?

The writer is a Fulbright Presidential Scholar and a Ph.D student at SLA Program, University of Wisconsin, Madison, the US.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/01/21/which-english-should-i-teach-and-learn.html

Non-native vs native English teachers

Non-native vs native English teachers

Nelly Martin, Wisconsin | Sat, 10/29/2011 12:33 PM
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To speak the global language has been an ultimate priority of Indonesian parents living in several cities nowadays. They highly expect their children to speak English flawlessly. Therefore, they send their children to private schools and language institutions that employ English as a lingua franca.

Suffice it to say, they need to spend so lavishly so that the best teachers, preferably native speakers of English who can highly expose their children with “good and natural” English, teach their children. To meet the parents’ needs, a number of private schools and language institutions hire many native speakers of English (NTs). They are believed to teach English “better” than the non-native teachers (NNTs).

It is not necessarily horrible if the schools and institutions only employ qualified teachers or tutors with both language and pedagogy skills. Needless to say, both should exist.

Munoz claims that native speakers can convey such input if only they are pedagogically equipped. However, we can easily find premium language institutions hiring NTs with no degrees in teaching language. While most of the NNTs must hold a degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), NTs can teach only by owning an online teaching certificate. Most of them, if not all, graduated from a various array of educational backgrounds except English teaching.

NTs certainly have a plus. However, the method to deliver the lesson plays another key point in a learning process. While there are few English native speakers who are pedagogically equipped, I am also under the impression that there are many of them who lack this skill. It goes without saying that lacking an appropriate method of teaching may harm the children’s acquisition process. In the long run, it may hinder their ultimate attainment of the language.

The question that we need to highlight is whether they are capable enough to teach the language appropriately without having sufficient knowledge of language methodology? The pivotal reason for having pedagogical skill is simply reasonable; language learning, especially for children, is really crucial; at this stage they acquire the language that they may retain for their whole lives. If the teachers only know the language with zero knowledge of method, it will lead to a condition where children do not necessarily learn the language, or they learn language the wrong way.

I once witnessed students end up playing games in one class without necessarily learning any lesson. Apparently a communicative and meaningful game is not every teacher’s idea. Another unforgettable experience was when I overheard some elementary students shout the “F” word outside their class. To my surprise, they said their teacher, who happens to be a NT, often used the word in class.

Another bad impression that I encountered was that some NTs could not explain some prescriptive grammar and often consulted the Grammar for Dummies book in the teachers’ room, the book that was not necessarily sophisticated enough for a “language teacher”.

I do believe many native teachers are excellent; but there are also many who lack pedagogical skills, which then raise a question about recruitment. Apparently, certain language institutions do not set a high standard for native teacher applicants. It may be safely assumed that the Indonesian Ministry of National Education does not have a specific rule about hiring NTs to teach in the country.

As a comparison, we may look at how the United States, through the Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, select foreign language teachers to teach in the universities. The FLTA (Foreign Language Teaching Assistant) program requires at least a two-year experience of teaching, a degree in language teaching (often a master’s degree is required) and at least a 550 TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score. Having all the requirements, the prospective FLTAs should undergo a set of competitive selection processes. The US government highly believes that a language teacher with an appropriate background should be the one teaching their students.

I reckon it is not a bad idea now, in retrospect; do the NTs who wish to teach in Indonesia have to go through any of this selection process and have one of these requirements?

Another question to bear in mind is that what’s with the NNTs with a TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Language) certificate? Are they not equally comparable? Limiting their opportunity to teach the language to the children may not provide them a fair game. Not to mention, many are cornered and get a lower salary than the NTs with a lower educational background.

It should be highlighted that they are not necessarily worse or even can surpass the NTs in teaching the language. Additionally, these NNTs may want to offer innumerable advantages. To be able to code-switch effectively in order to facilitate the students’ understanding is one of them.

To put it in a nutshell, I should pinpoint that a significant exposure is one contributing factor to successful language learning, among others. However, viewing native English teachers as the only agents who can do such a task may not be reasonable.

We need then to emphasize that both native and non-native teachers of English are to be on the same page: Both parties should at least have a solid background of English pedagogy, in addition to their language skills. Parents, government and the institutions should then set a comprehensive rule for the foreigners to teach in Indonesia so that all can be satisfied.

The writer is a Fulbright presidential scholar and a Ph.D student at SLA Program, UW-Madison, the United States.

 

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/10/29/non-native-vs-native-english-teachers.html

Redesigning the curriculum for English teachers

Redesigning the curriculum for English teachers

A. Chaedar Alwasilah

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Around 1 million out of 2.9 million teachers have taken a PLPG program, or mandatory professional improvement program mandated by the law. Selected LPTKs, or teacher-training universities, are tasked with carrying out the program.

Annually around 300,000 teachers are certified and it will take another four years to certify all teachers in the country.

At present there are around 130,000 English teachers, which is about 4.4 percent of the teacher population. There are only two English teachers on average in every school, suggesting that one English teacher has to handle 150 students (Hamied, 2011).

From 2009, through Ministerial Regulation No. 10/2009 on the certification of teachers, the Education and Culture Ministry requires all practicing teachers to hold a teaching certificate from the government. The main reason is because according to the previous law teachers did not necessarily hold a bachelor degree.

In many private universities and colleges, the enrollment of education majors has increased significantly and has become a lucrative asset for 128 English language training institutions throughout the country. Students’ motivation to be an English teacher is indeed very high. However, motivation alone is not necessarily a pathway to success. Equally important is what is taught to the prospective teachers in pre-service training.

A survey was conducted on two groups of EFL teachers, comprising 88 elementary teachers in Jakarta and 200 junior secondary teachers living in Jakarta and the West Java, and Banten provinces. The second group of respondents were participants of the nine-day Teacher Certification Program in September 2011, while the former were graduates of or were attending PGSD, or four-year elementary school teacher education.

According to the current policy, English is a mandatory local content subject for grades 4-6. However, many schools introduce English to grades 1-3. Despite the lack of resources, the show goes on to please parents. Most elementary teacher respondents (58.0 percent) have neither English backgrounds nor any training on English for young learners.

The qualifications of secondary EFL teachers are better as they have the following qualifications: Master’s degrees (4.2 percent), Bachelor’s degrees (90.7 percent), and 3-year Diplomas (5.1 percent). However, at the national level the picture is discouraging. As Prof. Hamied, president of Indonesia’s TEFL (2011) has stated, only 35 percent of English teachers are academically qualified to teach.

In reality, they tend to faithfully follow available textbooks and LKS or student work sheets, which are not necessarily professionally prepared. This is a far cry from the spirit of the present school-based curriculum, which requires teachers to be creative and resourceful in developing their own instructional objectives and in managing the class.

The current teacher certification program has improved salaries, yet failed to improve teachers’ professionalism. Only 13.2 percent of them have enhanced the quality of student learning.

Secondary teachers mastered the following as part of their professionalism: (1) learning materials (51.3 percent), (2) methods of teaching (16.7 percent), (3) curriculum implementation (11.9 percent), (4) instructional technology (10 percent), and (5) learning evaluation (9.7 percent).

This suggests that for them, mastering English seems to be easier than mastering methods of teaching, implementing the curriculum, using instructional technology and conducting learning evaluation.

Apparently for the respondents, who have taught at least five years, it is easier to learn English than to learn methods of teaching.

However, recent observations of PLPG teacher participants at the Indonesian University of Education (UPI) in Bandung revealed that both junior and senior secondary EFL teachers’ mastery of English as set in the standard of content, remained weak, with an average TOEFL score of 400.

The present PLPG program consists of 90 hours of training on the following subjects: (1) teacher professional development, (2) review of English, (3) teaching methodology, (4) workshop on (classroom) action research, academic writing, learning material development, and (5) peer teaching.

The inclusion of those subjects must have been based on a needs analysis. By implication, teachers are generally weak at them and present pre-service training at LPTKs has failed to equip them with sufficient knowledge and practical know-how in those areas.

To develop professionalism in EFL teaching, proficiency in English is crucial. So is mastering the subject matter pedagogy. In other words, it is much easier to learn English than to learn how to teach it. You cannot teach what you do not know, and without subject matter pedagogy you cannot do well.

Secondary EFL teachers believe that in-service training is the most appropriate way of upgrading their professionalism, followed by training to improve English proficiency. They are less interested in obtaining a graduate degree than obtaining a teaching certificate through the PLPG as mandated by the law.

It is clear that the bedrock of EFL professionalism is teachers’ mastery of English and its pedagogy. ELT trainings and EFL professional development programs should emphasize these two aspects.

Secondary EFL teachers also reported the following aspects as those that they had mastered the least: (1) instructional technology (33.9 percent), (2) curriculum implementation (28.2 percent), (3) methods of teaching (20.8 percent), (4) EFL teaching materials (8.7 percent), and (5) learning evaluation (8.4 percent).

This suggests that instructional technology is the weakest area of EFL teaching followed by curriculum implementation and methods of teaching. Alas, many EFL curriculum developers at LPTKs have taken this issue lightly.

Prof. Watson, in his inspiring response to my article in this daily (The Jakarta Post, Feb. 11) echoed the same problems in pre-service training that existed 40 years ago.

New branches of linguistics and literature and interdisciplinary approaches to them are intellectually fascinating and selling the image. Epistemologically, there is nothing wrong with them, but over teaching them to prospective teachers of English as a foreign language at the cost of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing is educationally misleading.

It seems that most faculty members in the departments are English-minded, showing zero tolerance for un-English subjects. There is no room for reviewing students’ mastery of Indonesian language and local literature en route to English literature. They would argue that anything Indonesian is to be taught in the Indonesian language (education) department.

Watson and I share the view that the prerequisite for learning a foreign language well is first to have an excellent command of your own language.

Unfortunately, neither writing nor reading are given the importance they deserve in the current curriculum for Indonesian language teaching. How can you expect Indonesian intellectuals to write articles in international journals when they do not write well in their first language?

The writer is a professor at the Indonesia University of Education (UPI) Bandung and a member of the Board of Higher Education.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/05/19/redesigning-curriculum-english-teachers.html