“Again, this is my article that discusse about teaching. please read, so you can improve your knowledges.”

English is continuously developing as the most widely spoken language in the world, totaling about 1.7 billion speakers, including those who speak it as their first, second, and foreign language, native or non native English speakers. It is estimated that over 1, 5 billion people are currently learning English worldwide. A computer model developed by The English Company (UK) Ltd predicts that as of the year 2030 there will be over 2 billion people across the globe learn English for many reasons.

         This figure is not a surprise as everyone knows that English has evolved to be a lingua franca bringing multiple privelages for its speakers. As Held (1999) declares ‘It is English that stands at the very centre of the global language system. It has become the lingua franca par excellence and continues to entrench this dominance in a selfreinforcing process. It has become the central language of communication in business, politics, administration, science and academia, as well as being the dominant language of globalised advertising and popular culture.’

         Education policies and curricula provide the context and specific expectations that drive student learning and achievement towards a sustainable future. The underlying policies and practices in the EFL classrooms do not always match consistently. There is an emerging need to counterbalance the power of policymakers in ensuring that balanced, pedagogically sound education policies and EFL curriculum are produced, carried out, and monitored. As one of civil society organizations, TEFLIN is well positioned to serve that mission. TEFLIN may take the initiative to engage in the EFL curriculum review project, EFL curriculum design, and reform in EFL teacher education and certification.           

         English is taught and used as a foreign language in Indonesia. In spite of the many years of English instruction in formal schooling, the outcome has not been satisfying. Very few high school graduates are able to communicate intelligibly in English. This sense of failure in the teaching of English as a foreign language may not be exclusively Indonesian and is associated with prevailing constraints shared by several other countries where English is taught as a foreign language.

         In Indonesia, independence saw the declining use of Dutch and the ready acceptance of Indonesian as the national language of the new republic. The willing acceptance of Indonesian was itself due to the fact that it was identified with a strong nationalist movement; it was not a significant ethnic language; it already had wide roots as a lingua franca; and it emerged as a national language at a time of violent social upheaval.

There are four kinds of languages used in Indonesia. The first one is the regional languages.1 The second one is the national language, Indonesian which was established as the unifying language in 1928, even before the Indonesian independence. Currently, Indonesian is used for communication among people from different language backgrounds and as a medium of instruction in schools and in formal occasions. The third one is variants of Indonesian (a mixture of the standard Indonesian and the regional language). Thus, most Indonesians, with the exception of some young people who live in big cities, are bilingual, speaking Indonesian as the national language during formal occasions, variants of the Indonesian language and the regional language as the mother tongue. The last category is foreign languages.

After the independence, Dutch was not chosen to be one of the foreign languages taught in schools because it was the language of the colonialist and it didnot have international stature. English was chosen to be the first foreign language. High schools may also opt to teach an additional foreign language such as French, German, or Arabic. Recently, after the downfall of Soeharto regime, Chinese has gained popularity and is taught in several schools.

Despite the fact that Indonesian has succeeded in maintaining its position as the national language and the lingua franca, the maintenance of English as a foreign language has been steady as it is officially taught throughout the secondary schools (six years divided into three years of junior high school and three years of senior high school). There has also been a growing tendency in many big cities to teach English beginning from the lower grades of primary schools and even from kindergarten.

Learning English in primary and secondary (Grades 1 through 12) schools serves two purposes. First, students need to be prepared to read English texts in their college years. Second, competence in the English language is still used as a determining factor in securing a favorable position and remuneration in the job market. Many job advertisements list a good command of English as one of the top requirements, hence the popularity of private English courses or schools. The academic year is divided into two semesters. Starting from Grade 4, English is officially taught for two to four hours a week. At the high school level (Grades 10 through 12), students are streamed into three divisions: the Natural Sciences Stream, the Social Studies Stream, and the Language Stream. For all three streams, English is compulsory and allotted at least four class hours per week. For the Language Stream, the time allotment for English is 11 hours per week. At the university level, many non-English departments require that students take one or two semesters of English for two hours per week.

Even though English is officially taught throughout secondary schools and at the university level in Indonesia, competence in this foreign language among high school and university graduates is generally low. Only students coming from the middle and upper socio-economic classes have the easy access and opportunity to enhance their English proficiency beyond that of their peer level through other means such as private courses, computer-aided language instruction, and exposure through Western-influenced TV channels, foreign movies, and networks with expatriate communities.

In Indonesia educational system, English instruction begins in secondary (high) schools. The role of English in high schools was “to speed up national development in addition to establishing relationship with other nations and to carrying out its national foreign policy” (Nur, 2004 cited in Imperiani 2012). Therefore, English is compulsory subject for these two levels. It is also one of the subjects

With the emergence of today’s role of English as an International language (EIL) and as a global lingua franca (ELF), it is hardly surprising that English language education has become important in many countries. Indonesia, for example, has growing number of schools range from kindergarten to university level which use English as the medium of instruction (Dardjowidjojo, 2002, cited in Imperiani, 2012).

Also, the number of English courses rapidly increases as a result of high interest of people in learning English. English is viewed by many people in Indonesia, for instance, as a requirement imposed by globalization (Zacharias, 2003; Yuwono, 2005 cited in Imperiani 2012). In fact, according to Diah (1982) cited in Imperiani 2012, English in Indonesia is also used as an international medium of communication, science and technology and is used as “sources for lexical development of Bahasa Indonesia as a modern language (Lowenberg, 1991 sited in Imperiani 2012).

As many people are aware that there can be more than one language and culture within one island of Indonesia because Indonesia consists of multi ethnic groups with hundred different local languages spread over different parts of Indonesia. Hence, generally each individual speaks two languages, a local language (Bahasa Daerah such as Javanese, Ambonese, etc) and national language (Bahasa Indonesia).

Both Nababan (1982, cited in Imperiani, 2012) and Dardjowidjojo (2000) cited in Imperiani (2012) classify languages used in Indonesia into three categories. They are vernacular/local languages (Bahasa Daerah), national languages (Bahasa Indonesia) and foreign languages. The first category is usually used as family languages for social communication in their regions.

According to Dardjowidjojo (2000) cited in Imperiani (2012) states, most Indonesian children at individual level in regional areas learn their vernaculars as their mother tongue before they learn ‘Bahasa Indonesia’ (the national language) at school. The national language is used in formal and business communication and is also used to communicate with other Indonesians of different language backgrounds. For international communication, people use a foreign language.

Dardjowidjojo (2000) and Nur (2004) cited in imperiani (2012) recognize that since independence, Indonesia has experienced several changes in curriculum with different teaching approaches or methods from grammar-translation method and audio-lingual method to communicative approach (which is regarded as the most popular teaching approach).

Language teaching involves many methods. All the available methods may be appropriate to different contexts. There is no one single method strongly recommended in the teaching of English since the level of the learners differ from one anothers. So, it becomes inevitable for a teacher to know the different methods of teaching & learning Awareness of variety of methods help him to apply the relevant method in his classroom successfully.

In the beginning, the government used the grammar-translation method left by the Dutch. Textbooks such as Abdurachman s English Grammar, Tobing s Practical Exercises, and de Maar and Pino s English Passages for Translation were widely used at the senior high school level (Dardjowidjojo, 2000 cited in Lie, 2009). In general, people preferred the British English and looked down on the American variety. Political economic shift, however, has changed this attitude.

In 1953 the Ford Foundation provided a grant to reform the teaching of English and helped set up two-year English teachers training institutes known as B1 Course to meet the growing demand for more teachers of English within a relatively short time. Acceptance into the training institutes was highly selective with only about 50 new students every year.

The training institutes then launched the Oral Approach and sent their best students to study for the MA and Ph.D. degrees in the U.S.A. English for SLTP (written between 1958 and 1962) was the name of the three series of course books written for junior high schools while English for SLTA (written between 1968 and 1972) for the senior high schools (Nababan 1982; Nababan, 1988 as cited in Lie, 2009). These two series of course books can be considered as the embryo for what was then known as the 1975 Curriculum. The four targeted skills were in the order of priority–listening, speaking, reading, and writing (Dardjowidjojo, 2000 as cited in Lie, 2009). Apparently, the English curriculum at that time was heavily influenced by the audio-lingual method and behaviorism.

Then the shift of philosophical paradigm from empiricism to nativism in the late 1950s and the sociological trends in the 1960s brought about changes in the English curriculum. As language acquisition was viewed as an individual s interaction in his/her environment, language teaching focused more on language use than language usage (Widdowson, 1978 cited in Lie, 2009).

Hyme’s concept of competence replaced Chomsky s LAD theory and the Communicative Approach (CA) began to affect the English curriculum. Thus the 1975 Curriculum was changed to the 1984 Communicative Curriculum. It is interesting to note, though, that the 1984 Curriculum contained a number of ambiguities.

The first ambiguity is the mismatch between the claim of the curriculum and the type of syllabi. Although the curriculum was labeled communicative, the syllabi in the guidelines were still very structural. Textbooks developed from this curriculum reflected this structural orientation. Many of the textbooks were misguided and treated pragmatics as a separate topic in the form of chapters rather than incorporated them in the four skills (Purwo, 1990 cited in Lie, 2009). The argument that the curriculum relied on the teachers to deliver the communicative approach was simply an unrealistic expectation. Many teachers of English in Indonesia have not themselves mastered the language they are teaching. Research indicates that many teachers of English are poor users of the language (Ridwan, Renandya, and Lie, 1996; Hamied, 1997 cited in Lie, 2009). Thus, it is very hard to expect them to facilitate the transfer of learning in their English classrooms. Another study (Supriadi, 2000 cited in Lie, 2009) reveals that the majority of teachers use the textbooks heavily and thus the teaching and learning process is very much textbookdriven. As the textbooks were still structurally-oriented, the communicative approach remained a slogan.

The second ambiguity is the mismatch between the claim of the curriculum and the organization of the skills. The order of the priority for the four skills was changed to reading, listening, speaking and writing. Apparently, the curriculum developers realized that for the majority of Indonesians, English was not a language for active communication. This, of course, contradicted the claim that the 1984 Curriculum used the Communicative Approach. In terms of the classroom methodology, there was not any significant change from that used in the two previous curricula–the grammar-translation and audio-lingual approaches. Teachers taught students discreet skills of the language and geared them toward the test.

By 1984, the revised curriculum for English in secondary schools had adopted the communicative approach with an emphasis on the development of speaking skills. However, the practice did not reflect the communicative learning (Dardjowidjojo, 2000; Musthafa, 2001; Nur, 2004 cited in Imperiani, 2012). Therefore, although the four skills remained as the targets for learning, the order of priority was changed to reading as the most important, then listening, writing and speaking.

Ten years later, in 1994, the Ministry of Education produced new curriculum to revise 1984. It is still communicatively oriented, but the official term was the meaning-based curriculum (meaningful approach) (Dardjowidjojo, 2000; Musthafa, 2001; Nur, 2004 cited in Imperiani 2012).

Nur (2004) cited in Imperiani (2012) explains that this 1994 curriculum for high schools have three types of English syllabuses. They are national content which is required to be implemented nationally and which the purpose is to develop a basic reading skill, enrichment content which provides more exercises in reading comprehension, vocabulary building, control of structures in English and so on, and local content which have materials to meet the needs of students in specific regions in Indonesia such as English for industry, tourism and business/commerce.

The curriculum is not only national, it is also compulsory. Therefore, when a textbook writer or a publisher wants to have his book used by the schools in the country, she or he has to include all the materials stated in the curriculum, including the themes, the grammar, the functions, and the vocabulary items to be learned (Dardjowidjojo, 2000 cited in Imperiani, 2012).

Furthermore, the release of Regional Autonomy Laws in 1999 made Indonesia to start its decentralization reform. The laws give autonomy to local governments and schools to have their own policy to manage their educational service provision, including English language education. This decentralization reform at school level is believed to lead to better school performance, greater school autonomy, better match between the services delivered and the students’ needs, greater parental and community involvement and greater participants in decision making (Depdiknas, 2003, cited in Imperiani, 2012).


Spielvogle, Keri.  2011. Teaching Basic Concepts for Early School Success!.  Available at: Accessed on 9 November 2012.

Jufry. 2012. Teachers’ Share: Definition of English Teaching as Foreign Language. Available at  Accessed on November 17, 2012.


About Reza Ajie Saputra
I am a researcher of educational process. This blog has made to support my research.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s