Teaching English to Young Learners in Indonesia: Essential Requirements

Teaching English to Young Learners in Indonesia: Essential Requirements

ABSTRAK : Sejak pemberlakukan kebijakan desentralisasi pengelolaan pendidikan pada tahun 2001, banyak pemerintah daerah (PEMDA) memutuskan untuk mengajarkan bahasa Inggris sebagai “muatan lokal” (mulok) di jenjang Sekolah Dasar (atau bahkan di TK). Inisiatif PEMDA ini problematis karena pemberlakukan mulok ini tanpa dibarengi dengan upaya khusus penyiapan guru bahasa Inggris untuk mengajar di SD. Artikel ini membahas profil guru bahasa Inggris yang diperlukan dengan mengajukan lima persyaratan utama: mengerti hakikat anak; mengetahui bagaimana anak belajar; mengetahui bagaimana anak belajar bahasa; mengetahui bagaimana anak Indonesia belajar bahasa Inggris ; dan mengetahui dan mampu memfasilitasi anak-anak yang sedang belajar bahasa Inggris sebagai bahasa asing di Indonesia.

Kata Kunci: TEYL; English Teaching in Indonesia; English Literacy; EFL Pedagogy; “local contents”

Decentralization of education in Indonesia has encouraged local governments to make their own decisions relative to some portion of curricular space in the form of the use of some learning hours for what has become known as “local contents” (Jalal & Musthafa, 2001). As result of this decetralized decision-making, since last decade, public interest in English for Young Learnes (EYL) has become enhanced. This is evidenced in increasing number of district and city governments all over the country which offer English classes at the elementary school level. While decisions to teach English to elementary school pupils have been made, requirements for teachers to be able to teach English well at this level are seldom discussed in public fora. As results, our knowledge about this important issue is very limited.

To make things even more worrisome, from day to day observation we can easily find cases which indicate that elementary school English teachers lack professional support and opportunities for inservice training. In addition, the current practice seems to have been guided by a very serious misconception—that is that teaching English to elementary school children does not require the same English proficiency as teaching English at a more advanced level. If not appropriately rectified, this mis-informed program implementation is bound to failure.

This article shall bring to fore what accomplished teachers of English to young learners should know and be able to do so that program planners have a relatively clear understanding of all the components necessary to create a positive environment for English teaching and learning at elementary school level in Indonesia. More specifically, using current learning theories stemming from socio-cultural perspectives (e.g., Vygotsky, Bruner, Corsaro, and Dyson) the bulk of the required knowledge base and skills has been synthesized from multiple sources and these requirements will be organized into five pillars relative to (1) who children are, (2) how the children learn, (3) how the children learn a language, (4) how Indonesian children learn English as a foreign language, and (5) how teachers can facilitate children learning English as a foreign language.

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About bachrudinmusthafa 42 Articles
Tercatat dilahirkan pada tanggal 10 Maret 1957 dari pasangan Hj Maemunah dan H. Radi Musthafa (semoga Allah Swt menyayangi mereka berdua), Bachrudin Musthafa sangat betah mempelajari bahasa sejak kecil. Sekolah Dasar (dengan nilai “ujian negara” 100 untuk bahasa Indonesia, dan masing-masing 90 untuk Matematika dan Pengetahuan Umum) sampai Sekolah Menengah Atas diselesaikan di Cirebon, sebelum kemudian hijrah untuk kuliah di IKIP Bandung (1979-1984). Setamat dari prodi Pendidikan Bahasa Inggris FKSS (kini FPBS) di Kampus Bumi Siliwangi Bandung ini, Bachrudin Musthafa bekerja di Technical Assistance Management Unit (TAMU) di bawah Proyek Bank Dunia XI Direktorat Jenderal Pendidikan Tinggi sampai bulan Mei 1990. Bulan Agustus 1990 sampai September 1997 Bachrudin Musthafa menjalani tugas belajar di Amerika Serikat. Program Master diselesaikannya di IUP (Indiana University of Pennsylvania) dengan konsentrasi kepakaran English Rhetoric and Linguistics (1990-1992) dan program doktor dalam bidang Literacy Studies diselesaikannya di The Ohio State University (OSU), Columus, Ohio, USA (1992-1997). Dengan bekal yang dikembangkannya di USA selama tujuah tahun itu, Bachrudin Musthafa selama ini mengajar di prodi Bahasa Inggris jenjang S1, S2, dan S3 dengan spesialisasi dalam Exploring Poetry; Exploring Drama; dan Literary Research (S1); Teaching English to Young Learners; Qualitative Research Methods; dan Qualitative Data Analysis (S2); dan Llanguage Policy & Planning (S3), dan beberapa matakuliah literasi dalam Bahasa Indonesia di program S2 dan S3 Pendidikan Dasar SPs-UPI, Minat keilmuannya berkisar pada literasi dini dan literasi remaja; dan metode penelitian bidang literasi.

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