Adjust Lessons to Local Needs

Kompas, page 12

English language learning in schools should pay attention to the fundamental needs of each region. Do not let the international language lessons be fixated on the prestige of native speakers’ speaking ability, but also in favor of the formation of national character. This was raised in the discussion “Ideology of Speaking: Problems of Teaching English in the Indonesian Context” in Jakarta, Friday (11/11).

Applied Linguistics lecturer at Atma Jaya Catholic University Christine Manara mentioned, in some cases, parents consider the ability to speak English is a fundamental provision so that their children would be able to compete at the global level. However, at the same time, parents worry their children lose their Indonesian cultural roots if accustomed to speaking English. According to Manara, it is inappropriate to oversimplify the overall average of students in Indonesia. Indonesian children need English at different levels.

Linguistics lecturer from the University of Houston, USA, Lauren Zentz, in the forum suggested, people of countries whose native language is not English often equate English with prestige. People who slip-in terms in the English language in everyday speech are considered more intelligent. This becomes a problem in itself in curriculum development/formulation. He added that the meaning and function of the English language is actually beyond that in the country of origin. Cross-cultural English should instill understanding, not on pronunciation based on certain countries.

This, according to Zentz, opens space for English language teaching to be more flexible and can be inserted values of the local culture so it does not become a threat to nationalism.

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