The Urgencies of English Language Research at the English Education Departement, Faculty of Educational Sciences State Islamic University, Jakarta

Print This Post Print This Post
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Email this to someone

Positioning Paper for 4th ELITE International Conference, 2016

English Education Department, Faculty of Educational Sciences, UIN Jakarta.

 by: Prof. Dr. Dede Rosyada, MA

Prof. Dr. Dede Rosyada MA

Prof. Dr. Dede Rosyada MA

PREFACE

“Syarif Hidayatullah” State Islamic University, Jakarta, has a lot of excellencies compared with other Islamic universities under the Ministry of Religious Affairs. One of them is its long history in organizing English teaching program in English Education department to prepare English teachers to teach in Madrasahs and schools throughout the country. It has a lot of seniors and well experienced lecturers, well educated in some outstanding universities in the world to teach in the department.

            Other than teaching, they also produce academic papers to be published and distributed for all stakeholders and users, and even for the world academicians. One of the reasons is to get recognition from local, national and even from the world community.  Other than that, research publication is also one way that the department can be trusted and be expected  by all stakeholders and users and from the world, to become the destination to study English teaching, particularly to whom who wants to be an English teacher.

            In the same occasion, Rector of UIN Jakarta, early this year has declared amongst the senate meeting, that beginning academic year 2016, that UIN Jakarta should transform from Teaching University to Research University. The transformation has some important goals as follows:

  1. Research activity will produce some academic papers to be published local, national and international journals, to be read by all stakeholders, users, national and international academicians, to enhance public trust and expectation for the university as one of the outstanding university in the world.
  2. Research activity will discover new theories and new technologies to be utilized by the industry, government and other institutions. In the context of the economical development, new discovery should give contributions to enhance productivity and to promote the country’s income to become a developed country.
  3. Research activity will open the opportunity for lecturers and the scientists from UIN Jakarta to get new patent right. Getting patent right is a desirable moment for the scientist because this is the academic honour and dignity from the country to the scientist that works to promote the country’s welfare.

             However, the English teaching learning for the students of Indonesian schools and Madrasahs is still not successful yet. It can be seen that majority of the Indonesian students from high schools still cannot speak English well, even though they have already studied English since they were in secondary schools. Commonly, Indonesian students learn English for six year, three years in the secondary school and three years when they study in the high school. Nevertheless, mostly they aren’t fluent enough to read, to speak, and to listen in English, more over to write in English.

            That is one of the of the Indonesians’ problems today. At the moment, the country is facing globalization. It has been started by ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) where the ten ASEAN countries become the open market for all ASEAN community to develop business, extending partnership, or at least to find the job work. Therefore, to be able to communicate in English becomes the most important skill to be prepared by everyone, including all students from Indonesian universities. It is because English has been decided to be used, or empirically English has been used as a common language amongst all these ten countries.

            Hence, English language teaching department, has a very important position to develop a model in designing design English teaching program for the student of high school to get a better result. The program is also must be prepared to develop the learning process that can be helpful for our student to improve their ability in English communication including to provide more opportunity for the students to practice their English during school time.

            These ideal approaches cannot be instantly well designed amongst Indonesian universities, even in the university that organize English departments, whether English literature, or English education department. It needs affirmative political decision from the university, because it relates to the time management, facilities, and also additional budget to maintain the sustainability of the program.

            Therefore, how to minimize the budget for those new models of learning treatment, and how to maximize the learning result by the optimizing of all available facilities, and also what kind of teaching approach and teaching method to be implemented are some of the problems that need deep analysis through serious work of research.

RESEARCH UNIVERSITY , WHAT IS DIFFERENT ?

            Early year 2016, Rector UIN Jakarta has delivered a serious speech in front of the university senate asserting that start in academic year 2016-2017, “Syarif Hidayatullah” State Islamic University (UIN), Jakarta, will start transforming its academic framework, from teaching university to research university. The reasons are:

  1. State Islamic University needs to be recognized by the world, because the university has a long history in promoting pluralism, moderation and tolerance among divers, whether on religion and belief, ethnic, or culture. Indonesia has been recognized by the world as the biggest democratic muslim country, as a result from education and academic work from Muslim academicians. Therefore, it is important for other countries in the world to study about Indonesia. Including to learn about how to develop pluralism behaviour amongst the people. It is started from university. How to attract the world community to come, the campus needs to be trusted, and to be expected. Research is the best way to promote trust, expectation and to gain world’s recognition, by publishing all the research results in the international publication, and can be accessed by the world academicians.
  2. Indonesia today is facing and even entering globalization era, beginning from AEC. The implication is, flowing in and flowing out human resource among the ASEAN community will dynamically happen near future, and even it has been happening since now on. It is needed to prepare Indonesian students to become the most ready ones to compete with some of their colleagues from other ten ASEAN countries. Therefore, the university should redesign the models and approaches of teaching and learning English for the students, which can help them to accelerate their ability in English communication. The models and approaches should be analysed and reformulated through serious and academic research, before they are implemented in the university or in other Indonesian universities to prepare their students to enter ASEAN Market.
  3. “Syarif Hidayatullah “ State Islamic University (UIN), Jakarta, since May 2016, has been recognised by ASEAN countries as the eligible university and also has fulfilled all requirements as one of the most qualified universities in ASEAN through AUN QA assessment.  Hence, in the near future, UIN JAKARTA will be the targeted institution for candidates from ASEAN to study in all fields, not only in the assessed study programs, but also in all programs that provided by the university. So, the English Education department should be the pioneer in using English as the daily language, instructional language, and also the official language as well as cultural language that can be found at the cafeteria, dining room, rest room, and also at the park in campus. A guideline book based on research work on how to start it, and how to step it up will be needed. Therefore, it will be legitimate to be implemented among all academic community in the campus, and UIN JAKARTA will be very ready to welcome all overseas students, without Indonesian language preparation. English capacity, and English capability is not only belonging to the overseas scholars, but it belongs to everyone who wants it.

            According to the bill of higher education number 12 year 2012, the lecturer whether a professor or below, has a great job as the scientist, to transform knowledge, science and technology for the students, and to develop knowledge, science and technology through scientific research, and distributing it on two ways work, publication and community outreach[1]. Actually, all lecturers are scientist, and the job for scientist isn’t only teaching but also researching to discover new theories and new technologies that needed by industries, government or other institutions that work on public services.

Looking at the fact that UIN JAKARTA has emerged as the biggest university among State Islamic Universities, fairly to transform its framework from teaching to research university, that can turning its dedication to the world not only producing human resource to enter job market, but also discovering new theories and new technologies for industries, government offices and other service institutions.

            Therefore, the Rector of UIN Jakarta, has decided to develop four aspects in the campus that should be prepared to attain the world qualification as a research university[2]. Those four aspects are:

  1. Changing mindset, the lecturers are requested to change their mindset from teacher to researcher, as defined in the bill of higher education, that lecturer is a professional educator and a scientist, by the obligation to transform, to develop and to publish knowledge, science and technology through educational process, research and community outreach.
  2. Changing the paradigm of job distribution amongst lecturers, by minimizing teaching and maximizing research.  The dean can diversify lecturers on to two groups, the first one is the lecturers who focus on teaching, by maximizing the job for teaching and minimizing the credit for research or academic writing. The second group will be the lecturers and professors focus on research by maximizing credit for research and minimizing it for teaching. So, the evaluation form to assess their working performance should be re-adjusted.
  3. Extending cooperation with the central, and district government offices, and also with the industrial corporations, whether in the field of marketing, managerial or technology to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of production process. This kind of working frame will be a new model in academic work of the university, because of changing the position of external cooperation from a voluntary to the compulsory work, and reported to the university as part of implementing obligation job.
  4. Providing information and technology to ease the implementation of the job of the lecturer particularly for research work. Information technology supports information about evidence, related journal and also virtual literature that always needed by researchers. Information and technology also needed by the lecturers to provide learning material, student’s work, and communication between students and lecturers.

             “Syarif Hidayatullah” State Islamic University Jakarta, has been starting to change the paradigm of academic management by maximizing research work for lecturers since last semester, and will be followed for the next semester to extend research collaborative with outstanding campuses from overseas universities that have committed to cooperate with UIN Jakarta.

            This year, UIN Jakarta has been successfully implementing collaborative research with 15 campuses in Europe, Asia, Australia, Middle East countries, North Africa, and Australia. UIN Jakarta has also invited some international researchers to come to Indonesia, to do their research in Indonesia. Collaborated with local professors, those research results will be published together in international publications.

            This new decision has changed the academic environment in the campus, and has successfully encouraged the internal academic community to be optimistic to be recognized by the world community and for being one of world class universities.

THE URGENCIES OF RESEARCH IN THE FIELD OF ENGLISH TEACHING

English teaching is one of the key successes in globalization because the first thing is to use it as a mean of global communication, which is being started from regionalization amongst ten ASEAN countries. English is one of the world languages used by a big numbers of the world population, whether as a native language, official language or even as a second language.

            Now Indonesia is challenged by AEC, by free flow of service started early at 2016. ASEAN communities are influenced by English, led by Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei Darussalam, where those were the imperium of UK and Philippine where it ever closed to US as a political and defense partner. So, those countries are English speaking countries even as a second language. Indonesia is in the dilemma, whether entering AEC by adopting English as second language or isolated from AEC by ignoring English. Meanwhile, many universities have already started to prepare their students to enter a wide market in ASEAN by developing bilingual campus.

            Due to those reasons, UIN Jakarta thinks hard how to develop the capacity of the students from English departments in all aspects of language, speaking, reading, writing and listening. The problems are the teaching approaches that must be enable the students to improve their English for academic purposes. It is a need to understand English well in the grammatical aspect, because they need to understand a lot of scientific books written in English, and then they have to write papers in English, and present the papers in international conferences.

            Svetlana N. Khamova, from Russia, concluded that:

“Communication is a platform for effective team-work. In the era of globalisation professionals must be team players. They have to cooperate, collaborate and communicate with specialists come from different backgrounds. To communicate successfully people need to develop communication skills. It is common knowledge that communication skills are developed in discussions. Students consider the more developed communication skills they have the more higher position (both in the society and company) they could occupy[3].

She also concluded that the most important skill in language is communication skill. The students will enter global market and the first thing that could happen to them is interview. Then, they will be a part of team work where they should be able to explain their ideas, to discuss them, and reformulate the conclusion of the discussions. All managerial process will be running in English, consequently, the students should be able to speak and to write in English as the two aspects of communication.

            The problem of redesigning the English teaching to improve the capacity on communication will be related to the curriculum, learning design, classroom facilities, and motivation of the students. Curriculum related to the learning materials, whether the department is trying to promote the capacity of the students to understand English grammatically or to train the students to speak fluently, writing English rapidly, or to train the students to be able to listen carefully. The difference in stressing the learning point will imply the different treatment on learning process. All kinds of changing needs to be decided carefully, research based consideration, and then decided as the management decision, that will attract all academic communities involve in the implementation.

            The second point that is the indication to develop research in enhancing the quality and relevance of English teaching is the motivation, that is the motivation of the student to learn. Andrea Koltai from Institute of Modern Languages, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, stressed that motivation of the student to learn is one key success[4]. If the students entering the class with high motivation to learn the subject, learning process will be running effectively, but if there is initial lack of motivation, learning process will run weary, and learning result will not be satisfactory both for teachers and students. Therefore, he stressed the point that research about encouraging and maintaining motivation is a very smart way to promote the classroom environment, to attract the student involvement, and optimizing learning result that will be indicated by achieving learning goals, and attaining all competence indicators.

Andrea Koltai, then explained that there are three domains in motivational research[5], (a) generating initial motivation; (b) maintaining and protecting motivation; and (c) encouraging positive retrospective self-evaluation. Teachers need to generate positive attitudes in the classroom if students lack initial motivation; one means of creating one such attitude towards learning can be a stock of relevant teaching materials compiled for learners.

            Another way of establishing and maintaining motivation for students is by giving them the opportunity to be more goal-oriented. In an average class, students do not always understand or accept why they are performing a particular learning activity, so it is the teacher’s responsibility to set realistic and clear objectives and to ensure that the students understand them. Once the main aspects of creating initial student motivation have been identified, it is possible to generate or select a variety of specific classroom techniques to support particular dimensions of motivation.

            Generating motivation for student to learn is something very crucial, and need to be developed by research base theory. Do the lecturer, should arrange the research program, to find out how to generate motivation? How to maintain it, and how to encourage the students to do self-evaluation.

            The last agenda for research in English Education department is maintaining dual competence, between English capacity and learning material, particularly in the bilingual classes from other departments beyond English department. JessicaChao and Jen Schenkel, have identified  four needs of English learners[6].

  1. First, learners need to learn English well enough to participate fully in an academic setting. Linguistic research suggests this normatively takes four to seven years. This is best done through intentional, dedicated curriculum in English language development and through English as a second language strategies, used across the academic curriculum, that focus on learning the English required for academic engagement, plus regular and safe opportunities to interact with and use English with native English speakers.
  2. Second, learners need support to help them access  the same full curriculum that their native-English speaking peers are learning. To gain this access, their teachers need to use instructional strategies that make the academic curriculum comprehensible (e.g., scaffolding, use of visuals, modified materials, preview/review, home language reference resources). Daily schedules, monitoring and district policies need to be modified to ensure that English learners have this access to the full curriculum, including college preparatory courses, science labs and electives, and that these courses are all taught in ways that support English learners.
  3. Third, in order to achieve the dual challenge of learning English while mastering the same academic content as all other students, English learners often need additional time and support. Out-of-school programs, summer programs, extended-day options, and policies that allow for more time in school can all make a difference.
  4. Fourth, English learners need support in bridging cultural and language worlds. As cultural and linguistic “outsiders,” they need orientation to the new culture, they need multiple structures and supports for interacting with people of different cultures and languages, they need receiving communities to be open and welcoming, and their connection to their home language and culture must be affirmed. Whenever possible, development of the home language along with English to high levels of biliteracy provides students with powerful benefits and skills for functioning in and across multiple language and cultural communities.

        The third field of research for English teaching department is for assessing what the students need precisely, when they enter English classes, particularly for students in the bilingual classes, beyond English department. Actually bilingual classes program is a very important program, because the students will get two benefits, content of learning and English capacity. However, in several cases, the students can’t attain what they desire to understand, because lack of English capacity of them, or some difficulties for lecturers to explain in wide and deep explanations, because lack of their English capacity. This is the point that is very crucial to be explored through academic research, so the academic policies will be decided in an accurate decision.

Wassalam,

REFERENCE

1 Bill of Higher Education, number 12  year 2012, chapter number 1, article number 12, point number (2)

 2 Dede Rosyada, Research University, Kolom Rektor, http://www.uinjkt.ac.id/id/research-university/, UIN Jakarta, 2016.

 3 Svetlana N. Khamova, Strengths in the Process of English Language Teaching, International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, Vol. 5, No. 3; Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs National Research University Higher School of Economics Moscow, Russia, March 2015, p. 37.

 4 Andrea Koltai, Exploring Student Motivation: Teaching Students Specialising in EU English, WoPaLP, Vol. 6, Institute of Modern Languages, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, 2012, p. 48

 5 Ibid., p. 48

 6 Jessica Chao and Jen Schenkel, Educating English Language Learners, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, 2013, p. 7