E. Significance of the study
The study is mainly to portray an empirical data on the kinds of learning experiences employed during the teaching and learning process and to see whether they support the development of students’ basic literacy. Result of this study will share a thick description on what has been going on in the English class in the primary school level. The findings can be contributed as current information for teachers in primary school level about teaching English as foreign language in Indonesian context.
This chapter will discuss some scholars’ ideas and opinions; and some related issues on English teaching-learning process, the importance of learning experiences and basic Literacy development. This part wiLt also present the conceptual frameworks as the basic thought in this study.
A. Issues on Teaching English as Foreign Language for Young Learners
Since 1994, English in primaiy school started to be taught. it is an optional subject. ft is meant to overcome the problems faced by the students in secondary level. Due to the fact that the result of teaching-learning in junior or senior high is not satisfactoty (Sadtono, 1997 quoted in Renandya in Rachmajanti, 2003), therefore, the government made a policy about giving English subject in primary level. It can be seen that government have a high expectations on English subject. These expectations are affirmed in the National Standard of Jakarta’s Local Subject, 2006 (Standar Isi Kurikulum Muatan Lokal Provinsi DKI Jakarta, 2006). The aim of giving English in prirnaty-school level are developing basic communicative competence in school context with emphasize on oral ability, especially language accompany with action and developing students’ language- awareness in the context of global community.
It means that the target of learning English in primary school is to develop
a basic literacy, which is the ability to communicate through and about the print as stated in the introduction of the national standard, especially in the objective;
In order to achieve the educational goal stipulated in the curriculum, the students need opthnmn language exposure, especially in school context. The language exposure itself can be thciiitated through the teacher’s role, students experience in class, and materials. The examples of some language exposure in school context are: good morning, how are you, hello, yes, no, what, understand; some expressions used by teachers and students in class; the teacher’s instructions and commands; some expressions used by students with their peers; and others (ok, sony, by the way, etc). These exposures are not only given to be heard by students but also read, written, and said. It is aimed to familiarize students with the English expressions and to sharpen their language awareness. This awareness in English is not enough for competing in the global society as mentioned before, but the students should use their awareness in order to improve and increase their self-confidence when they read, write, listen and speak (express their ideas orally). Automatically, they will have enough confidence to deal with English.
This study will focus on the language experiences that students have during the English teaching-learning. The development of students’ basic literacy and awareness in English can occur when the students experience language exposure. As states by Alwasilah (2000: 88), that it should be understood that children (11-12 years old) have a high ability to master a language through language exposure. It is the responsibility of the teacher to give the students
chances to experience the language with the maximum exposure, such as in classroom activities or on extra assignment that the teacher gives. It is supported by Agustien (2002: 5) who states that in a foreign language context, children as well as teachers do not have access to those day-to-day expressions that can be heard everywhere in English speaking countries; all of them need to be ‘taught’ and carefully introduced by teachers step by steps. It means that language exposure is highly needed to be given in which they can meet the needs of socializing and doing the ‘here and now’ business with their peers.
However, Alwasilah (2000: 90) also states that students learn faster when
they are motivated to learn. In order to motivate them, students should be engaged with activities, such as follows:
a. Learning activities should be fun and interesting
ii Students can be seen flint result of study (for instance, with showing their work on the bulletin board)
c Engage students through activities that related to their world (ie
considering their interest, experiences, background and social
While Pellegrini and Galda (1998: 167) discuss that:
First, we discuss the ways in which joint book reading can be used as a way in which children learn the vocabulary and behaviors associated with school-based literac. We also presented ways in which peers can be helpful in teaching literar . Unlike many extant models of peer teaching we suggest that the children’s close relationship with peers may maximize learning. Rather than separating friends during instructional periods, as some teachers may be tempted to do, we suggest that childien should be placed with their friends and encouraged, not discouraged, to interact.
It is obvious that tim learning activities, students’ involvement during the
English learning activities, students’ close relationship which help them interact with their teachers and peers, support their basic literacy development.