Teaching English as A Foreign Language at Madrasah Ibtidaiyyah: Facts and Challenges

Wakhid Nashruddin
2015 Dinamika Ilmu  
The mastery of English as a tool of communication among nations and people around the globe is an undeniable fact. Islam world also needs to follow this by equipping its people with English as a communication tool. As Arabic is used for the communication inside Islam, English is needed to communicate Islam to other people around the earth both to Muslims or Non-Muslims. Teaching English has become an increasingly significant element in Islamic education. For this, the issue of teaching English
more » ... f teaching English at madrasah is an important concern for practitioners in the area of TEFL in Islamic institutions. This paper explores the writer's ten-year experience in teaching English at a madrasah ibtidaiyyah in Cirebon, West Java-Indonesia. The conditions that will be pictured are the culture, the students, the teaching and learning process, and the outcome of the current practices in madrasah ibtidaiyyah, mainly in the area of TEFL. Then, all these conditions will be contrasted to up to date research findings and theories so that the facts and the challenges can be clearly seen. This will also be seen from the perspective of current curriculum in Indonesia, namely curriculum 2013, which bears contradictions with the presence of it. In fact, the curriculum 2013 eliminates English as a subject learned at primary school level. What madrasah ibtidaiyyah will do in the next years can direct the expected outcome of the teaching of English at this level. Kinds of program that can be designed to empower the state of English mastery are an essential case to discuss. This all facts and challenges can provide insights so that people working in and with madrasah ibtidaiyyah understand and are ready to face the global communication era. Teaching English as a Foreign Language at Madrasah Dinamika Ilmu, Volume 15 (1), 2015 68 A. Introduction The communication among nations now has gone beyond what people thought in forty or fifty years ago. No borders among nations are an impression when people can be connected via internet. Global era cannot be stopped. People do business, networking, education, and other activities via internet. People are connected now. In order to get connected with other people from different parts of the world, it is a requirement that people master tools which can be used by people they communicate with. This is important as to get connected means to be able communicate with other people. Messages should be able to be understood. In this way, understanding of message is crucial because how messages to be responded rely on the true understanding of the messages. Language mastery plays its role in this part. English as an international language that is widely used all over the world takes its significant role more than it was used hundred years ago. It is now used in all aspects of human beings' life from all ages. English emerges as a foreign language that is extensively used as a language of communication in the global era. British council estimates that 375 million people speak English as a first language, 375 million people speak it as a second language, and around 750 million people speak it as a foreign language. By 2000, it was estimated that more than one billion people have been learning English. And the number grows in the next following years. The spread of English as the language for communication among people in the world cannot be stopped (www.britishcouncil.org, 2013). Kachru (2006) has different data which are bigger than British Council has. Inner circle population, which speaks English as a first language, is about 408 million people. On the other hand, outer circle, in which the people speak English as a second language has estimated population about 416 million people while expanding circle where people in this circle use English as a foreign language reach its population about 306.9 million people. It can be seen that the number of native speakers of English is now outnumbered by the speakers of English as a second/foreign language which is about (outer + expanding circle) 722.9 million people. Even Crystal (1996) estimates about 900 million people in the world use English as a second and a foreign language. Again, the number of the user of English as a second/foreign language increases every year as the number of world's population grows. People can get knowledge by mastering language that mostly used by different people from different countries in the world. Mastering English is a key success to the mastery of information, which in turn, helps people gain knowledge. English leads as the main language used in the world. Data from Lobachev (2008) describes that books, newspapers and magazines, scholarly journals, films and videos, and web pages mostly use English as the language
doi:10.21093/di.v15i1.94 fatcat:aefeyl3l65fofbrfpfjlc46uxi