To response to the needs of developing human resources, the teaching of English as a foreign language has been extended to reach the elementary school level. This means that the students will get more exposure to English and as a consequence, the expectation to get a better learning is more open. Nevertheless, that policy to introduce English to the elementary school students is not as simple as we think. How it could be successful is the big question in our mind remembering that there are many problems will come up together with the implementation. The problems are not come from the elementary students who are the main object, but they come from many thing, four of them are very crucial. Those four thing are the elementary students it self, the teachers, the parents, and the facilities of the school. Let us have a look at the problem on by one and try to overcome them as well as possible.
Firstly, the most challenging problem comes from the elementary school students. They tend to waste the time on frivolities, because they are still regarded as children. Since students are given more rights in the classroom, they tend to forget about their responcibilities. Some come with nothing at all and sit at the back disturbing their classmates.Actually, the children learn in different ways. The children are individual and different from all others. Their ability in learning depend on many factors such as age, learning style, and personality.This means that with younger children we need to personalise and give examples which relate to themselves, whereas older children need help to make sense of the world around them. This also means that children must be at the right stage ready to learn. For example younger children are ready to acquire the concepts of number, colour and shape but are not ready for abstract grammatical rules. Besides, children can usually only concentrate for short periods of time. When they are given an activity, using flashcards for example, or doing a worksheet, make sure that activity will be stopped or changed when they are bored or restless.
The second problems are faced by the teachers. It is difficult for the teachers to get to the point if the students’ behaviors are bad, disturbing, chitchatting, rebelling, disobedience, lack of concentration etc. As a teacher they must keep self-control, be cool down unless there will be no teaching process occurs. Besides, the teachers should get some guidance, for example, publishing a good newsletter with interesting and exciting stories or lesson plans, even organizing seminars, and others things that every association should keep up with. The other problem that always be mentioned by the teachers all over the countries is the salary. Adilyoussef from Europe for example said that in his country, the salary is very low. He has to work extra hours to meet the ends. The salary he receives as a teacher does not make a living. Most teachers there work about 24 hours a week for about 350 Euros a month. Inaddition to that, he has to commute for about 156km five days a week. That needs 10 Euros a day. So just in commuting it takes me 200 Euros a month. He has to live with 150 Euros. That is the major reason for him to vote for low rate of pay.
Thirdly, the parents also face the problems when their elementary school children get English. Parents want their children exposed to a second language from birth, but they want it in instant ways. They do not realize that they also have a big deal. They just send their children to the elementary school without giving any support and additional lessons in the home. Actually, giving motivation is the most important thing that must be given. The parents should encourage their children to follow their own interests and personal likes. For example if the child likes football he or she will probably like to read a story about football even if the level is a little difficult. Interest and motivation often allows children to cope with more difficult language. The next way is correcting the child's mistakes. Let the child know when they have done something well. Do not criticise them too much when they make a mistake. It is natural to make mistakes when learning a language. In addition, the British Council said that establishing a regular routine for homework is also important. The parents can check what they have to do for homework and set up a regular time for doing it.
The last crucial problem is the facilities of the school. Lack of technical infrastructure and communication facilities can serve as an example. In learning English, the students need a language laboratory to listening, reading, or watching movies. Those kinds of thing are more structural problems both in the preparation and in implementation. This might be a problem insofar it affects the results. The big number of the class member might also be the problems. Actually, the average number of students in most school goes arond 40 to 50 students per class, which makes implementing communicative activities like one of Tom Cruse movies "Mission Impossible." But this could be managalbe. There are ways to do that and we manage to succeed. Moreover, the volunteer project could also increase and develop the quality of the students learning. For example a volunteer project in Purworejo that will renovate some facilities in the local school including painting the walls, making bookshelves, etc.
Every single policy carried out by the government has many impacts and the implementation always out of the agenda. That is why; many aspects that included have to have a big deal and awareness. A policy could be done well with a good preparation. English as foreign language will be reach elementary school level with a good preparation too. The government, the students, the teachers, the parents, and the facilities of the school have to able to support it. The have to do their duty as well as possible by taking big responsibilities on their own subject matter.
(http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/talk/polls/teacher-problems#comment-7229, accessed on Sunday, September 19th, 2010)
(http://www.britishcouncil.org/parents-help-how-children-learn.htm, accessed on Sunday, September 19th, 2010)
(http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2009/apr/24/easy-as-uno-dos-tres/, accessed on Sunday, September 19th, 2010)
(http://www.cadip.org/volunteer-in-indonesia.htm, accessed on Sunday, September 19th, 2010)
written by Rahayu Sekarini