D. Challenges of teaching English in primary schools
Teaching English in primary schools is not easy because the way of teaching children is different from the way of teaching adult learners. It also has many challenges. The problems are in terms of internal and external factors. Intrinsic factor refers to pedagogy, motivation, and identity. External factors include textbooks, learning resources, teachers’ English levels, and class size. Those challenges are discussed below.
The first challenge that concerns internal factors is pedagogy related to the proper use of teaching strategies. Many new learning strategies such as communicative language teaching (CLT), task-based learning and learning (CBLT), and so on exist in language teaching and learning. However, teachers may find it challenging to implement those strategies for several reasons. For example, it may be unsuitable for teaching large groups of students where resources are limited. Therefore, teachers need to do more to effectively implement those learning strategies.
In terms of motivation, it is difficult to motivate children to learn languages, as they have different motivations. Some of them may struggle to understand English, while others cannot. Also, students’ progress is often not assessed. It brings little problem because evaluation is needed.
To find out how far the students understand the text.
Therefore, if their progress is not assessed frequently, those who have low proficiency levels in English are not interested in learning, and may not even have.
Inspiration for this. It is worse because if they do not have the motivation to learn English, it will be difficult for the teacher to interpret the material and involve them in the activities. On the other hand, parental support also plays an important role for the students. If there is no parental support in learning English, the students will have no motivation for it.
Another challenge relates to identity. Teaching English to young learners with global insights is not easy, but keeping them away from national identity is not easy. National identity is “a situation in which a large number of people form a common identity with national symbols – have internalized the symbols of the nation”. It recognizes that each country has its uniqueness of national identity; They are different from each other. This means that students are proud of their country by understanding Indonesian and local languages. However, it is not easy for students to take pride in their national identity while learning English. For example, they are more interested in foreign cultures rather than their own. That’s why sometimes in a writing activity, instead of writing a history of things in Indonesia; He writes the history of the Eiffel Tower.
The second challenge is one of the external factors, i.e. textbooks. Books are not available in many countries. This creates another problem; Textbooks play an important role in helping students to gain knowledge of English. In Indonesia, the government has decided to use textbooks, but this does not limit the use of any others that can support the teacher in teaching the lesson.
However, in selected textbooks found in school, the material was often poorly organized and illustrated. It is also known that the existence of suitable material can help teachers to design activities to be used in teaching-learning activities. In this regard, the content or lessons in textbooks or other sources of learning need to be customized based on the needs and skills of the students and designed simply so that the teacher and the student can easily follow the path.
In terms of source, children need to be convincingly explained through demonstrations and realities. This means that they need something real, rather than principles. They need media that can help them understand the lesson. However, most schools do not have adequate teaching material . This will create a problem if there are not enough media and teaching aids; Teachers are not able to provide recreational activities that engage the physical activities of the students.
Subsequently, teachers’ English proficiency can affect their teaching. In other words, those who have low proficiency levels are indicated to lack confidence, find it difficult to interact with children, and grasp material slowly . Therefore, teachers who do not have sufficient knowledge of teaching English, especially young learners, need some training that can help develop their competencies. However, most of the English teachers who attended the training felt dissatisfied. One reason for this is that they are not well trained using the relevant method. This brings another problem when training does not facilitate the teacher well, in terms of how they can improve their competencies.
These problems raise serious issues about the overall quality of teaching English in primary schools. Therefore, providing appropriate training for English teachers teaching in primary schools can help them prepare for the different characteristics of their students. Then, the size of the square is treated as a normal challenge. The larger the class, the more difficulties teachers will face and the harder it is to create learner-centered learning. Otherwise, if the room size is too small or not suitable for the number of students, they will have difficulty walking, so they do not have enough space to carry out their activities .
Based on those findings, the challenges come from several aspects. Therefore, the government, in collaboration with the Teachers and Schools Committee, takes into account those challenges by finding solutions to achieve a better quality of English teaching in primary schools.
E. Solutions to the Challenges of Teaching English in Primary Schools
Based on several of the challenges presented earlier, the authors propose several solutions to the challenges encountered in teaching English in primary schools. They are based on several principles.
The first solution is that it is better for the stakeholders responsible for the issue of teaching English to young learners to provide some training for primary school English teachers. The training also needs to be well designed and prepared, such as by providing a competent instructor, appropriate material, and a proper method. This is because teachers teaching young learners are different from teachers teaching adult learners. Certain qualifications must be met for English teachers in primary schools. The qualifications mentioned are:
Teachers must have adequate English skills and develop competencies at all times; They are multi-talented and take assessments and manage their English class well; They are patient, kind, friendly, witty, and highly energetic; they are
Professionals want to be involved in activities that can develop their skills, such as training or workshops; And they communicate effectively with children, co-workers, parents, etc.
Secondly, to motivate students to learn English, teachers need to understand the characteristics of students as they are still young and they need to receive special treatment from teachers.
Many experts also explain aspects of the young learner. Therefore, if teachers understand the personalities of their students, they can encourage their students to be interested in learning English, as different natures will require different treatment. For example, teachers can provide activities that are interesting and enjoyable, relate to the child, are active and experiential, memorable, and so on.
To deal with textbooks and teaching aids that are inappropriate for the primary school level, English teachers need to be creative in the classroom because they still have to provide fun learning activities. Many recommended fun learning activities in teaching English to young learners are storytelling, games, songs, mini role-plays, etc. Importantly, English teachers need to be selective in choosing and using textbooks and media to support their teaching-learning activities, especially in teaching young learners. They need to decide whether the content, content, and lessons are appropriate for the students and their language skills.
For example, teachers can provide topics that talk about foreign countries as input and discuss other issues related to the students’ country as output. i.e. to show that national identity is important; Although students are learning a foreign language, they do not give up and forget. Also, English teachers, must have an open mind to ask, learn, try new things and improve their competencies to help their students. In addition, it is necessary to anticipate the shortage of learning sources, as they will be used to support the teaching-learning process in the classroom.
Next, English teachers need to design the classroom as comfortable as possible because students love to move around and physical activity will dominate the activities. Sometimes, teachers also need to design an outdoor activity to introduce students to the surrounding environment. they
One also has to take into account the existence of a report book to report the progress of students since learning English. Teachers need to have a foundation in designing activities appropriate to the needs and skills of the students.
Lastly, another duty of teachers is to make parents understand that English is also important to learn as it is an international language in today’s era. They can persuade parents by showing that many students can be successful in learning English, for example, by participating in an international debating competition, and so on. If parents eventually help their children learn English, teachers will have to provide more enjoyable activities, not complicated and boring activities.
III. Conclusions and Suggestions
In short, teaching English in primary schools is not easy. Stakeholders should take into account not only the classroom teaching-learning process but also people’s perspectives on the importance of English. In addition, if English is introduced and taught in primary schools, there are many benefits to be found. This means that teaching English in primary schools brings more benefits to students as they will have more time and opportunity to learn English. Teaching English at the primary level gives children more opportunities to understand foreign cultures and be more tolerant of others, but it also needs to be well prepared and organized to meet many of the challenges described above and be well versed. To achieve quality English teaching and learning.
In short, English for Young Learners teachers needs to know the habits, characteristics, and needs of the learners to be able to improve their competencies and teaching performance. Moreover, open-mindedness, willingness to ask, the habit of reading, and curiosity to open dictionaries will make them professional in their expertise, especially in teaching primary students.
Furthermore, the next study under the same issue is expected to be able to measure or analyze in a broader context. This is because the researchers realized that there are few preliminary studies on the same issue in this study to further explore the benefits and challenges of teaching English to elementary students. Therefore, the solutions provided are not yet sufficient. Thus, the use of more comprehensive methods and both quantitative and qualitative approaches may be one of the suggestions for broader and more clear findings. Survey studies can be used to ascertain the perceptions of stakeholders who are involved in the development of teaching English in primary schools. Another research could be an ethnographic observational study that can be used to find out the actual practices of teaching English in primary schools not only in the big city but also in the rural area.
I would first like to thank my colleagues who helped me revise this article. He helped me fix my writing errors. I Ashadhi, Ed. I also want to thank As my lecturer for guiding me to prepare a good piece of writing. He also gave me several books on academic writing and publishing etc. In the end, my special acknowledgment to Prof. hj Suvarsingh Madya, Ph.D. My thesis supervisor supported me to conclude this article. His caring and open-minded spirit have been a great inspiration and guidance to me.