Why learning English?

M. Syahruzzaky Romadloni

This question initially appeared when I decided to take English for my undergraduate degree in a local private university in my hometown. Most of classmates of mine from Gontor underestimated this choice, as they argued that English can be learned by ourselves and we, as Gontor graduates, have already learned the basic of English in school. So why studying English further in the college?

This thought haunted me in the beginning of my study in the college. I still couldn’t find the appropriate reason why I took English in the college though I always said to my friends that my father ordered me to take English in the college as I’m teaching English in the school where I’m employed right now!

This situation continued and got worse when I stepped to the third year. Initially, I could handle almost all subjects in the first and the second year and got good marks as I have studied them in Gontor, but I encountered the difficulties in the subsequent years as the materials were really new to me. Since I didn’t take part in the lectures wholeheartedly, I got many bad marks in these last semesters.

During these hard semesters, I said to all my colleagues that I won’t take English anymore in my graduate/post-graduate degree. I was interested in the discourses of philosophy and education and dreamed of studying them further in graduate/post-graduate degree. I read many books, wrote many articles and published them in my blogs, and do some literature researches related to these subjects. I really enjoyed with them. These activities then made me ignorant with my study in the college and made my marks got worse and worse.

To make the things worse, my jobs in the school took my time very much. I should manage the teaching-learning process in three institutions simultaneously; junior high school, senior high school, and college! I arranged the teaching learning schedule in those institutions alone. In addition to this, I have some teaching hours on the weekends. Those situations really made me mad!

It’s a thesis time!

I finally reach my last minutes in my college and should finish them by writing a thesis. To support my thesis I should look for enough resources and, you know, we cannot depend on university library as it doesn’t provide us enough books for such writing a thesis. Then I browse in the internet and guess what? Thanks to God! Through this way, I get many free e-books that I need for my thesis. I not only find many books for my thesis but many e-books on English and other fields I’m interested on as well. Now, the collections of my e-books reach hundred books.

It’s actually the answer of my efforts years earlier. When I was in the beginning of my study in the college, I strived very hard to look for many books related to English Language Teaching, but unfortunately, I failed. I tried to look for them in the university library and bookstore, asked to my lecturers, etc., but I still didn’t get what I wanted. That’s why I still didn’t find the answer why I study English in the university as I didn’t enough books to satisfy my intellectual thirst.

Writing a thesis forces me to read and write more. What I get from my thesis-literature-research really opens my horizon about English teaching and successfully changes my paradigm. English Language Teaching proves very interesting to research. There are many things that I can do in this field such as exploring the philosophy of language, linguistic theories, language and learning theory, English teaching methodology, and so forth and soon. Knowing this, my interest in exploring these themes steps into the new age. I finally feel excited falling into this area of knowledge!

Then, step-by-step, I could answer my questions appeared in the early stage of my study in the college. Why learning English? Alright, through this simple note I want to tell you why I’m really interested in this field:

  1. I have been serving my life in an Islamic educational institution (pesantren) for approximately five years. It’s now dwelled by more than 1,000 students from various regions in Indonesia. Since its establishment eleven years ago, this school strives the best to make English and Arabic languages teaching familiar to the students and they should speak them in the daily conversation. However, we’re lack of the teachers who really understand how to apply this program in systematic steps. Then, I can use my knowledge about language teaching theoretically for the sake of the betterment of this program.
  2. My school’s program to make English and Arabic the important aspects in the students’ life can be expanded by the use of them as the official instructional languages. I must create the situations that all elements of the school (teachers, students, curriculum, textbooks, and staff) ready for this. Then, the dream of this school to be the international one can be reached soon.
  3. Teaching language means teaching literacy. Language is a main requirement to teaching literacy to all people. I will invite people to read and write through teaching language first. The more you master languages the more you can improve your literacy skill.
  4. My works in this field will not be limited by learning English only. I may expand it by exploring other important languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, French, German, etc. it’s one of my dreams to establish a school of foreign languages.

If someone asked me about the reason why take English in the college, I have had the exact answers right now. I won’t feel worried anymore. Yeah, I begin to love English language teaching.

Bye for now!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012



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