03 Mar

[ENGLISH DAY] English Day Helps To Think Globally and Act Locally

BKD.NTTPROV.GO.ID - Governor Regulation No. 56 of 2018 about English Day emerged pros and cons among people in East Nusa Tenggara. A protest came up from the Head of Kantor Bahasa, Valentina Lovina Tanate. According to Lovina, the regulation is defective since the regulation is not in accordance with UUD 1945, Article 36, concerning the State Language is the Indonesian Language; and UU No. 24 of 2009, concerning Flags, Languages and State Symbols.

Is it a problem? No, English is a foreign language. How comes it should be regulated by our constitution. I tend to agree with Santri EP Djahimo, a lecturer of Faculty of English Language from FKIP Undana. She said Governor Regulation No. 56 of 2018 concerning English Day every Wednesday will not threaten Indonesian or regional languages at all. It is also not a betrayal of the third point of the Youth Oath and article 36 of the UUD 1945. Local languages are the mother tongue and Indonesian language which is the language of the country and culture and tradition is our own identity that will not fade easily.
"We will not lose our identity as Indonesian citizens only by speaking English once a week or more. We also will not lose our local languages and cultures if we can speak English fluently. In English, we show the world that we are Indonesians, East Nusa Tenggara people with a diverse cultural and linguistic background. We can adjust English to our language and culture, without having to imitate native speakers." 

I think it is clear after reading the above statement. We should agree that Wednesday is English Day. Ignoring all protests. English is one of international language. All people have known it, even more, we were taught English during at school or university.  

Actually, English Day is not a new program. Some schools have been implementing it as a tradition of learning a foreign language. Teachers and students are forced to speak English Day during a day at school.

Speaking might be easy in own language, but it is not easy when speaking in another language. English Day is a challenging moment “how to speak English fluently”. 

To speak English fluently, people should master grammar and has a lot of vocabularies. Bad grammar, bad speaking skills. Here, in this case (English Day), all of us do not have to worry about English grammar. Trying to learning by doing. Speak English as much as you can. Be confident to speak English although if it has to be mixed with Bahasa. If you forget or cannot find a word, you can explain what you want to say in other words. Lastly, avoiding critics of your speaking partner. Both of you are not a native speaker. Trying yourself to be more confident to speak loudly– right or wrong. 

English Day change our paradigm of learning English. There are two English learning’s perspectives. The first is learning English, secondly is learning about English. Realize or not, most people do the last one. They tend to learn about English than learning English. Learning about English means that you study the theory of English in your mother language. Teachers explain English in our own language. While learning English means you study English in English. It means you learn English but also you should speak English during studying - both as a student or a teacher.

I often found in English class, the teacher taught English to students in Bahasa, not in English. This condition is called “learning about English”. In another case, I found a teacher taught English subject in English. This is a true language learning strategy.

Therefore the Governor’s program “English Day” every Wednesday is a gate to learn English. This is a practical way. We start to speak English, whatever your English skills. 

English Day is a chance for us to practice what we have learned before at school. It doesn’t mean we ignore Bahasa or local language. People say “think globally, act locally”. English is needed in this situation. So, how bad or good your English is, we should accept this program happily. Sooner or later, our English would be better than now. 

Happy English Day.

Gergorius Babo, S.Kom – Kasubid Penilaian Kompetensi dan Kinerja.


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