The Ways of Wali in Proselytizing Islam in Java

The Ways of Wali in Proselytizing Islam in Java

                The discussion of the ways used by the nine Islamic clerics (Walisongo) in spreading Islam in Javanese community is not much understood and developed. It is not easy to find out references that talk about their ways to persuade indigenous Javanese people to be Muslims. Therefore, the understanding of the young Muslim generations of the clerics’ excellencies is very restricted. They just understand their very invaluable history of them from mouth to mouth or from people to people retelling their experiences they possess who perhaps do not absolutely understand the exact story of them. The stories are usually those that are shown in traditional Javanese drama that is the-so called Kethoprak and the nine clerics’ film screened on television. The writer guesses that the stories retold are not exactly pure and have been mixed with some ingredients making them look more interesting and extraordinary. Consequently, the original clues of the stories may be bias since they have been influenced by the story tellers’ imaginations and story tellers’ imaginations and interests. The revisiting of the clerics’ history, as a matter of fact, is very crucial in order that they catch up the exact facts to be exemplified in this modern world.

                Since the discussion of the nine Islamic clerics is inevitable, Muslim historians need to concern their own time and energy to investigate the chronology of Walis’ life and their roles in spreading Islam in the island of Java. Thus, the study of the available old texts is necessary to avoid the distortion of the facts from the original and real data. By tracing the original texts, the Muslim historians are able to review the fame and greatness of the Walis’ struggle and to exemplify the practical ways in proselytizing Islam. Muslims, therefore, will be well informed and understand the hidden messages left. Thus, the contemporary drama or film of Wali screened on television should be consulted to the real story and not vice versa. The film producers may possibly develop and mix the story with their illusions, but they must base their ideas upon the core of the stories recorded by the Muslims historians.

                To much learn, Muslims should acknowledge that the success of the nine Islamic clerics in spreading Islam in the island of Java is unimaginable and undeniable. Though they were not well educated in the modern education institution, but their ways in campaigning Islamic teachings were very amazing. In the very immediate times, they had been able to influence and change the given community beliefs into Islam. They voluntarily embraced this religion since they were interested in the cleric persuasion in introducing Islam. They congregationally attended and followed ceremonies held by those clerics accompanied by the decree and decision to believe in Islam soon after the ceremonies ended. Through two simple statements witnessing that there is no God but Allah and that the prophet Muhammad is His messenger as well as His prophet (Syahadatain) the people had been Muslims.

                It seems that the ways used by the nine clerics in spreading Islam were very wise. They had applied the ways that can be revitalized in this modern world. Through the ways they had been successful to implant Islamic values in the innermost heart of Javanese people without eliciting big tensions or serious conflict among the communities. The conflict might possibly happen but it did not entail very big dissension. For the reasons, it is very important to review and revisit the ways of spreading Islam conducted by the nine clerics in indigenous Javanese society because of several reasons: 1) they were very successful to propagate Islam in Java; 2) they were able to accommodate the indigenous interests concerning their own local cultures; 3) they were very wise to respond the indigenous local cultures; 4) they tried very hard to assimilate Islamic messages to indigenous beliefs without eliciting cultural shock, 5) the process of assimilation began form bottom up; 6) they left the hidden messages that should be finished by the following Islamic messengers.

By: Mr. Ruwandi, MA

(F)

Anxiety and Speaking Skill Mastery

                English is a foreign language: even though, it is learnt by a lot of people around the world including Indonesians. The concerning persons learning the language are aware of the importance of the language whether as an oral or a written communication; it is an international language. Comparatively, among the languages in the world such as French, German, Mandarin, Russia, Arabic and the others, English is the most widely used both in a regional of an international conference, formal meetings among scholars from different countries who have different languages, commerce, trade. Politics, economy, education, etc. It is spoken by more than two-third inhabitants scattered in heterogeneous social layers.

                In Indonesian educational circumstances, English is one of compulsory subjects which must be taught as the first foreign language from junior up till senior high schools. In university, it is learnt for about eight semesters, particularly in English department and at least for about two semesters in non-English departments. Even, since 1990, it is taught as an elective or a local content in several elementary schools, especially in big towns or cities in Indonesia.

                The primary goals of teaching learning English in Indonesia are in order that the students master the four English skills namely listening, speaking, reading and writing in accordance with their levels of educations.

                Speaking in one hand, and writing on the other hand, is the most sophisticated skill compared with listening, and reading. It is implied the language skill forcing the learners to be creative and active in producing and expressing new utterances for communication in particular situations. The learners, in this case, should be alert to pose their ideas naturally. This activity, therefore, is dependent on situational horizons, in which those utterances cannot be prepared before in longstanding times. Drills occasionally just function restrictedly, as a facility, and cannot be a determinant of handling contextual situations. The question which appears is, why speaking comprises the most difficult skill beside writing.

                Speaking belongs to the most sophisticated skill because the English speaking people must communicate directly with their opponents and do not have long opportunities to construct ideas beforehand. The speakers and their mates will interact and talk interchangeably, so they, themselves, also apply as the assessors among them. Of course, the capability of English speaking people can be assessed through the interaction. For the reason capability or unacceptability of the person is visible and can be measured immediately.

                English lecturers, as responsible persons of learners’ speaking ability, formally, have made a great deal of efforts to anticipate as well as to solve the weaknesses of learners’ speaking skill through applying up to date methods, approaches, and techniques. However, up to the present time, it is realized by all of them, lecturers, that the learners’ competences as well as their skills are still poor. This can be traced from the English particular score or generally, the students’ passing grade such as found at English department of universities which is still a pie in the sky. The celerity of mastering the skill among educators, administrators, curriculum planers is also still debatable. They have not come in the same agreements of invaluable solution yet.

                General complaints, however, can be limited time allotment, the difficult environment, the big classes, the minimum time meetings, and so forth (Sadtono, 1996). And last but not the least, why the English speaking mastery in Indonesia is still low is because, it is not applied as a second official language as in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Hong Kong. Ramelan (1991) says our government is fear to establish English as an official language for she worries about that the language will supersede Indonesia by which English will be an official means of communication and replace Indonesia later on, such as Dutch in the Dutch Colonial time. But it is not a reasonable argument since Indonesians have had strong bulwark against the colonialism. The fear is sometimes, predicted as a source of coming troubles, although it is not a fair assessment.

                Indeed, if lecturers conduct a regular or an actual observation, basically the learners’ obstacles in studying English can be divided into two aspects namely linguistic and non-linguistic factors. Those factors then, can be divided and subdivided into many kinds. One of the non-linguistic factors that the writer apprehends coming from the learners is anxiety.

by: Mr. Ruwandi, MA

(F)

Language Laboratory

Language laboratory is not much discerned by academic communities in certain institutions. The use of it is still limited for lecturing listening skills nothing else. After the listening classes, the strange classroom circumstance may be far from academic touching. There are only several academic figures especially those who handle listening classes giving a little care for its functions. Most of the lectures, even though, never steal a glance at the functions. Even, some of them do not understand where is it and what does it look like. This is ironical; but this is the fact.

Lectures and students do not intensify the use of laboratory for several reasons. The first is the narrow comprehension of its function. They just understand that laboratory is used to teach listening skills so they are only listening lecturers who commit to care for and use it. The second is because they have not needed the existence yet. They are immediately to concern with its existence, however, when they are demanded to master those skills. Like or dislike, they should be familiar with the laboratory because the use of it is more helpful rather than the conventional tape recorder.

Actually, lectures and students may not only use laboratory for sharpening the listening ability. They can use it for several field of studies or disciplines for instance for training pronunciation, spelling, dictation, repetition, drills, pairing, plugging, telephoning and the other oral or aural practices as speaking, reading, and writing. If the lecturers and students are able to make use it in such activities, the existence of it will be more advantageous. In addition, the providing of it will not be superfluous because it is very expensive to set this modern teaching equipment.

Harmer (2001) identifies several advantaged of laboratory as follows:

–          Comparing

The double track allows students to discriminate the way they say things with the correct pronunciation on a source tape. In the way, they are able to check and get feedback of their own performance, although there is no intervention from their teacher.

–          Privacy

Students are able to talk each other through their microphones, record into the tape wind and rewind tapes or type on computer keyboards without bothering their colleagues. Since every student is protected by his or her headphones, their privacy is guaranteed; and they are free from intrusion that the work of others would cause in a conventional classroom setting.

–          Individual attention

If teachers want to speak to individual students in a laboratory, they are able to do so from console. This is different from the classroom situation by which the talk should stop the students from working with the rest of the class. Therefore, the attention is difficult to gain. In laboratory, all students are working away with their own business. The attention the teachers to a student will never distract the others.

–          Learner training

Language laboratory assists to train some students to listen to what they say and how they should say it. When they distinguish their pronunciation with the correct version on the tape, they begin to notice the differences. This is fortunate because this may elicit awareness helping them to hear and pronounce English better.

Not all students have the same ability to discriminate sounds. Different students have different aptitude at hearing sounds. Therefore, teachers need to guide individual students to acknowledge their weaknesses and stimulate them to be better by individual and continual practices.

–          Learner motivation

Laboratory may provide learning autonomy for certain students. This is because some students are better at learning by their own than others. The language laboratory offers a good halfway relation between teacher control and learner autonomy. Although they work at their own pace but they need more open guidance from their teacher in console.

The five advantages of laboratory mentioned above are non-linguistically reviewed. The linguistics function of it, as matter of fact, is clear because it is not only to provide listening lectures. Almost language skills and their components can be set at laboratory depending upon the comprehension of the laboratory and the need of it. For that reasons, lecturers and students need to realize the existence and function of it and make use it for better progress in language learning.

Contributor: Ruwandi, MA

(F)

Islam: between Ideals and Realities

                Islam is a universal religion. Islamic teachings are addressed to all human beings regardless their ethnicity, race, or nationality. They are persuaded to embrace it as far as they are willing to receive the region as the way of their life. Those who refuse, however, are not forced to be Muslims. This is based upon God’s commandment in Cow (2:255):

“No compulsion is there in religion. Rectitude has become clear from error. So whosoever disbelieves in idols and believes in God, has laid hold of the most handle, unbreaking; God is All-hearing, All-knowing”.

                When people have embraced Islam, they should endeavor to be pious Muslims. To prove, they must be consistent with Islamic teachings. They should strive hard to conduct the all religious teachings without bargaining. Thus they are able to be perfect humankinds. God says in cow (2:208) that Muslims should not follow the devil’s persuasions because they will suffer them. satan is the real humans’ enemy.

                Besides having to embrace Islam or to serve Allah s.w.t holistically, Muslims also have another responsibility namely to build cooperation to others – Muslims or non-Muslims. This is because they are part of this Globe’s populations. They could not ignore the existence of the others as the members of human community. There is an absolute God’s law – the syariah, however – as previously mentioned, that should be taken into account consistently that is the Islamic teaching – the aqidah. Although they get along with people from different religious backgrounds, they must be consistent – istiqomah. They are not permitted to mix up between the rectitude and the error (Cow: 42). Thus, their second duty – as the members of the societies, is to cooperate and work together with the others and to perform good deeds and not otherwise bothering of for some extent “violating” them because Islam is not inherently violent. God says in Apartment: 13:

“O mankind, We have created you male and female, and appointed you races and tribes that may know one another. Surely the nobles among you in the sight of God is the most godfearing of you. God is All-knowing, All-aware.”

                In practice, however, the vertical (the relation to Allah s.w.t) and the horizontal (the relation to human beings) relations are still far from Islamic ideals,. Some “Muslims” are not consistent with the first Islamic teaching because they do not serve Him. They disobey and disregard Allah’s commandments and pursue the idol’s teachings. Some others fail to build the horizontal relation. They argue this is unimportant. Muslims will be safe as far as they strive to merely serve god. Even, the others absolutely fail because they could not build whether the vertical and the horizontal relations. Allah reminds that whosoever will engage to humility unless he/she tries to serve Him and establish relation to humankind (Qur’an, 3:112).

                Islam is a peaceful religion, peace to God and peace to human beings. Normatively, it never teaches the adherents to disturb, attack and violate others. As far as I know, Muslims should take a response to attack if they are formerly attacked by their enemies. This must also be done if they have been forced and there is no alternative path anymore. Therefore, they are not permitted to initiate to attack against the others. According to Islamic traditions the terms of Holy War or jihad is broader than with what is practiced by a few groups of Islamic movements. Sometimes, they perform the narrower terms of jihad that is to attack others – including to the same Muslims without reasonable excuses. For there reason, there are many innocent people – Muslims or non-Muslims killed. They take revenge one another not only to the others but also to other Muslim sects.

                These narrow terms of Jihad are of course – according Fazlur Rahman, contradict Islamic teachings. He says that Islam teaches its followers to perform as good deeds as possible based on Qur’anic and Hadith perspectives and ideals. Islam also invites Muslims to work together to others to create civil society. Islam conceptualizes that Muslims should contribute creating the peaceful life the world over. In Apartment 13 God says, Muslims need to create togetherness and not otherwise breaking each other and among people around the world. The mission of Islamic teachings concerning the peaceful life creation in fact is so Holy, though the many of them are not yet ideally practiced in a daily life.

Contributor: Ruwandi, MA

Glossary:

To be addressed (passive): Ditujukam

Compulsion (noun): Paksaan

Whosoever (pronoun): siapapun

To embrace (verb): menganut

To endeavor (verb): berusaha

Bargaining (noun): tawar-menawar

Persuasion (noun): bujukan

To ignore (verb): mengabaikan

Rectitude (noun): kebenaran

Pious (adj.): sholeh

To initiate (verb): memulai

Revenge (noun): balas dendam

(F)

The Diverse Interpretation of Islamic Jurisprudence

As a Muslim I do believe, Islamic teachings that are written down in the Holy Qur’an and explained in Hadith (prophetic traditions) are complete, perfect, and thorough. The Islamic teachings were revealed to human beings because Allah SWT loves them. The purpose of the teachings is to guide the humankinds to act upon the straight path. The Almighty God does this because He will never let His creatures live unguided and confused. This is coincidence with the God’s guidance revealed through His several manuscripts as Torah, Psalm, Bible and Al-Qur’an Al-Karim.

Based on the process of revelation, it is seemingly that there is a religious evolution stretching from unnamed through the named ones. This also looks that the evolution corresponds human’s civilization. When the human civilization is simple, the form of religious belief seems simple. On the contrary, when the civilization is moving advanced, the form of religious belief also looks very thorough. Through the way, humans are wished to be able to answer all their problems through the beliefs. Since Islam is the latest religion, it is not profuse to say that Islam is the most advanced religious belief.

Yet, when revelations arrive on human hands, they will respond them differently. Some refuse God’s commandments and others need a long process to accept and the others welcome the revelations enthusiastically. Those who have received the God’s guidance will be various in interpreting the commandments. These will entail different paradigms that may be unfamiliar one another. The differences may share from individuals to individuals, communities to communities, and from areas to areas. Therefore the difficulties – as being explained by Kecia Ali, in encountering the instructions including Islamic law, are not only undergone by the progressive Muslims in contrast with the conservative ones but also inside the progressive or conservative Muslims themselves. They argue and debate among others to preserve their ideas through reasonable excuses. Even though they still could not come into the same agreements.

The differences in responding Islamic law are because Muslims posses different capacities. Because of the differences do the interpretations vary from scholars to scholars. For the reason, Kecia Ali says that every, innovation including the innovation she proposes, is not the most improved. The interpretation is not equal with God’s plans so this is not absolutely perfect. Even though, I think that God will never make the unformed interpretations. If God likes, God will absolutely consider the ideal wants recommended. God lets human beings try to approach from different points of view. Thus this is coincidence with the nature of human beings that are different.

The types of Islamic laws’ response are various from place to place, community to community, and area to area because of several reasons. The first is in what circumstances are the Islamic laws assimilate. The circumstances elicit the conformity of the laws and the concerning community. Secondly, in what extent do the Islamic laws influence the community? The extent of the adaptation may cause the width of the influence. The third is the intensity of the assimilation whether the Islamic laws’ influence is stronger or weaker. If the laws are stronger, the other influencing factors will be shaped by the religious laws and vice versa. The last is the given cultures in which the Islamic laws interact since the cultures have very big influences to the laws themselves.

Amin Abdullah proposed three approaches to the study of religious laws. They are doctrinal-normative, cultural-historical, and critical-philosophical. The three of them must be linearly applied if we want to get improved comprehension. The separation of them of course will create incomprehensive understanding and study of the laws. In fact, some Muslim scholars – the conservatives, use one of them – only the first one and leave the others behind. Thus, the study that is based upon the other approaches is not covered. The later – the progressive scholars usually use the three of them linearly. However, the approaches they use cannot be falsified since this is their rights to do so. They put big respects to the others, though they have different approaches. The Interpretation of the laws is, in fact, the matter of paradigms and beliefs.

In short, it is natural if there are difficulties and problems encountered by progressive Muslims in facing conservative supporters because of different approaches used to interpret the Islamic laws. The important thing is we should perform the very religious laws based upon the argumentative reasons we do convince.

Contributor: Ruwandi, MA

Glossary:

Diverse (adj.): berbeda

To encounter (verb): menghadapi

Thorough (adj.): menyeluruh

To reveal (verb): mewahyukan

Profuse (adj.): berlebihan

To entail (verb): menyebabkan

To undergo (verb): mengalami

To preserve (verb): mempertahankan

Scholars (noun): kaum terpelajar

Incomprehension (adj.): tidak lengkap

To convince (verb): meyakini

(F)

What the Textbooks for Elementary Students Should be?

Since 1990, some of provincial governments have decreed English as one of the elective subjects in Elementary Schools. Since the time on, particularly the provincial department of national education has made many efforts to develop and improve the quality of teaching including the designing of curriculum and teaching guidelines. The efforts are addressed to facilitate English teachers to conduct the well-planed teaching processes. In addition, there have been many English textbooks composed and published by several publishing companies. It is clearly  apparent that the writers as well as the companies cooperate and compete among others to persuade the users to make use the textbooks offered. In the course of the time, and because of the natural selections, some of them are widely used and some others are dying in the competitions; and only used in a very limited areas. the writer, however, does not care of the ways of competitions. But the importance is the textbooks must be revisited academically.

The English textbooks for elementary students must be academically revisited because nothing is perfect including the textbooks. To revisit, whether the books are composed well or not is better to consider the experts’ ideas concerning the qualifications of a good textbook. Some of the qualifications are as follows:

1. The textbooks must be illustrative

Illustrations in textbooks are useful not only to interest students to study but also to invite them to use the books as teaching aids. They are essential in learning processes because they may assist students to comprehend the materials extended. The first interaction between students and textbooks before comprehending the text is when they look up the illustrations of pictures attached in the books. The pictures lead their attention to before something else. After looking up piece by piece, they intend to comprehend their content. For the reason, the illustrations are helpful.

2. The textbooks must be communicative

English textbooks for elementary students must be communicative. Speech is the primary; and as far as possible teachers should introduce the other skills later because the introduction of the two language systems – the spoken and the the written forms at the same time, will make students confused; because fundamentally they are different. When teachers force students to do, there will be confusion to differentiate between both of which. Moreover, students who succeed to get good scores in the study are those who memorize the written forms not their pronunciations. For the reason, the introduction of the former should be postponed. This is in line with the theory of language acquisition as well as the communicative function of language. Besides, this is based on the observation conducted by the writer in several teaching learning processes.

3. Attaching the teachers’ guide

Not all teachers are ready and skillful to make teaching preparations and presentations. This is not because they are not able to do so but because of several reasons as reluctance, time restrictions, and being established with the teaching models processed. Because of the reasons above, the writer views that each textbook should attach the teachers’ guise on how to present materials in the books. However, this is the fact that elementary textbook writers have not included the guide yet.

4. Should meet the curriculum demand

The elementary-class English curriculum is addressed to equip the elementary students to be skillful in the simple oral communication. According to the writer, five dimensions should be adapted to meet the curriculum demand. Among them are for instance the theory of language acquisition, the materials, the choice of approach and method, the presentation and the evaluation.

Based on the language acquisition, students should listen first before they speak; and should speak before they read; and then should read before they write. The presentation of materials is ambiguos because students should master the spoken and the written forms at one time. In addition, the written materials are much more for vocabulary enrichment and not for oral skills, while the written is the most sophisticated skills. If this is introduced earlier, it may make teaching English in Elementary school ineffective.

The second is the materials by which they must be simple. The way of presenting English materials in Elementary Institutions is to not only take the given materials in Junior Secondary School and adjust them in Elementary class. This is the fact that some textbooks are not written based on the real observations or researches. Most of them are written behind the table by those who never teach and observe the teaching of English in Elementary Schools. The materials are so theoretical rather than practical. In addition, they are also difficult because some of them should be consumed by junior secondary students.

The next is the choice of approach and method. Teaching English in elementary school is not only to transfer the approach and method used in junior or to senior high schools. There must be standardization on how to use approach and method for the teaching. To meet the demand there must be a lot English teacher training programs that should be applied in the class. When the trainings are conducted, they must be ideal. However, the result of the trainings are not practiced in the class so the standardization only happens in the training and is not practiced in the class because of the evaluation system. As far as the written evaluation is still used, the target of the oral mastery will as the pie in the sky.

The fourth is the presentation. Because the teaching of English in elementary school is for oral mastery, the presentation must be for communicative function. In addition, as the former explanation, the materials should be presented orally and the written presentation should be delayed. However, teachers are often confused since if they present orally they will problems in the test because the evaluation is conducted paper by paper.

The last is evaluation. Sp far, the evaluation of English is written. Of course, this is unsuitable with the curriculum of English in Elementary School is for oral mastery, thus the evaluation must be oral. Unfortunately, that test is conducted paper by paper not oral test. For that reason, it is undeniable if the elementary graduates are not able to communicate even though by using simple expressions because there is still an ambiguity between the process and the target. The writer believes that the introduction of English in elementary institutions will not be helpful for secondary institutions if the systems used are still ambiguous. (F)

by: Mr. Ruwandi, MA

Thinking Over Goals and Objectives in Building up Vocabulary

There are a few stages to build up vocabularies. One of them is considering goals and objectives. The consideration of them in the same as the consideration of goals and objectives in the study of the other subjects. Before starting building up the vocabularies, learners should purpose what kind of goals ans objectives they are going to achieve. Proposing them will make the learners concentrate and focus on the memorization and retention of the novel words to be recalled sometime. In addition, they are able to control and evaluate their speed of progress. However, thinking over the goals and objectives is easy to suggest but sometimes has not been done yet by the learners. Absolutely, this consideration is not only useful for building up the vocabularies in particular but in all activities.

considering goals and objectives is less considered by learners. This stage is often forgotten although this is very crucial. Graves (1996:16) says goals are general statements of the overall, long-term purposes of the course. Objectives show the specific ways in which the goals will be achieved. The goals of a study represent the destination; the objectives are the various points that stage the study toward the destination, students should pass each of the points. The destination of building up vocabulary is the students are able to master and use the vocabulary in the written and spoken contexts. Quoting Gattegno, Richards (1992: 101) says that the objectives are: a) the students are able to master the semi-luxury vocabularies consisting of expressions common in the daily life of the target language culture referring to food, clothing, travel, family life, and the like, b) the students are able to master luxury vocabularies that are used to communicate more specialized ideas, such as political or philosophical opinions, c) students are able to master functional vocabularies of the language, many of which may not have direct equivalents in the learners’ native tongue. When each of these points is achieved the goals of building up vocabularies are also achieved.

Nunan (1989:48) states goals are indistinct general inventions behind any given learning task. They provide a point of contact between the task and the broader curriculum. Goals may relate to a range of general outcomes (communicative, affective, or cognitive) or may directly depict teacher or learner behaviour, another point worth identifying is that foals are not always explicitly mentioned, although they can usually be inferred from an examination of a task. Besides, there is a rarely a simple one-to-one relationship of goals and tasks. In several cases a complex task that involves a range of activities might be simultaneously moving students towards several goals.

The consideration of goals and objectives is necessary because students often study without specific purposes. Hamalik (1990) affirms one of the common mistakes made by students is studying without understanding the goals and objectives that are going to be achieved. Without certain goals and objectives, students could not realize the destination of the study. Consequently, they do not understand the topics that should be learnt, the strategies used to study the materials, the learning aids that should be prepared. and the way to evaluate the achievement.

Gerlach (1980) states one of the distinguishing characteristics of a learning objectives is that it reduces ambiguity to a minimum. Such objectives are not subject to many different interpretations. Some writers refer to objectives of this type as behavioral or performance objectives or criterion-referenced objectives. Others use the terms operationally stated objectives (that is, the objectives is stated in terms of the operations or procedures employed by the learner). It makes little difference what name you use. It is important that the behavior of the product in which you are interested be well defined. Since this is the type of objective which we find useful in teaching, we will simply use the term “good” or “useful” to refer to such well defined objectives. A good objective exhibits four distinguishing characteristics: a) it describes something which the learner does or produces, b) it states a behavior or a product of the learner’s behavior, c) it stated the conditions under which the behavior is to occur, and d) it states the standard which defines whether or not the objective has been attained.

That is clearly apparent that thinking over goals and objectives in building up vocabularies in particular and in learning the other subjects in general is one of beneficial stages in learning processes. The learning activities will, therefore, yield good or bad result depending upon whether or not learners comprehend their goals and objectives. Their learning can be time consuming or productive. It can be wasteful if they learn without the goals and the objectives. But it cannot be impossible to be advantageous if they start by goals and objectives from the very beginning.

Another must also be obvious that to think over goals and objectives is not only teachers’ business. It must also be learners’ attention. Unless they will have no destination because the learners will confuse to prioritize their learning target. Up to the present time, however, most of students go to schools or campuses without clear destination. They come in class with an empty bag of mind; no preparation, no goals and objectives, and finally no clear result. And unfortunately, they know nothing at the end of studying. For the reason, thinking over goals and objectives should be the main priorities in learning processes. (F)

by: Mr. Ruwandi, MA

Intelligence and Language Study

The relation between language study and intelligence is similar with that of language, brain, language acquisition and language development. The relation of them in brain is conceptual but the products of the relation are very concrete. Take for instance; humans are able to produce language utterances after their brain is stimulated by verbal behaviors from outside. Formerly, they only receive the stimuli from others before having abilities to produce the utterances. Then, the recipient tries to retain the stimuli in the deepest brain possessed by all humans that will be recalled sometime when they have been able to produce the language utterances starting from the meaningless to the meaningful ones. Amazingly, at the certain age-approximately six years, the young humans have become matured in the language productions. They are able to use the language by recalling the language stocks in their brain through oral or written symbols. This is absolutely the work of brain sent to the humans’ organs of speech. Thus before they produce the language symbols, they receive the language stimuli or verbal behaviors. The stimuli are processed in the brain, and by the instruction of it, the organs of speech produce the language symbols. At the course of the time, the process of receiving, processing, producing and developing of language symbols becomes polarized and complicated. For the reason, there are two working processes done by brain namely acquisition and production. At the former activity, the brain receives and processes the language stimuli and at the latter stage, it produces and develops into the most sophisticated language use.

This is the fact that the work of brain share to all staged namely from the receiving through processing and from the production through development. In addition, the work is also important for the all stages. Humans will have a great stock of languages when their brains are able to receive the stimuli well. Similarly, the stimuli can be retained longer and stronger when they are able to process those stimuli right. Besides, the language products and the development of them may change significantly when the brains work soundly too. The stage of the processes begins from the simplest through the complicated in accordance with the development of humans’ brain. Humans are only able to receive when the quality and capacity of their brains are still simple. However, they are very skillful to produce unimaginable language utterances when their brain capacity and quality develop.

There are several intelligences in our brain. Howard Gardner quoted by Harmer (2001) says that humans have a range of intelligences. They do not only have a single intelligences, in fact. according to him, there are seven types of intelligences namely musical/rhythmic, verbal/linguistic, visual/spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, logical/mathematical, intrapersonal and interpersonal. All people posses all of these intelligences, but in each person, one or more of them is more pronounced. The types of the pronouncing intelligences the human’ posses will determine the typical occupation. People who have strength in logical and mathematical intelligence will tend to be scientists. They having strength in visual/spatial intelligence might well be that navigators. The athletes might be the typical end state of people who are strong in bodily/kinesthetic intelligence. Those who have verbal/linguistic intelligence will be skillful in the use of language and so on. Besides, he adds another intelligence namely naturalistic intelligence to account for the ability to recognize and classify patterns in nature. Then, Goleman adds the ninth ’emotional intelligence that includes the ability to empathize, control, impulse, and self-motivate.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming practitioners use different terms concerning the ways in which humans experience the world. They consist of visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory, and gustatory or Harmer (2001) say all people have these systems in experiencing the world, even though; they only have one ‘preferred primary system’. When people tend to have more pronounced auditory system, they will be easy to be stimulated by music. Others, who have visual as their primary preferred system, respond most powerfully to images.

Based on the formulation VACOG concept, this is clear that students will respond differently to stimuli and environment. Dede Teeler quoted by Harmer (2001) says that kinesthetic students will behave differently when introduced to the Internet as language learning equipment from the dominant visual learners. The latter will need demonstration of what to be done before they dive into Internet tasks, unlike their kinesthetic friends who just get on and do it. Harmer (2001) says that VACOG also shows some students will get most the things they hear whereas others need to see them. This recommends that purely oral presentations of language will be most appropriate for some individuals in a group. While visual material and written text may be more effective for other students.

Although the two suggestions and different terms concerning language and intelligence but both of which show that there is a much-closed relation between language learning and the intelligence? In addition, they agree that all human beings have such a kind of intelligences. the former emphasizes that everyone has different speed in language learning because the one has different pronounced intelligence. This is the fact the speed is very influenced by the intelligence. Thus, people who have the more pronounced verbal/linguistic intelligence will be faster in acquiring language than the others. The latter, however, more emphasizes the learning styles characterizing the students. Some of the bodies may be visual learners while others are auditory. This also suggests that teachers should give different treatments and use different teaching apparatuses in the language learning. In conclusion, the same learning task and the same teaching equipment may not be appropriate for all of our students.

by: Mr. Ruwandi, MA

(F)

The Existence of Teachers in Classroom

The Existence of Teachers in Classroom

Teachers play an important role in classroom. They are the central figures in the class. It, however, must not be negatively interpreted. The term central or dominant in this case is not identical with the authoritarianism. It does not mean that they are only authorities in the class such as happened in the traditional teaching situations by which the teachers were the only sources of information and could not be intervened. The students, as a result, were the objects of teaching and less important. They did not have right or “bargaining position”. Although just a little, to self-actualization as asking question, correcting, reviewing their teachers’ ideas and the like. To do so, therefore, was regarded impolite and unusual.

In the modern classroom interaction, despite, the existence of teachers has changed thoroughly. Anyway, they are not the only sources of information and students are not that teaching objects anymore. The students are not only the information receivers, but they may be information givers. Teachers and student’ existence is “comparable”. They may take and give one and another, without reducing their respect to teachers.

The terms central or dominant in this discussion, then, is similar with collaboration, that is the collaboration between teachers and students and among the students in succeeding an ideal teaching learning activity. In this opportunity, teachers may perform as organizers and students are their good members. Good members will not let the leaders get explained without close attention. Conversely the leaders will not look over their followers as the supplementary objects. Teachers, in this case, should be good collaborators.

The question is why teachers are so “central” or “dominant” among the other components? This is because they are the only adult figures who are responsible to organize all the components that influence teaching learning activities including students. We cannot underestimate their strategic comedown from the very beginning. To be clear, let the writer elaborate their crucial existence in the following chapters.

Firstly, teachers are the teaching objective designers. These are their own duty to do. They could not render the jobs to others take for instance for their students or assistants. They also could not hung on their duty to their companions. They must do these themselves so they must be skillful to achieve the fruitful goals. To do so is not an easy job because they are necessary to formulate the general objectives accurately and that specific objectives accurately and that specific objectives operationally. Both of which must be different because the former should describe the general goals which will be achieved and the later describes the specific goals that will be reached. They should manage them conscientiously since the goals of learning interaction are described in the objectives and will influence in the way of elaboration.

Then, when the interaction has been going on, teachers must be skillful to perform in different styles in front of their students. They must be ideal collaborators who are able to create such a good collaboration among different students having different characteristics and potentials. They must also be managers responsible for organizing class activities, be motivators when they find their students reluctant to study, and also be facilitators making the students easy to study and the like. In arranging the class, they should not lost charisma, even though, they might not make their students frighten, to do so, they are to endeavor their ability since they are the only persons committing to create such a kind of atmosphere.

Next, presenting instructional materials in classroom is not as simply as somebody assumes. Exactly, the most instructional materials tend to be boring; teachers, however, must be qualified to reconstruct, decorate, and cover the instructional material weakness in order that the materials look important to study and are easy to understand. As a matter of fact again, they are necessary to reconsider a few aspects as different students’ characteristics or traits, intelligence, speed in studying and to adjust them with instructional materials. This aims to arrange easily comprehensible teaching materials.

Afterwards, considering the method used is another teachers’ duty. The best method consideration cannot be undertaken at glance for it will bring about a big influence towards the success of the instructional material presentation. It means the presentation will be efficient if the selected method is appropriate, and yet, it will be fail because of the un-appropriate method used. In the consideration, teachers may not forget to review several elements which influence the application of the method such as the domains they want to achieve, the different potential of the students, the availability of teaching aids and also environmental condition. Without agility and adequate skill, they may not forget to review several elements which influence the application of the method such as the domains they want to achieve, the availability of teaching aids and also environmental condition. Without agility and adequate skill, they may easily depress when preparing the ideal method for teaching learning interaction.

Finally, when the “process” ends, teachers commit to prepare evaluation. This step is sometimes regarded as the last stage of the teachers’ duty but it is not absolutely the latest. When teaching learning interaction ends, they are responsible to make evaluation of the process to know whether this succeeds or not. The evaluation of teaching learning interaction proposed in the lesson plan is comparably useful to use. In addition, they immediately concern with formative test when they have finished one topic of instruction. Then, when a teaching program ends, together with their companions they should conduct final test held institutionally. The next corresponding duty after holding final test is correcting students’ paper, grading them to get the raw and the final score. This is followed by designing feedback and preparing the following program. The teachers’ duty, therefore, is never finished. Before a duty ends, the other activities have waited for being done. It is fair then to say that teacher is “central” in teaching learning interaction.

by: Mr. Ruwandi, MA

(F)

 

 

 

STAIN Salatiga Terbitkan Majalah

Seputar Salatiga

Published by Suara Merdeka, January 15th 2009

STAIN Terbitkan Majalah

Sidomukti-Fakultas Pendidikan Bahasa Inggris STAIN Salatiga telah menerbitkan majalah berbahasa Inggris bernama LINK. Sesuai dengan namanya, majalah tersebut diharapkan menjadi jembatan yang menghubungkan mahasiswa, dosen dan sekolah-sekolah dalam berkomunikasi melalui pengetahuan dan tulisan. Ruwandi, penanggung jawab penerbitan majalah tersebut mengatakan, pihaknya membuka kesempatan kepada siapa saja untuk mengirimkan artikel dan tulisan.

(F)