A Studium Generale with Dr. Willy A. Renandya from NIE, Singapore on "Language Proficiency and Teaching Effectiveness"

[FBS - Karangmalang] Teaching English effectively has become one of some commonly-discussed issues among its stakeholders, especially those dealing with teaching English as a foreign language or English as a second language. Many agree that one important key for achieving such effectiveness in teaching English is the teacher's language proficiency. To be an English teacher, someone's language proficiency must be at a certain qualified level. But prior to this, a teacher to be needs to understand what is meant by language proficiency along with some other related matters such as why it is important and how one can reach or improve the proficiency.


In response to this need, as an institution preparing English teachers, the English Education Study Program of Yogyakarta State University has an obligation to make the students who act as pre-service English teachers aware of what they should know and do, both at present state and in the future. Based on this, an agenda called Studium Generale was conducted by the English Education Study Program in March 8, 2018.


The agenda took a topic covering the discussion of language proficiency and teaching effectiveness. For facilitating the students with an adequate knowledge of the related topic, an expert in the relevant field, Dr. Willy A. Renandya from the National Institute of Education of Nanyang Institute of Technology, Singapore, was invited to be the keynote speaker of the agenda. Regarding the importance of the agenda, it was compulsory for English Education students in the second and the third year to present in the event.


Opened by the Head of English Education Department, Mr. Sukarno, the agenda which took place at the seminar room of Faculty of Languages and Arts began at 8 a.m. The speaker started by elaborating what is meant by English language proficiency along with the indicators indicating someone's language proficiency. What was found to be interesting by the audience in this discussion was the fact that the language proficiency of the English teachers in Indonesia is still in a very low percentage.  The other facts which quite wakening the audience were that there has not been any standard measurement used to measure the teacher's language proficiency applied in this country and the comparison of Indonesian English teachers' language proficiency with the other English teachers from the other countries.


Dr. Renandya continued the discussion with the importance of language proficiency, again with some interesting factual evidences. The facts were not only related to the education scope but also to the other influencing aspects such as economic and social condition. The audience intensely paid close attention to the explanation given by the speaker. The last part of the discussion was about how to reach certain language proficiency. Dr. Renandya explained some theories including the input theory and skill learning theory: how to be proficient in a certain language. He also shared several interesting real stories from some colleagues he knows about the ways that might be taken to improve language proficiency. The agenda was closed by questions and answer session. There were quite many students wanting to ask, but due to the limited time, the questions were restricted.


The Studium Generale ended at 10.30 a.m. The students looked satisfied and got illuminated with the discussion and explanation. The agenda was continued with an introduction to British Parliamentary system of English Debate including explanation from several lectures who were found out to be ex-debaters and followed by debate performances. The agenda finished at 4. p.m. in the afternoon with a still quite great number of participants as they were promised to get special facility from the university (Dewanti & Mahripah, PBI UNY).