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Ahmad Nur Yazid

Psycolinguistic for Language Teacher

The Good Characteristics for Indonesian Students

in Studying Language
1. Introduction
Many learning methods have been conducted to investigate the characteristics of good
language learners. It is believed that good language learners have similar pattern in
developing their ability, which differentiate them from bad language learners (Nunan, 1999).
Rubin & Thompson (1982) have come to the 14 characteristics of good language learners.
The characteristics used by learners are influenced by several factors such as motivation,
language learning environment and learning style (Oxford, 2004).
The discuss will focus on the three most important characteristics of good Indonesian learners
in learning English as a foreign language. For additional, it will also discuss factors that
influence the use of the strategy, English learning in Indonesia, difficulties in language
learning and the three most important characteristics of good learners in learning English.
Oxford (1990) defines learning strategies as some particular ways used by learners to make
their learning process become more effective and more efficient. Good language learners can
be described as successful users of language learning strategies.
2. English Learning in Indonesia
In Indonesia, English is instructed to Junior High School student for a long time and after that
to Senior High School student for a long time as a compulsory subject. The primary
concentrate of showing English is on grammar and macro skills of Language (Reading,
Writing, Listening and Speaking). The most common method that teachers use in teaching
English is the grammar-translation method. Lamb (2004) describes Indonesian students as
dependent students. The national curriculum focuses on teachers not the students as the center
of the learning process. Textbooks are considered as the only resources that teachers use in
the classroom. The result of the leaning process is assessed by national examination without
considering the students needs. Consequently, students become passive learners. Research
by Exley (2005) shows that about 85 % of Indonesian students are categorized as less than
good in English spoken and written proficiency. Another study by Setiyadi (2001) suggests
that most students are never taught how to learn English by using good strategies.

The difficulties of learning English is developing communicative skills in the classroom and
make student more focus on the teaching. In many schools in Indonesia, learning English is
seen as learning some grammatical rules, doing some tasks without using the language
(Sawir. 2005). Reading is the dominant skill taught by teachers. Consequently, the three other
skills are ignored (Sugirin, 1999). Class size is another main difficulty in learning. There are
35 to 45 students in a class. Lack of funds is the reason for the class size (Exley, 2005).
Teachers ability in teaching English is also considered as the main factor of difficulty in
achieving good learners. Many teachers do not have good level in teaching English.
3. Good Student Characteristics

There are three main important characteristics of good language learners for Indonesia
learners. All of the students from little interview preferred to use metacognitive strategies in
learning English. Students centered, arranged, planned and evaluated their own learning.
Students became more independent in making any decision of their learning process. The
students were also influenced a lot by their motivation, learning environment, personal style
and attitude toward learning. The three main important characteristics of good language
learners are:
a. Learnes find their own way, taking charge of their learning.
The first pattern of good language learners was they tried to find their own way, taking
charge of their learning. Student in Senior High School had strong motivation to find their
own way to learn English. They had to spend their time, their money and their attention on
learning English outside the classroom. This also means that they realized learning English in
the classroom was not enough for them to be good learners.
b. Learners are creative, developing a feel for the language.

The second similar pattern of the learners in English was that they were creative, developing
a feel for the language. All of the learners used various media radio, TV, movies, songs and
magazines in learning English. They did not depend on the textbooks or any materials they
got from school or courses.

c. Learners make errors work for them and not against them

The last common pattern of good Indonesian learners was that they made errors work for
them and not against them. They were not afraid of making mistakes in learning English.
They learned a lot from the mistakes. The following comments show that attitude. Lastly,
Indonesian learners will always try and try again until correct.

4. Conclusion

In conclusion, the main discussion of this study help us to more understand good
characteristics for Indonesian learners in learning English. This discuss has figured out the
pattern of language strategies used by good Indonesian learners in learning English as a
foreign language. It also shows us the factors that influence the participants in using the
Exley, B. E. (2005). Teachers professional knowledge bases for offshore education: Two
case studies of western teachers working in Indonesia.(PhD thesis). Brisbane: Queensland
Univeristy of Technology. Harmer, J. (2003). The practice of English language teaching.
Harlow, England: Pearson Education Limited.

Sawir, E. (2005). Language difficulties of international students in Australia: The effects of

prior learning experience. International Education Journal, 6(5), 567-580.

Sugirin (1999). Studying the academic reading comprehension process: Responding to

methodological concerns. Paper presented to HERDSA Annual International Conference.
Melbourne, 12-15 July.