Author: Faye Ameliori Soteriani Radja Pono
People from all over the world use different languages to communicate, and because of that, some people might not understand what others say. Therefore, there needs to be an auxiliary language, a shared language that everyone can understand. With over one million speakers, English is undoubtedly one of the most used languages. According to research done by W3 Techs in 2019, an English-speaking person can access 60% of everything published on the internet. Now, what if a person or even a city can’t interact due to the lack of English proficiency? What can we do to fix that? In this essay, I will explain the problem with my city’s lack of English proficiency and what I can do to improve that.
According to EF EPI, Indonesia’s English Proficiency Index is in 74th place out of 100. Keep in mind that this is the English Proficiency Index of the whole of Indonesia. As we know, Indonesia consists of many islands and cities. For the bigger cities like Jakarta, the English proficiency might be higher than in smaller ones like my city, Kupang. Before we get into how to improve my city’s English proficiency, let’s find out what causes the lack of English proficiency in Kupang.
First of all, people in Kupang think that English is boring and hard to learn. A lot of them give up halfway through because of the reasons mentioned earlier. I think English teachers can be part of the problem. Hence, I believe that training the teachers to use more engaging methods in teaching can solve the problem. Teachers need to make English more appealing for their students and change their mindset about it. That way, students can start to see English as something enjoyable and learn to love it. Perhaps teachers can also begin to speak English in their school or teach in English.
The next problem is the lack of reading interest. Reading can help a lot in learning English and, a lack of interest in reading can slow the learning progress. For this problem, schools and other educational institutions need to start stocking up on English books ranging from easy-to-read children’s books to classic literature books. If texts are still too complex for the students, they can begin by watching English movies in class. Introducing kids to English books and cartoons from an early age also helps with their English skills. Therefore, parents also need to be aware of the importance of good English skills and how those skills can affect their children’s futures.
Another problem is the lack of English speakers. Because of that, some people who want to learn to speak English can’t do so because they have no one to converse with. Here in Kupang, we have a designated English day where everyone is supposed to speak English but, people don’t take it seriously. Some people think that English is not important enough to be taken seriously, which is another problem.
As stated previously, some people think that English is not significant enough. We can solve this by implementing English in some relevant places such as schools and government offices. With that, maybe people will realize how important it is and how they can do almost nothing without it. I also think that institutions and offices need to take their students’ or workers’ English proficiency seriously. For example, they can set a minimum TOEFL or IELTS score for those who want to join.
Having an English club as an extracurricular activity at school can also help in implementing English in school. Students from this extracurricular can help influence other students to begin speaking English and even assist some students in learning. Slowly and gradually, the whole school will be able to use English daily. Hosting an English-based competition or school event is another way to get students to use English. Actively partaking in said events can help students improve their English.
An additional way to improve people’s English skills is to get our family, neighbors, and people close to us to converse in English. Start by doing something simple such as greeting them in English every day. If they happen to be not fluent in English, perhaps we can even become their English teacher and teach them basic English. Looking for a pen pal or online friend from overseas is another way to practice and improve our English skills.
The existence of English courses like EF helps people in learning English too. Some people want to learn more and improve their English but they have no one to help. Now, they can do so with the help of teachers from English courses.
In conclusion, many problems cause the lack of English proficiency in my city. But, there are ways that I, as a teenager, can do to improve my city’s English proficiency. I can start with myself, then slowly engaging the people near me to begin using English daily. At first, it might look like it’s in vain but, if more people keep doing it, I’m sure my city’s English proficiency will improve one day.
Efforts from the local government, teachers, parents, and other people are also needed to improve this city’s English proficiency. One person’s work won’t make much impact on such a big thing like this. Therefore, good teamwork is needed so we can achieve the goal of improving Kupang’s English proficiency. Like the bigger cities in Indonesia, Kupang can also have a higher English proficiency and help to improve Indonesia’s English Proficiency Index.
Compared to earlier generations, today’s generation is more fluent in English. Hence, it is not impossible to create an English-speaking environment to help other people learn English properly. Armed with recent technologies and social media, this younger generation has the ability to influence and encourage others, especially older generations, to use English in their daily lives. Spreading awareness about how having English as a second language can help us is really important. If more and more people have the awareness, they too can start to help improve their cities’ English proficiency which will help improve Indonesia’s English Proficiency Index.
Saya generasi muda yang peduli literasi! Artikel ini ditulis sebagai bentuk serta EF Literacy Day Competition 2021: https://www.ef.co.id/writing-competition