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English Language Teaching in Indonesia

Historically, English language teaching (ELT) had been performed since the pre-
independence of Indonesian Country. It was first taught in 1900s when there is a shift to put
English subject as the replacement of French subject in Europesche Lagere school(European
primary school) (Groeneboer, 1998, cited in Mistar, 2005). By the time goes, ELT in
Indonesia had been acknowledged as the first foreign language that should be put as subject
in Indonesian Curriculum (Mistari, 2004).

In 1942, when Japan ruled Indonesia for about three and a half years, Dutch and
English was excluded so that everything which related with those two languages teaching
were banned and limited. Hence, formal English language teaching was not exist anymore
during that time. Otherwise, there was only Bahasa Indonesia which was allowed to be
taught. This prohibition was not last longer standing as Ir. Soekarno and Drs. Moh. Hatta
proclaimed Republic Indonesia Independence on 17 August 1995. English was allowed to be
taught though there was still not any decrees which stated that English was placed as foreign
language to be put in school subject.

However, English language teaching had been included in Indonesian Curriculum

since it was first formulated. As the fact, Indonesia has implemented nine curriculum up to
today. Those are in 1947. 1952, 1968, 1975, 1984, 1994, 2004, 2006, and 2013 curriculum.
Those curriculum had been changed in dealing with various need in various era. Moreover,
Richards (2001) conveys the need of curriculum development is to consider certain group of
learners’ needs, to develop objectives from that needs, to choose proper syllabus, teaching
material, method, and course structure of the needs and to determine what evaluation should
be done toward English language teaching from recent curriculum.

In response with curriculum evaluation, the Ministry of Education and Culture has
renewed previous curriculum, 2006 Curriculum, into 2013 Curriculum. Indeed, this decision
is a result of different needs in this era so that a new curriculum has been formulated. Many
aspects such as proper syllabus, teaching material, method, course structure, and approach
has been regulated in coping with recent needs. Based on Ministry of Education (2013), 2013
Curriculum is made to replace 2004 Curriculum or KTSP. This curriculum is actually
intended to build a new situation of teaching-learning process. That new situation leads
Indonesian education system to be more active in which there is a change from deductive
learning into inductive learning. Thus, it is formulated a basic approach which is called as
Scientific Approach.
In recent Curriculum, the government generates a new approach that is so-called
Scientific Approach. This approach is developed as an effort to cope with the changing from
teacher-centred classroom into students-centred classroom. Of course, this approach will give
more active experience of students since this is actually adopted from scientific research.

Scientific Approach

In line with those explanations, it can be related to the definition of SA which has
been posted by Ministry of Education and Culture (2013). There is an effort to adopt the
implementation of SA teaching, especially in English Language Teaching. They stated that
learning process with SA is a learning which comprises several activities such as observing
(identifying something), questioning (and formulating hypotheses), experimenting/collecting
data (information) within many kinds of technique, associating/analyzing/processing data
(information), drawing conclusion and also communicating the result of learning which
comprises getting knowledge, skill and behavior (Ministry of Education and Culture, 2013).

The Stages of Scientific Approach in Teaching Learning Process

Since Scientific Approach is considered as one of successful ways to gain knowledge,

it is then believed that scientific approach will remain the same advantages when this
approach is adopted in education manner. It is the reason why the Government implements
this in 2013 Curriculum.

As explained before, Scientific Approach comprises some stages. Each stage has its
role to encourage students in learning a lesson inductively. Furthermore, Permendikbud No.
18a Tahun 2013 (Ministry of Education and Culture, 2013) adds that the stages in Scientific
Approach as follow:

a. Observing
Observing is the first stage of SA. It deals with the essence of scientific approach since
2013 Curriculum uses inductive learning and deductive learning. While students are doing
observation, they will be curious and then try to guess what lesson that they are going to learn
at that day. Sort of activities that are conducted in observing are reading, listening, observing,
seeing (with or without any tools) to identify targeted things. Then, prior knowledge plays an
important role here since it will be activated and recalled so that they can understand what
they are observing. The observation activities might lead many questions among them. Thus,
it will be kept in their memory and continued in the next stage; questioning.

b. Questioning
As the first stage students have passed, the second stage will be questioning. They
will try to ask some question they have not understood yet in order to fulfill their curiosity
that they get in previous stage. Teacher can also make a question in order to stimulate
students’ curiosity so that the students will ask more questions. Certainly, in this stage, the
role of teacher as a facilitator is mostly needed in encouraging or stimulating students to ask.

c. Experimenting/Collecting Information

After the students get some information from questioning stage, they will continue to
the next stage, experimenting/collecting information. They are stimulated to do experiment of
what lesson they are learning at that day. For example, they may browse another source from
the internet, read from the book, observing real condition happens related to the lesson or
interviewing some informants. These activities are conducted to collect another data and
information from what they do. Thus, the data that they get will give them new experience
and lead them to understand more about the lesson.

d. Associating/Analyzing
Associating is such an activity to integrate and connect some information into one
further interpretation. Students might get new understanding about what they have learnt
through relating some information or previous data they get. Then, they will analyze and
attempt to make hypotheses from that. That hypotheses will lead them into tentative
conclusion and then teacher as the facilitator will do confirmation about what students have

e. Communicating
In this stage, students are required to communicate and perform what they have learnt
in one section or lesson. The result they may perform is the assignment that teacher has
given. For example, after the students have associated and analyzed, teacher may ask them to
do some tasks related to the lesson. They will do that task individually or group, depending
on the teacher instruction. After they have finished doing the task, teacher asks them to
perform their work. Then, teacher guides students to get the correct information from what
they have performed.

f. Creating
This stage is the last stage of SA. Though it is not stated in Ministerial Decree no
103/2014, this stage is actually can be put as an optional activity when the teaching learning
process has reached Some teaching-learning process uses this stage while some others do not
use this, depending on the need of each classroom. For example, students are asked to write a
new writing of describing place. They will do that task individually. Then, teacher will collect
their work, do some correction and give feedback to them.
Furthermore, Suharyadi (2013) had conducted a research which explored the
existence of Scientific Approach in English language teaching. He concluded that actually
Scientific Approach is an approach of language teaching which is newly adapted and adopted
from teaching and research in Science. He also added that SA in English Language Teaching
is still vague. SA cannot be regarded as a real approach in ELT, but rather fixed steps only.
This point of view leads to the fact that SA is still needed further analyses in order to receive
the essence of SA. Then, the researcher only focuses on the Scientific Approach stages which
are used in by English teacher in Vocational High School.

Scientific Approach Formulated by the Government

As explained previously, Scientific Approach has become the main approach in 2013
Curriculum teaching learning process since Ministry of Education and Culture had launched
new policies of education. In Ministerial Decree no 103/2014 (Ministry of Education and
Culture, 2014b), it is stated that “Pembelajaran pada Kurikulum 2013 menggunakan
pendekatan saintifik atau pendekatan berbasis proses keilmuan.” Hence, Scientific Approach
should be implemented in every subject, including English subject. Moreover, Ministry of
Education and Culture brings a brief explanation of to what extent scientific approach stages

Table 2.1 Learning Process Description (translated from Ministerial Decree no

103/2014, see Appendix 1)



Observing Observing by senses Pay attention when they

(reading, listening, observe an object / read a
observing, seeing, watching, passage / listen to the
etc.) with or without tools. explanation, note which
are made of what is being
observed, patient, time (on

Questioning Making and asking Kind, quality, and quantity

questions, questions and of statement that students
answers section, discussing ask (factual, procedural,
about unknown information. and hypothetical question).

Experimenting/ Collecting Exploring, trying, Quality and quantity of

Information demonstrating, mimicking examined/used sources,
form/movement, doing information completeness,
experiment, reading other validity of obtained
sources than textbooks, information, and
collecting data from instrument/tool that is used
informant through to collect data.
questionnaire, interview, and
modifying / adding /

Associating/ Analyzing Processing obtained Developing interpretation,

information, analyzing argumentation and
categorized data, associating conclusion of relationship
or related phenomenon / between two facts /
information in order to concepts, interpreting
conclude it. argumentation and
conclusion of relationship
between two facts /
concepts / theories,
argumentation and
conclusion from many
kinds of facts / concepts /
theories / opinion.

Communicating Presenting report in a form of Presenting the result (from

chart, diagram, or graphic; observing up to
making written report; and associating) in form of
presenting report including written text, graphic,
process, result, and electronic device,
conclusion in form of multimedia, etc.

Teacher’s Role in Scientific Approach Stages

Teacher is the person who has authority in teaching. There are many points of views
of what actually the role of teacher since they have full authority in the classroom. However,
Westwood (2008) has summarized those views into two views; constructivist view and
instructivist view. Constructivist believes that teacher has to build students’ understanding
from their own activities. On the other hand, instructivist believes that teacher should teach
students directly. These arguments opposite each other.
To cope with those different beliefs, then, it is believed that the teacher’s role points
out the need of see all of learners is an active learner. Then, it can be briefly defined the role
of teacher comes to be students’ helper and facilitator, rather than instructor (Westwood,
2008). In fact, this view is in line with the need of student-center as the basis of teaching
learning in 2013 Curriculum.
To deal with the teacher’s role in 2013 curriculum, it can be formulated that teacher
should facilitate students. Then, this description bellow will obviously show the role of
teacher in each stage in Scientific Approach as the basic need for the implementation of 2013

a. Observing
In the observing stage, teacher leads students to observe what teaching media/things,
in the form of textbook, audio, pictures, videos, etc., the teacher has shown up to the teacher.
In addition, teacher is not allowed to only show those media without any clues. These
activities will portray what actually students will learn at that day.
Furthermore, Ministry of Education and Culture (2014a) also elaborates steps that
should be prepared and considered by the teacher as follows:
- Determining what object that should be observed.
- Formulating observation limitation in line with scope of observed object.
- Determining what data should be observed explicitly, both primer and secondary
- Determining where the location of the observation is.
- Determining clearly how observation will be conducted to collect the data so that
it can run smoothly and well.
- Determining the way of taking-note toward observation results such as note,
camera, voice recorder, video recorder and other means.

b. Questioning
As the first stage students have passed, the second stage will be questioning. The
teacher will encourage the students by letting them ask questions from what they have been
observed. In this stage, teacher should get the students to notice which part actually becomes
the limelight of the previous stage (observing). Indeed, teacher has to mainly act as the
facilitator instead of giving information directly to the students.
Moreover, the teacher has to make sure that they could formulate a good initial
question. It is expected that this question will stimulate them in dealing with the material or
the lesson. Besides, what to be the main aim of this stage is to give students more info toward
the lesson they are learning at that time (Ministry of Education and Culture, 2014a). It is also
fully expected that the questions are mostly delivered by the students so that it will activate
their critical and higher thinking toward the lesson.
In addition, Ministry of Education and Culture (2014a) explains exposures that should
be provided by the teacher as follows:
- Giving initial question to stimulate critical questions from the students.
- Giving certain questions to get explicit information from what the students
- Giving certain questions to get implicit information from what the students are
observing or things related to it.
- Guiding the students to formulate a good and aimed question toward what they are
observing or things related to it.
- Giving good questions in order to inspire students to give good answers.

c. Experimenting/Collecting Information

As the students have gained some information from two previous stages, the teacher
then asks the students to do some activities in which provide more understanding from the
students. Teacher lets the students to gain more information from other sources about what
they are learning. Then, teacher leads the students to do experiment activities to highlight the
students’ prior knowledge.

There are 4 learning activities by Ministry of Education and Culture (2014a):

- Doing experiment.
- Reading another source; other than book.
- Observing object/occurrence/activities; and
- Interviewing informant.

In addition, in experimenting/collecting information stage, there are some suggestions

for the teacher in facilitating students. Those suggestions are listed in Ministry of Education
and Culture (2014a) as follows:

- Teacher should formulate instructional objective of experiment the students will

- Teacher and students prepare the experiment means altogether.
- Teacher should consider place and time estimation of experimenting activities.
- Teacher should provide experiment sheet for the students and limitation of
- Teacher should explain what problem that will be experimented.
- Teacher should distribute experiment sheet to students.
- Teacher should guide students while they are experimenting.
- Teacher should collect students’ experiment results and then evaluate it.
- If it is needed, teacher should lead class discussion toward the result.

d. Associating/Analyzing
In this stage, teacher will lead the students to make a comparison and contrast
between what the students have experimented to others sources they have sought. Then, the
students will associate that knowledge in order to prepare deeper analyzing. The teacher
should facilitate the students with all of knowledge the teacher has in order to help students
understand more about it.
As stated in Ministry of Education and Culture (2014a), there are some application in
which teacher should carry out to enhance students’ associating ability as follows:
- Teacher should designs planned and fixed learning materials which is in line with
2013 Curriculum demanding.
- Teacher should not implement much explanation or so-called as speech-method. It
is expected that the main role of teacher is to provide short and clear instructions
with examples both in his own way or simulation.
- Learning materials should be designed hierarchically, started from simple to
complex materials.
- Learning activities concerns on measurable and observable results.
- It should be a direct feedback of all mistakes the students or teachers did.
- It is needed drilling to the students in order to make them familiar toward lessons
they are learning.
- Evaluation and assessment are based on factual and authentic activities.
- It is required that the teacher record all students’ progress to give further feedback.

e. Communicating
In this stage, the teacher gets the students to make the same work by the students own
words. They will work individually or may be in a group. In the end of this stage, students are
asked to present what they have done. The role of teacher is to evaluate the students’
performance and to give feedback to them obviously.
Besides, it is worthy for teacher to give the students wider opportunities to seek
supported materials from other resources. Indeed, the usage of internet is also regarded as a
helpful means in all stages of Scientific Approach, especially in this stage. Then, Ministry of
Education and Culture (2014a) also suggests that teacher encourage students to make use of
internet as their additional information and references. Hence, they will get the best result as
they serve good work in this stage.
In addition, it is also suggested to conduct collaborative learning in this stage
(Ministry of Education and Culture, 2014a: 35). In this collaborative learning, teacher’s role
is as a directive facilitator. Otherwise, students should be active learners. Then, they are
involved in certain interaction to solve problems. Finally, it is expected that they can cope
with the problem altogether.

f. Creating
This stage is an additional stage so that the teacher may conduct this stage or not in
teaching learning process. Indeed, the teacher’s role in this stage is to give students task
which deals with all activities students have experienced at that day. This can be school work
or homework. The essence of this stage is to see whether the knowledge the teacher lead to is
acquired well or not by the students. Moreover, the teacher should provide consultation
section in order to give more explanation to what part the students might not understand so
far. In addition, internet can be a very helpful reference for the students in seeking additional
information toward their task.

Tabel 1: Deskripsi Langkah Pembelajaran *)

Langkah Deskripsi Kegiatan Bentuk Hasil Belajar

Mengamati Mengamati dengan indra Perhatian pada waktu
(observing) (membaca, mendengar, mengamati suatu
menyimak, melihat, objek/membaca suatu
menonton, dan sebagainya) tulisan/mendengar suatu
dengan atau tanpa alat. penjelasan, catatan yang
dibuat tentang yang diamati.
Menanya Membuat dan mengajukan Jenis, kualitas, dan jumlah
(questioning) pertanyaan, tanya jawab, pertanyaan yang diajukan
berdiskusi tentang peserta didik (pertanyaan
informasi yang belum faktual, konseptual,
dipahami, informasi prosedural, dan hipotetik)
tambahan yang ingin
diketahui, atau sebagai
Mengumpulkan Mengeksplorasi, mencoba, Jumlah dan kualitas sumber
informasi / berdiskusi, yang dikaji / digunakan,
mencoba mendemonstrasikan, kelengkapan informasi,
(experimenting) meniru bentuk/gerak, validitas informasi yang
melakukan eksperimen, dikumpulkan, dan
membaca sumber lain instrumen/alat yang
selain buku teks, digunakan untuk
mengumpulkan data dari mengumpulkan data.
narasumber melalui angket,
Menalar / Mengolah informasi yang Mengembangkan interpretasi,
Mengasosiasi sudah dikumpulkan, argumentasi dan kesimpulan
(associating) menganalisis data dalam mengenai keterkaitan
bentuk membuat kategori, informasi dari dua fakta /
mengasosiasi atau konsep, interpretasi
menghubungkan argumentasi dan kesimpulan
fenomena/informasi yang mengenai keterkaitan lebih
terkait dalam rangka dari dua fakta / konsep / teori,
menemukan suatu pola, menyintesis dan argumentasi
dan menyimpulkan. serta kesimpulan keterkaitan
antar berbagai jenis fakta /
konsep / teori / pendapat.