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#34891 - 22 Oct 06 11:05 linguistics students/writer seeks help
krismon krustie Offline
Member

Registered: 22 Oct 06
Posts: 9
Hmmm

Maybe I'm finally in the right place. I'm an Australian studying linguistics. I want to write a series of scholarly-yet-accessible articles re the way that English is taught in Indonesia -- I think that Indonesians are being short-changed by the old-fashioned approaches to teaching. However, in respect of actually contacting publications, I might as well be yelling into a dark hole.

Are there any bule journalists out there who can spare me an email? Yours, Mark


Edited by krismon krustie (22 Oct 06 11:05)

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#34895 - 22 Oct 06 12:11 Re: linguistics students/writer seeks help [Re: krismon krustie]
KuKuKaChu Moderator Offline
Pooh Bah

Registered: 09 Oct 05
Posts: 10790
Loc: Centre of the Universe
even if you contacted these illusory publications, what did you hope to achieve by writing such an article? and do you imagine such things haven't been written about before here?

Jakarta Post used to be filled with long boring articles deploring the state of the indonesian education system, and in particular, English teaching.

consider this: things may well be the way they are because that's the way people want them to be ...

sad, but true. indonesians have got the "education" system they deserve.
_________________________
KuKuKaChu: dangerously too sophisticated

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#34918 - 23 Oct 06 04:26 Re: linguistics students/writer seeks help [Re: KuKuKaChu]
krismon krustie Offline
Member

Registered: 22 Oct 06
Posts: 9
Hi, kukukachu

There's nothing so illusory about The Jakarta Post. I've contributed to it in the post.

What do I hope to achieve? I hope to develop my knowledge of an area that will be my specialty, and is contiguous to my academic background. The reason that I know that such things have not been written before is because I spent five and a half years teaching English in Jakarta. The lack is a reflection of both the unfortunately commercial nature of the Indonesian English-langauge industry and the very very slow progress that Indonesia is taking in respect of 'progressive' academic doctrines -- which is to say, not to put too fine a point on it, that Indoesia's theory is based on belief and not any demonstrables.

You may not realise, Kukukachu, that the pedagogy that informs the teaching of English in Indonesia is way out of date. Indonesians are being taught 'rules' -- such as 'who/whom' -- that are as dead as the dodo. The reason that they are being taught such rules is that the pedagogy that informs such tests as the TOEFL and the IELTS is outdated -- but the schools can drag their arses along the ground, making a bit of money, by just teaching the old stuff, and completely ignoring what is happening in the English-speaking world.

I think that objectivity is a prerequisite to social progress. I think all Indonesians deserve a better 'product.'

Mark

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#34928 - 24 Oct 06 03:30 Re: linguistics students/writer seeks help [Re: krismon krustie]
krismon krustie Offline
Member

Registered: 22 Oct 06
Posts: 9
Hmmm

Thank you to whomever emailed me re Mr. Graham's site. It's interesting, but I'm trying to contact SOMEONE (without having to join Google or provide friend's emails)

. I will check in patiently:there doesn't seem to be a torrent of traffic on this site. If anyone wants any news from Perth, send me an email.

Mark

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#34931 - 24 Oct 06 04:03 Re: linguistics students/writer seeks help [Re: krismon krustie]
KuKuKaChu Moderator Offline
Pooh Bah

Registered: 09 Oct 05
Posts: 10790
Loc: Centre of the Universe
Quoting: krismon krustie
. I will check in patiently:there doesn't seem to be a torrent of traffic on this site.


you probably don't know, being rather remote from indonesia, but today is idul fitri (think xmas). the next week will be very quiet here, as will it be on every indonesian site (check out thejakartapost.com for a laugh wink )


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KuKuKaChu: dangerously too sophisticated

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#34932 - 24 Oct 06 04:13 Re: linguistics students/writer seeks help [Re: krismon krustie]
riccardo Offline
Pujangga

Registered: 12 Oct 05
Posts: 2195
Loc: Jakarta
KK, it's a big-time national holiday here, everyone in Indonesia is either traveling to the family home or sitting on a beach in Bali, that's why traffic at this site is low at the moment. Expect it to pick up again by next Monday, 30 October, when people start trickling back to homes and offices.

I'm not sure why you need these personal emails? People can be a bit wary of that these days. Just browse around the net and send your stuff to The Jakarta Post, The Point (there's a discussion here about this new paper in the media frenzy section/forum), Tempo English Magazine and a friend of mine who is a European wire service bureau chief based in bali, www.fabioscarpello.com

Or did you want to publish in one of the academic/think tank type journals?

In general, Indonesians have very little capacity to criticize themselves or their education system and have even less time for foreigners trying to do it ---- which, of course, is one of THE MAIN REASONs why the system is languishing far behind nearly every other country in Asia and beyond.

As for myself, I'd be keen to read your article(s) on the subject.

cheers and good luck
_________________________
Just here proffering my pearls to swine, my throat to wolves and my trousers to the flagpole.

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#34954 - 25 Oct 06 12:10 Re: linguistics students/writer seeks help [Re: riccardo]
krismon krustie Offline
Member

Registered: 22 Oct 06
Posts: 9
Hi, Ricardo. The reason that I am after a PERSON is that I have been emailing The Jakarta Post at regular intervals for twenty months, and hmmmm, I see your point about personal emails. I have tried to get in contact with someone every other way -- that is, through 'secure channels,' like companies' web sites and by phoning people, but no luck.

Yes, you are quite right in your assessment of the Indonesians' general pridefulness about their neo-dysfunctional systems, but I really really hope that these articles will be acceptable.

Why? -- at least Why The Jakarta Post? Because very many Indonesians -- business people and advanced students -- need to REALLY communicate with bules. The articles that I have in mind will explain a number of realities about language/the changes in the English language/the increasing 'gap' between what these guys are PAYING for and what they need to know. Hopefully, the demonstrable value of the articles will make them a viable proposition -- certainly for the Post readers, who ARE the group in question.

If anyone has (a) read as far as this, and is (b) an English teacher, if you care to contact me, I will send you am electronic copy of a textbook that I recently completed. It's for truly advanced students, and contains a number of articles, etc. on issues that I found to be of importance when I was teaching in Jakarta . . . but which we could never seem to actually get around to discussing. The book's 'distribution project' is proceeding . . . well, if not 'apace,' at least it IS proceeding. A chapter on formal logic (!!) is in use at one major Jakarta school. Very encouraging. Anyone is welcome to a copy if they would be professional enough to provide me a reference if they DO find it useful.

One example -- one of the aspects that I want to write about -- the Indonesian (really Javanese) social dynamic whereby you say 'Yes' to avoid conflict used to confuse the living shit out of the oilmen whose staff I taught at ExxonMobil. 'Is the report finished?' 'Yes, bwana. The report is finished' This confusion costs the Indonesian economy, I sincerely figure, HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS EVERY YEAR.

Another is the extraordinary rate of change in the English language at present. Unless the Rate of Pedagogical Progress has, unbeknownst to me, accelerated fabulously in the three years that I have been away, the material in use is falling steadily behind the praxis of the English-speaking world. Students are poring over the intricacies of contracted negated subjunctives like, 'Had I a blah blah blah' when they might well be boning up on their phrasal verbs, which are a thousand times more relevant to communication with Real and Actual Bules.

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#34955 - 25 Oct 06 12:13 Re: linguistics students/writer seeks help [Re: riccardo]
krismon krustie Offline
Member

Registered: 22 Oct 06
Posts: 9
are there academic/ think tank journals? Does tempo still exist?
M

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#34956 - 25 Oct 06 12:41 Re: linguistics students/writer seeks help [Re: krismon krustie]
Gren Offline
Member

Registered: 24 Oct 06
Posts: 21
Loc: Jakarta
You know, I've read your messages, and while I don't wish to be rude, I just can't help but feel that you are out of touch with the Indonesian reality. Perhaps you need to spend more time actually studying Indonesian culture before prescribing medicines the vast majority of Indonesians would reject.

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#34984 - 26 Oct 06 08:20 Re: linguistics students/writer seeks help [Re: Gren]
krismon krustie Offline
Member

Registered: 22 Oct 06
Posts: 9
I'm all too well aware that the vast majority of Indonesians would reject . . . whatever; but it would be very interesting to make contact with the few who would find it interesting. I HAVE been out of Indonesia for three years; but I have travelled around a bit, raised and run a yayasan, taught English in Jabotabek for five and a half years. . .

Franz Magnis-Suseno's text on Javanese ethics?
Brian May's The Indonesian Tragedy? (Is it still banned?)
More Niels Mulder?
Hamish McDonald's Suharto's Indonesia?
Scwartz's Nation in Waiting -- pre- or post- reformasi edition?
Geertz's Religions of Java?

I walked around, taking notes, in Glodok and Mangga Dua and Jembatan Lima and Grogol and on Daan Mogot and in Muara Angke and Muara Baru and Pluit and Beos on Big Riot Thursday in May, '98; was the only Westerner in the nation (as a MEMBER of Mochtar Pakpahan's S.B.S.I) to spend nights IN the occupied parliament bulding. (Dan Insiden Ketapang, ingat? Saya di situ. Kerusuhan di Taman Ria, ingat? Saya di situ juga. DALAM Tri Sakti pada Hari Rabunya, dan lihat pertama mobil yang di bakar pada May, 98? Saya di situ juga! Kerusuhan2 di Sudirman di 97, 98 , 99? Ikuti, dong! Tragedi Semanggi, saya dalam Atma Jaya dari jam lima sore sampai jam enam sore. Lu di mana lu?)

Give me some advice here: what do I have to do to make the grade?


Edited by krismon krustie (26 Oct 06 09:11)

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#35009 - 27 Oct 06 12:11 Re: linguistics students/writer seeks help [Re: krismon krustie]
Gren Offline
Member

Registered: 24 Oct 06
Posts: 21
Loc: Jakarta
You might be surprised to know that many people posting/reading this forum were also in Indonesia at that time. Media people inlcuded.

But not all of us were running around looking for adrenaline rushes with the students. (Role of students in Suharto's downfall was rather exaggerated, for various political reasons.)

I've read nearly all the books you mention. None of them -- with the possible exception of the first and the last -- will teach you how to relate to Indonesians. And with your demonstrated rather weak Indonesian language skills, you probably have not been able to truly communicate properly with them either.

In other words, I am suggesting you do not really know Indonesia well enough to be making prescriptions for the natives. The very fact that you presume to have a prescription indicates to me a lack of understanding of Indonesians and the Indonesian environment.

I also suggest that your emphasis on technical aspects of English-language learning overlooks the fact that languages are culturally loaded -- they are not value neutral. That is a particularly important thing to remember in Indonesia.

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#35010 - 27 Oct 06 13:43 Re: linguistics students/writer seeks help [Re: Gren]
riccardo Offline
Pujangga

Registered: 12 Oct 05
Posts: 2195
Loc: Jakarta
I'm not sure I can agree with you fully Gren. KK may well have something positive to contribute, so there's no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater because he/she may or may not "really know Indonesia". If we always used that logic, very few insights from anyone, anywhere in the world would ever be considered. People (of all cultures) often need to be gently nudged out of their comfort zone by others with a progressive vision, if any real progress is to occur. Even if 5% of his/her "prescriptions" are used, that could be 5% better...

I posted a paper a few weeks ago in the Gents, Revos, Scholars & Bules forum that deals with this somewhat, but more in the area of teaching Indonesian students their own history. It's at this link http://www.jakchat.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showflat/Number/33628/page/1#Post33628 if either of you are interested. As far as how it was received, well let's just say that the school textbooks are still teaching many, many outright lies.

And during the '98 troubles, I was running around town buying up all the goodies with my dollars and celebrating my shopping sprees each night with frostie brewskies on Jalan Jaksa, which was about the safest, if not the sanest, place in the country.
_________________________
Just here proffering my pearls to swine, my throat to wolves and my trousers to the flagpole.

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#35024 - 28 Oct 06 04:03 Re: linguistics students/writer seeks help [Re: riccardo]
krismon krustie Offline
Member

Registered: 22 Oct 06
Posts: 9
This has become rather frustrating!!

Thank you, Riccardo and Kukukachu, for your help; but I think, at this point, that I'll waste no more pennies at the Internet cafe to be ragged about How I Can't Possibly Know.

I have the best of intentions; I always have had. I wasn't runni ng around with the students 'looking for adrenaline rushes.' I have been a political activist most of my adult life, and I came to Indonesia to try to help people whom I see as the victims of a very nasty system (in which my nation is deeply complicit). Gee, what an arsehole I must be!!

If my Indonesian wwere better (and I certainly wish it were -- I suppose that's why I'm studying it at uni.) -- would Gren then say that my knowledge of ENGLISH was not good enough to write articles? If I had TEN or FIFTEEN years of experience teaching English in Indonesia, would Gren then say that I might be well enough qualified as an English teacher, but my knowledge of Indonesian culture was insufficient? (Listen up, students. Many of the native-speaker teachers in Indonesia are bules who have been in Indonesia WAY TOO LONG!. They undertake no professional development, and they often have quite nasty politics. They might have been in Indonesia since the year dot, but they are simply not interested in improving the system.)

It seems that I am going around and around on a carousel not of my making!!

(and here in parentheses, is Gren REALLY suggesting that the student movement of '97'and '98 wasn't instrumental in displacing Suharto?)

Let's back up a little here: I made no mention of -- quote -- 'prescriptions for the natives.' I made no mention of -- quote -- 'medicine' or 'technical aspects.' What I did do is express concern for Indonesian English-language students (at the upper levels). I contend that the COMMERCIAL NATURE of the Indonesian English-language system short-changes them (and with all due respect here, it's the ENGLISH language and its 'cultural loading' that Indonesians express interest in. So, it seems reasonable that Indonesians undertake to learn to speak English in accordance with the values of English-speaking people -- it sure would reduce confusion in the office!!)

I'm concerned that the politics of the Suharto era -- or whatever else you care to call it -- have left Indonesian English-language students in a difficult situation: the English that they are being taught is increasingly out of date; and the values underlying the English-language industry are demonstrably unsound (because the Indonesian system lacks the dynamic of introspection -- and thank you, Ricardo, for elegantly and objectively stating that several posts above) -- and I want to write articles on these subjects, to help Indonesians learn an English that is rather more 'real' than that of the TOEFL and IELTS industry.
Gee! What an arsehole I must be!!

M


Edited by krismon krustie (28 Oct 06 04:06)

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#35026 - 28 Oct 06 04:27 Re: linguistics students/writer seeks help [Re: krismon krustie]
Gren Offline
Member

Registered: 24 Oct 06
Posts: 21
Loc: Jakarta
Quoting: krismon krustie
I have the best of intentions; I always have had. I wasn't runni ng around with the students 'looking for adrenaline rushes.' I have been a political activist most of my adult life, and I came to Indonesia to try to help people whom I see as the victims of a very nasty system (in which my nation is deeply complicit). Gee, what an arsehole I must be!!


Herein lies the problem I see with your approach. You seem to be a missionary. Missionaries, of course, always have the best of intentions.

Oh yes, I too used to be a political activist. I also happen to know that many JakChat readers are also former political activists. You are not unique in this regard.

So what do I think your approach should be? Easy. Do it. Don't just talk about it. If you feel your appoach to English language teaching is superior and commercially viable, then put your money where your mouth is and open up a private English school in Jakarta. The market will prove you right or wrong.

Quoting: krismon krustie
(and here in parentheses, is Gren REALLY suggesting that the student movement of '97'and '98 wasn't instrumental in displacing Suharto?)


Yes, I am suggesting exactly that.

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#35028 - 28 Oct 06 04:41 Re: linguistics students/writer seeks help [Re: Gren]
KuKuKaChu Moderator Offline
Pooh Bah

Registered: 09 Oct 05
Posts: 10790
Loc: Centre of the Universe
Quoting: Gren
Quoting: krismon krustie
(and here in parentheses, is Gren REALLY suggesting that the student movement of '97'and '98 wasn't instrumental in displacing Suharto?)

Yes, I am suggesting exactly that.

i would tend to agree with the grenster in this matter ... his statement is more or less consistent with views i expressed in a paper i wrote in 1998 (http://www.okusi.net/garydean/works/suharto.html)

Quoting: http://www.okusi.net/garydean/works/suharto.html
Suharto was indeed visibly older and physically frailer in 1997; there was a famine, a well-publicised dengue fever epidemic later that year and into 1998, Merapi put on a show in the first part of 1997, and of course, the end of the century is approaching. When the student protests began in earnest in late 1997/early 1998, Suharto was already significantly politically weakened by these natural disasters alone, so by themselves, the role of the students in Suharto's downfall should not be over-estimated. So too, the role of `political' events such as the 27 July incident and the Trisakti killings should not be given undue importance. Such events did indeed provide a kind of political anchor for protest action, and grist for the `political' orientation of the media and political scientists, however they were not in any way pivotal to Suharto's downfall.


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KuKuKaChu: dangerously too sophisticated

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#35032 - 28 Oct 06 06:59 Re: linguistics students/writer seeks help [Re: KuKuKaChu]
riccardo Offline
Pujangga

Registered: 12 Oct 05
Posts: 2195
Loc: Jakarta
Not to get too far off topic here, but it was neither the students nor Dear Old Pak Harto's weaknesses combined with the economic meltdown. It was the good ol' USA! When the US and its global allies -- including W. Europe and Australia and Japan -- finally got bored of their little jawa puppet they created, they fed him to the wolves, simple as that. Dozens of other US-installed tyrants around the world have received very similar treatment. It wasn't anything novel, and it certainly wasn't the students or the economy that initiated it. The question that must be asked is what, and specifically WHO, lit the fire under the students and the economy...
_________________________
Just here proffering my pearls to swine, my throat to wolves and my trousers to the flagpole.

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#35068 - 30 Oct 06 12:07 Re: linguistics students/writer seeks help [Re: riccardo]
xsbir Offline
Member+

Registered: 29 Oct 06
Posts: 75
Loc: The Big Durian
You guys have gone way off track on this topic. Learning English here has nothing to do with what happened in 1998. There is a lot seriously wrong with the pedagogy of English teaching here, and if Mr. Krismon has something to contribute, I'm interested. In my humble opinion, the biggest problem is that the Indonesian English teachers in general, and most of the foreign teachers, have no training in teaching English as a foreign language. I think it's arrogant to assume that just because you speak English you can teach it.
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