Elih Sutisna Yanto NIM  090806694



The term curriculum can refer to a variety of things, including the courses taught in  a school. or a program, the document that list the courses taught, a set of teaching materials that are organized in some sequences of framework, or a framework for selecting and organizing learning experiences. (Howel and Wolet, 2005:5).

The word “curriculum” stems from Latin and refers to the course of deeds and experiences through which children grow to become mature adults. Most of the time a curriculum has a prescriptive character, and is based on general guidelines, which specifies what topics must be understood and to what level participants need to achieve a particular grade or standard.
The guidelines for a curriculum may be partly or entirely determined by an external, authoritative body.

Firman (2008) described in his article the development of the curriculum in Indonesia. He stated that since 2006, when Law No. 20/2003 on the National Education System was implemented, the centralized curriculum was gradually changed by a decentralized school level curricula.

The Act defines curriculum as a set of plan with regard to the objectives, content, and learning materials as well as the methods employed as guideline in conducting learning activities in order to achieve the goal of a certain education.

Before 2006, education in Indonesia was determined by the National Education Ministry. Now local school communities, of course in accordance with the national standard and guidelines and under the supervision of the local government, are responsible for designing the curriculum for their own schools.
Thus schools are given the freedom to develop and implement a curriculum that is relevant to the needs of their specific pupils or students. The general model of this school-level curriculum, which was being developed, was quite similar to the one that was being implemented before 2006. This means that most schools develop their own curriculum by referring to national standards.
However, there are also (private and independent) schools in Indonesia that have chosen a different course. These schools have started to develop their own school-based curriculum, sometimes by adopting (parts of) another national curriculum. Popular are (parts of) the Singapore, Australian or UK curriculum. Some schools have chosen to change the language of tuition to English or opt to teach lessons in two languages, with the result of a bilingual school. The starting point for these developments is to improve educational standards and quality in their school, with hopefully the effect of a higher enrollment of students. More students means more money, which generally should benefit the quality of the school.
Of course, decentralizing the educational system and allowing schools in this big country, in accordance with the national standard and its guidelines, to develop their own curriculum is a positive move. However, the change of the role of schools from curriculum implementer to curriculum developer has proven to puzzle and confuse schools. Of course, there are schools that have the money and the professional capacity to analyze the conditions and needs of their students and combine this positively and effectively with (elements of) international curricula.
These schools have been able to implement the right mix of international and national based courses and so improve the quality of the learning. Nevertheless, there are a lot of Indonesian schools struggling with this development, because the people responsible for implementing and developing this school-based curriculum, lack the professionalism to take on this complicated task.

The 2004 English curriculum is designed based on the government regulation stating that the level of achievement in every curriculum is stated in terms of competence (Chapter III, Article 8, Point 1); that the learning process is carried out by developing reading and writing culture; and that (Chapter III, Article 21, Point 2); that the competence for language subjects should emphasize the ability to read and write (Chapter III, Article 25, Point 3) suitable for the levels of education; and that the standards of competence for high schools are aimed at increasing / improving the learners’ intelligence, knowledge, personality, integrity, and life skills in order to live independently and to pursue further education (Chapter III, Article 26, point 2).





Explicit in the regulation is the government commitment to improve the nation’s literacy level because literacy is the key to learning any other subjects, and language education is supposed to deliver the big expectations. Implicit in the regulations is the expectation that language education, including English education, is expected to develop communicative competence or the ability to communicate in spoken or written language so that learners will possess the so called social skills.

Over the past few decades, many pedagogical approaches to teaching foreign languages have been developed to increase students’ success in language learning. A succession of teaching approaches has followed the traditional grammar translation approach, some examples being the audio lingual method and communicative language teaching. These innovations reflect the need to develop pedagogical knowledge for better results in language education. This phenomenon is also the case with the educational system in Indonesia.

To improve the outcomes of education in Indonesia, the Ministry of National Education has decided to bring in a new curriculum in all subject areas, including English. In 2004 The 2004 English language curriculum and its follow up, the curriculum of 2006,  the Ministry of National Education introduced a new curriculum which introduced a new approach for teaching English that is the genre-based approach It is suggested that the teaching of English as a foreign language in Indonesia should be text-based.

The genre-based approach can be defined as an approach to teaching language using different types of text. It was initially developed in Australia (Kongpetch, 2006) and it has been noted that “Australia is the place in which practitioners have been most successful in applying genre theory and research to pedagogy” (Johns, 2002, p. 5). The results show that this approach gives good results in developing the literary skills of primary school students, and those of disadvantaged school students in Australia (Thwaite, 2006; Christie, 1993; Callaghan, Knapp and Noble, 1993). In the Indonesian context, there is a lack of literature regarding the rationale of the Indonesian government’s decision to introduce this approach for teaching English in Indonesian Schools. Therefore, it is my assumption that it was the Australian success in developing this approach for effective language teaching in its schools that has triggered the Indonesian government’s decision to implement this approach in Indonesian educational contexts, specifically in Indonesia’s secondary school English language curriculum.

Teachers are encouraged to use different kinds of texts, such as narratives, descriptive and expository texts, in their teaching practice to develop students’ communicative competence, including linguistic, sociolinguistic, strategic and discourse competence (Depdiknas, 2003a, 2003b).

The genre-based approach, being the current approach for EFL teaching in Indonesia, was initially introduced in the 2004 curriculum. By the year 2006, the 2004 curriculum was modified and changed to the Kurikulum Tingkat Satuan Pendidikan (KTSP) (translated as the multi-tiered education curriculum) but still advocating the genre-based approach to teaching English in Indonesian schools.
The 2004 curriculum and the KTSP recommend the introduction of at least five different types of text: recount, narrative, procedure, descriptive and report genres, to develop junior high school students’ English language skills. For senior high school, the curriculum recommends twelve types of text: recount, narrative, procedural, descriptive, report, news items, analytical exposition, persuasive exposition, spoof, explanation, discussion and review (Depdiknas, 2006b).
By using the abovementioned types of text, students are expected to gain certain target competences. For example, the target competence of listening for junior secondary school students is to understand and comprehend the meaning of narrative, recount, procedural, descriptive and report genre in the form of spoken texts, interpersonal and transactional interactions, and formal and informal situations, all of which are in the context of everyday communication (Depdiknas, 2006b).
Since the curriculum only determines the target competence through the teaching of several kinds of texts, it can be said that the curriculum offers much flexibility for teachers in their classroom practice. However, the curriculum also suggests that teachers practice the ‘curriculum cycle’ that consists of four stages of learning in the classroom. The four stages consist of building students’ knowledge of the field, modelling the text, joint construction of text and independent construction of text. The genre approach and the curriculum cycle as the recommended instructional approach for teaching EFL in Indonesian schools are discussed in more detail in the following paragraphs of discussion.




Review on Curriculum and Material Development


The history of curriculum development in language teaching starts with the notion of syllabus design. Syllabus design is one aspect of curriculum development but is not identical with it. A syllabus is a specification of the content of a course of instruction and lists what will be taught and tested. Thus the syllabus for a speaking course might specify the kinds of oral skills that will be taught and practiced during the course, the functions, topics, or other aspect of conversation that will be taught , and the order in which they will appear in the course. Syllabus design is the process of developing a syllabus. Curriculum development is a more comprehensive process than syllabus design. It includes the processes that are used to determine the needs of a group of learners, to develop aims or objectives for a program to address those needs, to determine an appropriate syllabus, course structure, teaching methods, and materials, and to carry out an evaluation of the language program that results from these processes. Curriculum development in language teaching as we know it today really began in the 1960s, though issues of syllabus design emerged as a major factor in language teaching much earlier.

If we look back at the history of language teaching throughout the twentieth century, much of the impetus for changes in approaches to language teaching came about from changes in teaching methods. The method concept in teaching – the notion of a systematic set of teaching practices based on a particular theory of language and language learning – is a powerful one and the quest for better methods has been a preoccupation of many teachers and applied linguists since the beginning of the twentieth century. Many methods have come and gone in the last 100 years in pursuit of the “best method” as the following chronology illustrates, with dates suggesting periods of greatest dominance:

Grammar Translation Method (1800 – 1900)

Direct Method (1890 – 1930)

Structural Method (1930 – 1960)

Reading Method (1920 – 1950)

Audio-lingual Method (1950 – 1970)

Situational Method (1950 – 1970)

Communicative Approach (1970 – present)


The Curriculum Development Process

In a broad sense, the curriculum development process includes the design, development, implementation and evaluation of curricula. However, as one examines the process more closely it becomes evident that each component may itself comprise several varied but inter-related activities. The Curriculum Development is charged with the responsibility to operationalise the Curriculum Development Process. Accordingly, the work of the division may be more adequately described as designing, developing, implementing, monitoring, evaluating and reviewing curricula that are appropriate and relevant to the needs and interests of a developing nation, such as ours.

The Curriculum Development Process

The following is a brief description of these various activities involved in the development of curriculum materials:

  • Design: This involves all the preliminary work that is carried out to ensure that the curriculum is relevant, appropriate and workable. At this stage, the curriculum is conceptualized and attention is paid to arrangement of the varied components. Considerations include the focus on the philosophical underpinnings, goals, objectives, subject matter, learning experiences and evaluation ; all established in consultation with stakeholders. At present, emphasis is being placed on the learner in curriculum development activities.
  • Develop: In this stage, curriculum development involves planning, construction and the logical step-by-step procedures used to produce written documents, as well as print and non-print resource materials. These documents may include vision statements, goals, standards, performance benchmarks, learning activities and instructional strategies, interdisciplinary connections, and other integration activities that guide curriculum implementation.
  • Implement: This is the stage in which all stakeholders become part of the process by making their contribution to operationalise the curriculum as designed and developed. The process is managed by the officers of the Curriculum Development Division. It requires interaction between officers of the division, principals, teachers, parents, students and the general public, all key in the education of the child. Since implementation is a change actvity, the Curriculum Development Division also engages in in-service teacher education through seminars and workshops to facilitate the required alteration of individuals’ knowledge, skills and attitude
  • Monitor: This can be seen as part of the implementation process. It is at this stage that officers visit schools to verify that classroom practice is consistent with the established goals and objectives of the national curriculum. Data is gathered to inform policy and decision making relative to the curriculum. The monitoring activities also capture best practices for generalization and develop the working relationship between officers of the Curriculum Division and school personnel, allowing for technical support at the school level to be provided where needed.
  • Evaluate: At this stage, officers engage in analyzing data collected on the field to determine the effectiveness of the curriculum design and its implementation as they relate to the child. The process entails comprehensive study of the data with the view of identifying possible deficiencies and root causes that can lead to corrective action. It is the findings from this exercise that directly influence the final stage of review.
  • Review: The information gained from data analysis is used to guide appropriate adjustments to the curriculum documents. Such adjustments incorporate the strengths and address any apparent weakness of the implemented curriculum. Because of technological developments and the resulting ease with which new information can be shared, continuously evolving curriculum is now possible. Updates, links to resource material and successful teaching and learning experiences can be easily incorporated in curricula. These considerations are all geared towards curriculum improvement and improved student performance in meeting national, developmental and educational goals.

Competence in the 2004 English Curriculum

The 2004 English curriculum is designed according to the government regulation in the sense that the curriculum has to be competence-based and that at the end of the day learners are expected to be able to communicate in English as one of their life skills and that they are expected to be able to handle written texts not only for pursuing further studies, but also for learning independently in order to be independent members of community. To translate these ideas into an English curriculum, we need to have a clear idea about what language competence is. The definition of language competence needs to be defined by examining the relevant theories.

The term “competence” has arrived in the international literature since Chomsky coined it in 1965. Since then, this notion has been used by different authors, some with the original sense as meant by Chomsky, and some others use the term in different sense according to their research or writing purposes. That is probably why Taylor (1988) says that the word “competence” has been widely used and abused.


Therefore, when people use the term at all, it is important that the definition be provided so that the readers know exactly whether it is competence in Chomskyan sense (psycholinguistic tradition) or competence in pedagogical sense (socio-cultural). Taylor (1988) also suggests that Chomsky is mainly concerned with tacit knowledge, or “ready state”, or “attained state” and not with how that state is attained. Since pedagogy is about how to attain a particular state of language ability, a model of competence which is pedagogically motivated is used as the basis of developing the 2004 curriculum. That model is the one developed by Celce-Murcia et al. (1995).


Drawing on previous communicative competence models developed for language learning purposes, Clece-Murcia et al.’s model arrived with highly explicit and specific details covering what language learners need to attain if they want to develop communicative competence. Celce-Murcia et al.’s model suggests that the ultimate competence is communicative competence (CC) or discourse competence. To attain this competence, learners need the supporting competence including linguistic competence, actional competence, socio-cultural competence, and strategic competence. The details presented on the lists of “micro” competencies really help the users see what they need to develop when they want to develop learners” communicative competence. However, the most important, and probably the most challenging part, is how all those details contribute to the development of communicative competence or discourse competence.


Bringing discourse into the picture, teachers need to come to term with discourse. Discourse is something abstract that comes into being through texts. For example, we have been involved, in one way or another, in a discourse called Tsunami. How did the discourse emerge? How has it been sustained? Is it dying out? When the December tsunami attacked, people in the world talked and wrote about it. People tried to communicate to obtain news, to express condolences, to offer help and so on. These acts of communication are communicative events; the events that occurred with purposes; the events that happened in contexts.


These communicative events are realized in texts: spoken and written. Thousands of texts were produced, including ours, at the aftermath and these texts created a huge discourse. Thus, people participated in the tsunami discourse to solve problems and without the ability to create discourse, without communication, without texts, nothing can be done. It can be concluded that the ultimate goal of language education is to communicate, to participate in discourse, to develop life skills, to create texts. In other words, language education is responsible for creating a literate community where the members are able to participate in the day-to-day activities or social practices in modern societies (Hammond et al. 1992). This is the overarching concept or the philosophical level of language education.


At the “bottom” or practical level, language education is responsible for creating learners’ ability to create texts. A text is a semantic unit, a unit of language that makes sense. A conversation, talk or a piece of writing can be called a text only when it makes sense. When it does not make sense, it is not a text; it is not communication. Communication happens only when we make sensible texts. Therefore, if our main goal is to develop communicative competence or the ability to communicate, we need to develop a curriculum or a syllabus that is text-based. This kind of curriculum states explicitly what kinds of texts are targeted by certain level of schooling based on the learners’ communication needs. In this way, texts are not sporadically addressed; in this way we know which targets to “shoot out”; and in this way we create short-cuts necessary for adjusting the curriculum targets with the time allotment.


The types of text (genres) developed in the 2004 English curriculum include transactional conversations (to get something done), interpersonal conversations (to establish and maintain social relations), short functional texts (announcements, greeting cards etc.), monologues and essays of certain genres. In other words, these are the communicative competence to be developed. Along with the competence, the literacy levels are also determined based on the government regulation that senior high school graduates are supposed to be ready for handling the kinds of text they face at university level. In other words, they are supposed to be able to access accumulated knowledge typically obtained at higher learning institutions. For this reason, the text types determined for senior high school levels include: descriptive, report, news item, narrative, discussion, explanation, exposition, and review. The genres for junior high school level include: procedure, descriptive, recount, narrative, and report. Based on Well’s taxonomy (1987), the junior high school literacy level is the functional level, a level where the graduates are expected to use English junior high school survival purposes such as carrying out transactional exchanges, reading for fun, reading popular science or teenagers’ encyclopaedia, etc. Senior high school graduates are expected to achieve the informational level where they can carry out more extended and interpersonal conversations, and deal with texts to access knowledge at university level and self study.


Thus far, our discussion has clarified several issues: why the 2004 English curriculum is competence-based, what language / communicative competence is, why text is central in the curriculum, and what literacy levels are set for junior and senior high school levels. In the following section we are looking at how a text-based curriculum is implemented through a genre approach.


Text-Based Curriculum and Genre Approach


Feeze and Joyce (2002) indicate that “Approaching language learning from the perspective of texts requires an accompanying methodology which can enable the students the knowledge and skills to deal with spoken and written texts in social contexts” (Feeze and Joyce 2002:24). They also suggest that genre approach is the most effective methodology for implementing a text-based curriculum. There are three assumptions underlying this method. In Feeze and Joyce’s words:

First, learning language is a social activity, and is the outcome of collaboration between the teacher and the student and between the student and the other students in the group. Halliday (1992:19) describes language learning as “learning how to mean and to expand one’s meaning potential”. He proposes a language learning model with three outcomes: students learn language…, students learn through language…, language students learn about language. … this model of language learning shows that social interaction enables language students to develop: a resource for making meaning, a tool for interpreting and organising reality, knowledge about language.


Second, learning occurs more effectively if teachers are explicit about what is expected of students. … Many educators are proposing more principled approaches to teaching and learning based on a “visible pedagogy” (Bernstein 1990:73) which clearly identifies what is to be learned and what is to be assessed. … The genre approach is concerned with providing students with explicit knowledge about language.


Third, the process of learning is a series of scaffolded development developmental steps which address different aspects of language. The methodology applied within the genre approach is based on the work of the Russian psychologist Vygotsky (1934/1978) and the American educational psychologist Bruner (1986). … Vygotsky proposed that … each learner has two levels of development: a level of independent performance, and a level of potential performance. … The gap between these two levels Vygotsky called “the zone of proximal development” (ZPD) (Feeze and Joyce 2002: 25-26).




Vygotsky”s ZPD can be represented as in the following diagram.













Teacher                                                           Peer

Intervention                                                     Intervention




Diagram 1: Independent and potential learning zones (Corden 2000:9)


Obviously, Vygostsky suggests that the presence of more capable others in a child’s learning environments enables a child to be involved in cultural events at social level that eventually develop the child’s individual cultural identity. In the process, when children do tasks involving speech and hands, they combine language and thought that lead to their cognitive development. Vygotsky also provides us with a model of learning “which emphasizes the role of talk and places social discourse at the centre” (Corden 2000). Thus, while individual potential is acknowledged, this potential can only develop to its maximum capacity when a child undergo learning processes involving more knowledgeable others that create social interaction, negotiation, and shared learning. In classroom context, Corden (2000:8) suggests that “classroom learning can best be seen as an interaction between teacher’s meanings and those of the pupils, so what they take away is partly shared and partly unique to each of them”.

This implies that classroom activities need to be carefully organised in order to provide learning experiences that trigger a child’s development as an individual and social being.


The three underlying assumptions regarding what language learning is and how learning languages can best take place materialize in the learning cycles and stages recommended by the 2004 English curriculum in which joint construction and scaffolding talk play important roles.


Hayland (2004) elaborates the advantages of genre based writing instruction that can be summarized as follows.

Genre teaching is:

Explicit. Makes clear what is to be learned to facilitate the acquisition of writing skills

Systematic. Provides a coherent framework for focusing on both language and contexts

Needs-based. Ensures that course objectives and content are derived from students needs

Supportive. Gives teacher a central role in scaffolding student learning and creativity

Empowering. Provides access to the patterns and possibilities of variation in valued texts

Critical. Provides the resources for students to understand and challenge valued discourses

Consciousness raising. Increases teacher awareness of texts and confidently advise

students on their writing (Hayland 2004: 10-11)


Hayland’s appraisals towards genre-based approach can be understood when one examines the two cycles and four stages suggested by the 2004 English curriculum.


Two Cycles and Four Stages


To implement the 2004 English curriculum the two cycles and four stages recommended are represented in the following diagram:



Diagram 2: Cycles and Stages of Learning (Hammond et al. 1992:17)


In planning the lessons in foreign language education context, teachers need to go around the cycle twice. In the first cycle, they start from the first stage called Building Knowledge of the Field (BKOF) where teachers and students build cultural context, share experiences, discuss vocabulary, grammatical patterns and so on. All of these are geared around the types of spoken texts and topics they are going to deal with at the second stage.


The second stage is called Modeling of Text (MOT) where students listen to statements of short functional texts, conversations, and monologues that are geared around a certain communicative purpose. For example, if students are expected to produce procedural texts, then, the short functional texts, conversations, and the monologues are developed with one main communicative purpose, that is, giving instruction or direction. In short, at the second stage, students listen and respond to various texts with similar communicative purposes.


After listening, students enter the third stage called Joint Construction of Text (JCT). At this stage they try to develop spoken texts with their peers and with the help from the teachers. They can create different announcements, conversations on showing how to do things, monologues on how to make something and so on. They need to demonstrate their speaking ability and to show confidence to speak.


After having the experience of collaborating with friends, they enter stage four called Independent Construction of Text (ICT). At this stage, students are expected to be able to speak spontaneously or to carry our monologues that are aimed at giving directions or showing ways to do things such as how to make a kite, how to make a paper cap, and so on. Thus, the first cycle integrates the development of speaking and listening skills.


The second cycle is aimed at developing the ability to use written language. The teachers and students go through all the four stages, but in MOT students are exposed to written texts. Here students develop reading skills, followed by joint construction in writing texts, and finally they write texts independently. Like the strategies employed in the first cycle, activities in this cycle are also geared around the same communicative purpose. Students read short functional texts and procedural texts, and then they write texts similar to what they have read. In this way, the integration of the four skills is created by the communicative purpose(s) of texts. Students speak what they have heard, read what they have talked about, and write what they have read.


Feeze and Joyce (2002) also suggests a fifth stage that can be applied in foreign language contexts especially if there are bright students in the class or those who are “born writers” who are able to link related texts together. The pulling together different genres or texts to create a new larger text relates us to the concept of intertextuality which refers to “the web of texts against which each new text is placed or places itself, explicitly or implicitly” (Bazerman 1994:20). Knowledge on intertextuality can help students understand how genres change, developed and are transformed for new contexts and purposes (Hayland 2004:81). Citing Crowston and Williams, Hayland presents some facts that among “48 different internet genres, classifies by their purposes, from a random sample of 1,000 web pages,… 60 percent were directly reproduced from familiar paper formats and another 30 percent simply added technical changes. Therefore we can say that genre evolution does happen, but it happens slowly. This is the reason why this fifth stage is optional in foreign language and high school contexts. If the situation does permit, the learning stages can be extended to cover the fifth stage.


To carry out activities at all stages, teachers need to use various teaching techniques they have already learned, known and used. Those techniques are still needed and relevant to this approach. What needs to be remembered when teachers prepare their lessons is that every activity they design has to be aimed at providing learning experiences to use language and, thus, to achieve communicative competence. There are some literacy principles offered by the New London Group (Kern 2000) that can be used by in planning language classes. They are: interpretation, collaboration, convention, cultural knowledge, problem solving, reflection and self reflection, and language use (Kern 2000:16). Kern suggests that “These principles, although they are framed in terms of reading and writing, are not unique to literacy, but can be applied broadly to human communication in general” (Kern 2000:17). The implication is that when a teacher plans an activity, s/he needs to keep in mind that the activity needs to engage students in activities that involve as many of these principles as possible.














The Framework of The 2006 curriculum (KTSP)


The spirit of decentralization, as showed by act of local autonomy No. 22, 1999 revised by Act of local Autonomy No.32, 2004 and hand in hand with Act No. 20, 2003 has been seen in the 2006 curriculum (KTSP) launched by government. In this case, education is not merely central government’s responsibility; local government also has responsibility in managing and funding education.

Basically the 2006 curriculum (KTSP) is developed from standard of content by schools based their context and potentiality. Although KTSP varies between one and other schools, government gives some regulations stated in Governmental Regulation (PP) No. 19, 2005 concerning National Standard of Education (SNP) at May 16, 2005 such as standard of content and standard of competence of graduate.

English as stated in standard of content (PERMENDIKNAS No 22, 2006) is learned at elementary two hours in a week (as local content [MULOK] for class IV, V and VI), at junior and senior high school four hours in a week except for language program in SMA – five hours in  a week.


In addition, the standard competence of graduate of English (PERMEN No 23, 2006) for each level is communicative competence in the form of spoken of language accompanying action for elementary school, in the form of spoken and written for achieving functional literacy level for junior high school, in the form of spoken and written for achieving information literacy level for senior high school.

The syllabus, in this curriculum, perceived as the plan of learning process with lesson plan – RPP (PP No. 19, 2005), chapter IV, article 20, PERMEN No, 41, 2007) which consists of standard of competence , basic standard, material, learning activities, learning indicators, assessment, time allocation and resources (PP No. 19, 2005, chapter IV, article 20; DEPDIKNAS, 2006; PERMEN No. 41, 2007) . The syllabus is developed by a teacher or group teacher supervised by department of education based on standard of content, standard competence of graduate and guiding of arrangement of school-based curriculum (Appendix of PERMEN No. 41, 2007).

Furthermore, principle of developing the 2006 syllabus are scientific, relevance, systematic, consistence, adequate, actual, contextual, flexible and comprehensive (DEPDIKNAS, 2006). Moreover, the steps of development are as follow: (1) investigating and deciding standard of competence, (2) investigating and deciding basic competence, (3) identifying main topic/material, (4) developing learning activity, (5) formulating indicators, (6) deciding kinds of assessment, (7) deciding time allocation, and (8) deciding resources. (Appendix of PERMEN No. 41, 2007).

Basically, the 2006 syllabus is a as similar with the 2004 syllabus. Principle of developing the 2004 competence-based syllabus are scientific based, learner’s needs, systematic, relevant, consistent and adequate (Dikdasmen 2004:11). Furthermore , there are six steps of developing this syllabus; (1) writing subject identity, (2) formulating standard competence,(3) deciding basic competence, (4) deciding material and its explanation, (5) deciding learning strategy, and (6) deciding time allocation and resources (Dikdasmen 2004:25).

The difference is in deciding indicators, theme and in teaching approach. The 2006 does not focus on theme and indicators are decided based on the necessity of learner’s need and ability. Moreover, the 2006 syllabus emphasizes on learning process as high light in lesson plan and as mentioned in PP No. 19, 2005, chapter IV, article 19, verse 1 “ learning process is performed interactive, inspirable, fun, challenging, motivating learners to involve actively, and given adequate space for innovation, creativity, autonomy based on learner’s potential, interest, physical and psychological development.

The characteristics of Curriculum 2006 are the following:

  1. emphasizing the attainment of the students’ competence individually and classically;
  2. orienting toward learning outcomes, and diversity;
  3. using genre approaches in the learning process and    greatly is influenced with Systematic Functional Grammar of Halliday (1987).
  4. accepting any other educative learning sources besides teachers;
  5. emphasizing its evaluation on the learning process and outcomes in acquiring or attaining a certain competence.
  6. using special terms such as standar kompetensi (Standard of Competence) refers to a minimum statement covering know ledges, skills, attitudes, and values which are reflected in the way of thinking and acting after students learned and finished one of the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing); Kompetensi Dasar (Basic Competence) refers to a minimum statement covering know ledges, skills, attitudes, and values which are reflected in the way of thinking and acting after students learned and finished one of the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing).; indicator (Achievement Indicators) refers to a specific basic competence that can taken as a standard to assess the attainment of a learning process;
  7. Materi Pokok (Core Materials) refers to core materials or lessons that students have to learn in a learning process.


The succession of a number of pedagogical approaches to teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in Indonesia is not without problems. Bringing innovation to an established education system will pose a number of challenges to educators concerning the approach and “may bring problems to language teachers” (Feez ,1998, p. 13) . There will be an urgent need for EFL teachers to develop an understanding about the approach and how the different elements in the new curriculum fit together. Phrased differently, the Indonesian government’s decision to introduce an innovation into the Indonesian English language curriculum requires teachers as the key persons in the restructuring task to adapt effectively (le Roux & Ferreire, 2005) to the changes as determined and directed by the educational authorities.

Therefore, as an answer to these potential problems, it is paramount to introduce the curriculum first to in-service teachers as the people who will be directly involved in the implementation of the approach in Indonesian schools. In doing so, since the beginning of the pre-introduction of the new curriculum project in 2001, there have been a great number of in-service training programs and education for teachers specifically designed for the introduction of the new curriculum. This training has mainly involved government funded programs as a part of the new curriculum project. In order to reach all levels of education in Indonesia, the training has been conducted from various levels, including central government, local government and institutions such as schools.

However, another problem arises concerning how effective the provided in-service teacher training is at developing teachers’ understandings about the genre approach and the way they should apply this approach in their classroom. Working as a trainer in a government funded teachers’ training and development centre; it is part of my job to introduce the 2004 curriculum to the elementary and secondary school English language teachers in my working area – Riau province. In my experience, there is still much confusion among teachers about the curriculum, and the genre-based approach in particular. The confusion centers on understanding the conceptual theory of the genre-based approach and its pedagogical application in the classroom.

Another problem that arises from the implementation of this approach is the appropriateness of the genre-based approach to be implemented in the Indonesian context because English is a foreign language. In the Australian context, this approach is aimed at developing the students’ literacy skills in writing and reading in the context of English as a first language and second language (Wales, 1993). It is assumed that students with English as a first language have already developed the ability to speak and listen from their early childhood. In addition, students who learn English as a second language in an English speaking country such as Australia benefit from the environment where they get more exposure and opportunity in the target language than students who learn English in a non-English speaking country like Indonesia.

In addition, much of the literature on the pedagogical applications of the genre approach in classrooms shows that some educators think that the approach “seems to be connected largely with the teaching of writing” (Kay and Dudley-Evans, 1998, p. 312). In the Australian context, this approach has been found to be an effective approach to teaching writing to native speakers and in teaching English as a second language (Hammond, 1989 in Kongpetch, 2006). However, less attention has been paid to the possibility of using the genre-based approach for teaching integrated language skills, whereas in the Indonesian context, this approach is suggested to be used for teaching integrated English as foreign language skills (Depdiknas, 2003a; 2003b; 2006b).


The Classroom Practices Problems

It is interesting to discuss  the implementation of the genre-based approach in Indonesian schools. In particular, It is important to discuss of  Indonesian teachers’ adoption of teaching integrated English language skills using a new approach, and the problems they encounter during the process.

The implementation of the 2006 curriculum in the field has faced four main constraints. First, the number of students is so large and their diversity – in terms of their motivation level, intellectual capability, cultural backgrounds, and access to educational resources – is so high that it’s hard to implement the 2006 curriculum.     The second constraint is the budget shortage. Several implications of this budget shortage include the large class size, the low teacher salary, and the lack of educational resources. No matter how good the curriculum guideline is, even an excellent teacher would find it extremely hard to deliver the 2006 syllabus effectively in a class of 40 to 50 students. This situation is worsened by the low salary. The majority of teachers have to do some moonlighting work after school and thus are not able to put enough energy and time into making class preparation, improving their quality, and enhancing their professional development. The 2006 syllabus is not followed by the changing of approaching  used by the teacher in classroom. Teachers tend to teach more grammar and structure separately and explicitly out of their communicative competence. Teachers’ habitual and their previous experiences influence the way of their teaching.  Some research found that the English teachers are not active users of English and they are not familiar with the genre-based approach.  The limited budget also led to the lack of educational resources. Only exceptional schools have language laboratories, adequate libraries or self-access learning centers. Most schools don’t even provide a tape recorder and cassette tape to let students listen to model input.

The third constraint is the nature of EFL learning environment. Indonesia doesn’t provide adequate exposure to English for the majority of the learners. This perhaps used to be a universal constraint among other countries where English is used as a foreign language. People did not have ready access to read and listen to English materials. Besides, at the immediate level, there are no urgent real needs for the majority of Indonesians – as well as no adequate resources – to develop communicative competence in English.

The last constraint is there has been mismatch between the commitment to competence and the insistence of the Ministry of Education to sustain the national examination for junior and senior high school levels. The national exam frenzy drives teachers to teach to the test and drill their students for several months of their last year in high school.


Summary and Recommendation


  1. There are different levels of understanding and ways of applying Genre based curriculum approach among those teachers in school. Those teachers to learn about this approach is through the formal training provided by the government.
  2. The curriculum changes in the Indonesian educational system for the teaching of English place a lot of stress and need for learning on teachers. Therefore, planning for this learning is critical for the success of the new program and the intended improvement in students’ learning.


  1. The teachers who participated in applying this approach do not fully understand the concept of the genre-based approach and are confused between the positive aspects of the genre-based approach and the principal pedagogical applications of genre theory in the classroom. Their limited understanding of this approach has influenced their confidence to use this approach in their classroom. In addition, there is a mismatch between the literature and most of the participants’ practical application of the genre-based approach for teaching English.
  2. It is  important of providing teachers with formal training as an initial step to introduce innovation in the educational system. In other words, it is evident that teachers’ development is absolutely necessary for a reform to take place. However, most participants indicated that the in-service training they had, did not provide them with enough knowledge and confidence to use the genre-based approach in their teaching practice. In this respect, it has reflected the argument that “in-service teacher training does not always have a good reputation for transforming teachers’ practice” (Garcia, Flores & Gallegos, 2005, p. 37).
  3. The lack of the training’s continuity and follow-up program, poor delivery modes, poor devised activities and information are to blame for the failure. Therefore, it is more important to pay more attention to improve these training factors in order to be more effective in helping teachers to adapt to the reformation. For example, the activities and information given in the training should be designed in accordance with teachers’ needs and should be linked to school’s particular problems.



  1. Regarding the teachers’ limited understanding of the genre-based approach, these teachers should be more active themselves in seeking more information and learning opportunities to develop their expertise in this approach. One way of doing this is by continuously conducting professional development either independently or collaboratively. Conducting independent learning, actively involving themselves in teachers’ networks or teachers’ centres and reflective learning from teaching practice using this approach are some examples of professional development available for teachers. Thus, teachers should not merely depend on the formal training provided by the government in developing their expertise in this approach. Teachers should view their professional learning not only as a learning for acquiring necessary skills for teaching but also learning that involves cognitive process, personal construction and reflective practice (Richards & Farrell, 2005).
  2. In introducing a new teaching approach, particularly to in-service teachers who are the key actors in performing this task in the classroom, there arguably needs to be more than just formal training. The program itself needs to be well prepared and well designed. The improvement of the design of activities involved and information provided in the training is important. Training needs assessment and program evaluation can play an important role in order to link what teachers need and what is available on the program itself. Therefore, training needs assessment should be carried out by the training designers as the necessary preliminary step for designing the training.
    The timing of the training is also a concern.
  3. The government needs to consider the right timing for the training, to provide a grace period for teacher to learn the approach before being officially obligated to introduce the curriculum.
  4. The curriculum designers also need to consider aspects such as suitability and practicality of this particular approach to be implemented in Indonesian secondary school curriculum. This is due to the fact that the genre-based approach is an approach that is designed to develop students’ literacy skills such as reading and writing, which most of these teachers find it hard to teach due to particular learning situations and circumstances in their classrooms.
  5. Concerning the problem of unequal opportunity for teachers to enroll in the training, it has so far been hard for the government to provide in-house training for all teachers in Indonesia. This is most likely because of some limitations such as financial shortages and the large number of in-service teachers in Indonesia. Therefore, the training designers should consider other forms of training which are financially affordable and have a wider range of accessibility, such as online training and electronic training.
  6. Each school should decide to set advanced competencies in their English curriculum, the very first step to take is to improve the quality of their English teachers themselves
  7. It’s time that the scholarship and fellowship be directed also to secondary school teachers rather than to university teachers only.
  8. The teacher certification program required in the Bill of Teachers and Lecturers (UU Guru dan Dosen) should be given to the valid and qualified institution to carry out the certification.







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