Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Teaching in English

Yesterday, I taught my Engineering Concept class in English. This class is for 1st year EE students in their 2nd term. Most of our textbooks are in English, so I should not be to difficult for students to understand English. At least, they should not have a problem reading English. Listening is another matter though.

I don't know how difficult it was for them to understand my lecture. I do speak fast in Bahasa Indonesia and English. When I write and talk in English I don't translate the idea from Bahasa Indonesia to English. It just flows naturally. (My biggest problem with my English is my vocabulary. I don't use it often so that I am losing words. I should spend time with friends from India. Usually their English is good and sometimes it's even better than Americans or Brits. Anyway, back to the topic.)

I think most of the students understood what I lectured yesterday. There were students asking questions in English. That's a good sign. In earlier class I told them to learn how to ask question. It's an art. They practiced that yesterday. I am glad.

The reason I taught (part of the class) in English is to give them a feel of how the class would be had they study abroad. Well, at least if it is in an English-speaking university. Maybe it is too early in their class? I don't know. Usually I don't teach 1st year students. This year I was asked to teach this class and change the class as well. The content was already outdated and needed a lift, but that's another story.

The second part of the class, I taught in Bahasa Indonesia but the topic was in English. I read them an IEEE article by Bob Colwell, "What's the worst that can hapen." It was published in IEEE Computer (October 2005). The article was about experiment went out of control. Can you imagine a fission reactor done by a boy scout? Scary. I read the article paragraph by paragraph and tell the gist of it in Bahasa Indonesia. The article is quite funny, in my opinion. Well, Colwell's articles are funny (if you get it). Then I gave them an assignment to summarize an article, again by Bob Colwell, on "design complexity." I hope they get the idea on how to deal with complexity.

In short, I think the class went well.


Antony Pranata said...

Interesting... I agree that Indonesian students should be able to communicate in English. Not only reading and listening, but also speaking.
Pak Budi, I think you should ask your students to present something in English too.
English is the second most spoken language in the world and it is an international language... :)

adinoto said...

hehehehe.. i wish i was born and thought 5 languages :( ... generation MTV :P

skrg bisanya cuma 5 bahasa, indo, minang, sunda, melayu, jawa, :D ... jadi ga bisa go international :(

irwansyah said...

Is it worth to be proud of our mother tough language? eventhough the rest of the world not recognised it?. English is the knowledge and business language. If we neglect it means we put ourself left behind with other nation. I don,t think.. if we used English as daily communication will effect the dignity of our own language. Pls put away such a stupid way of thinking...