4 Tips of Teaching Bahasa Indonesia for Foreigner

Have you ever heard the terms BIPA or Bahasa Indonesia untuk Penutur Asing (Bahasa Indonesia for non-native speaker or foreigner)? Unlike for native speaker, teaching Bahasa Indonesia for Foreigner is slightly different because we deal with people that learn his/her second language and has foreign language(s) as their basis. Therefore, the teaching method should be different with native who has just learn their mother-tongue/first language as essential need. So, this time I would share four tips about teaching Bahasa Indonesia for Foreigner.

Even though there are many learning methods of teaching second language, the biggest factor is yourself. These are not just about determination, frequent practice and seriousness, but also your background like your how different your first language with Bahasa Indonesia as well as your purpose/goal. Therefore, teaching Bahasa to foreigner is not a simple job!

Read also: How to Learn Bahasa Fast

1. What SKILL(S) do you want to master?

Skill(s) here refers to 4 language skills, which is listening; reading; speaking; and writing. Although all of language skills consist grammar and vocabulary, these four language skills are completely different, so the methods should be dissimilar. Usually, in formal language training, you will be divided to these four language skills: listening or mendengarkan; reading or membaca; speaking or berbicara; and writing or menulis.

For example:
to enhance your listening skill, you could listen to radio, watch Bahasa Indonesia movie and also have conversation with others, but in writing, you are recommended to read many books (so you could get familiar with language style/structure) and also do lots of practice.

Therefore, my tips is despite related, do not mix it up. Try to focus, i.e. one skill one day for each week!

Further reading: Indonesian Reading Comprehension and Learning Indonesian Alphabets

2. Learning Difficulties!

It is very important aspect of teaching Bahasa Indonesia for foreigner. First, it is influenced by the learners (i.e: age, their ability of Bahasa Indonesia, their speed, their goal and so on). Secondly, it would determine the language level, which one should be taught first before another. Third, it is also influenced by time and vice versa. Therefore, there is a framework or teaching plan. Here are the examples of the framework. You could try to make in your own!

  • Skill : Speaking (10 weeks)
    Level 1 : Introduce yourself in Bahasa Indonesia (name, nationality, address, age, and so on)
    (include vocabulary about greeting)
    Level 2 : Having daily conversation to others (one person ask one person answer)
    – introducing names, address, and basic information (6–9 y.o. learners)
    – Q & A about favorite sport (description, for 10–12 y.o. learners)
    Level 3 : Do a presentation
    – about their family (6–9 y.o. learners)
    – about their favorite figure (10–12 y.o learners)
  • Skill: Writing for adult (20 weeks)
    Level 1 = Introducing themselves in 200 words
    Level 2 = Writing a letter to a friend
    Level 3 = Write a description about a specific thing in 250 words
    Level 4 = Making a well-structured, cohesive, and coherence paragraphs

Could you see the difference? 

3. What is your purpose or goal?

Master a second language at least has three aspects: internal knowledge (formal one such as grammar and vocabulary), external knowledge (experience and practice), and other knowledge (specific knowledge: physics, arts, literature even society). Have you ever found someone that have advanced grammar skill, but could not deliver fluently in conversation?

Maybe he/she lacked of the external knowledge or limited space to practice. On the other hand, have you met a person that could speak and understand other language without formal training but have messy grammar (I called it ‘survivor’). Maybe, they only want to survive to foreign land.

Moreover, if a person want to work or study in Indonesia, he/she also need the third knowledge. When a person enter Indonesian university to study civil engineering, the person need also know about Indonesian situation (building, geography, policy and so on) and also Indonesian terms of it.

Also, especially for academic reason the first two knowledge become very critical. How could a person deliver their knowledge if they could not present it with good language? Of course, it would be different if a person just go to Indonesia for surf in Bali or experience a nice scenery in Bromo. It only need adequate skill such as Asking Questions in Indonesian or How to Say Hello in Indonesian. It determined the framework I’ve written above.

Further readings:

4. Last but not Least: Practice, Practice and Practice!

Language is a skill like dancing or playing football. Missed a practice, delayed whole process. People could use thousands of teaching method, but it need implementation. Therefore, teaching language means create a space to practice and make it as fun as possible without forgetting the goal.

Make time, focus, and be consistent. Find a friend. Read many Bahasa Indonesia books as you can, listen Indonesian music, watch Indonesian movie, write diary in Indonesian, try to find people to talk and my personal advice love the language! Do not hesitate to make mistake! And these are the four tips of teaching Bahasa Indonesia for Foreigner!

Further readings :