As Jakarta's leading Bahasa Indonesia School, we'd love to brag about our breakthrough methodologies and boast about our marvelous teachers. And we'd love to tell you that we possess all the skills necessary to MAKE YOU into a "fluent user of Bahasa Indonesia."
But we can't. Why not?
Because language learning is a "participatory process" which involves two parties - your teacher AND YOU! And, at the end of the day, it's YOU - not your teacher - who will ultimately determine how rapidly you pick up the language.
You can have the best language teacher on the planet, but your lessons will all come to nothing if YOU are not fully involved - if YOU don't get out there and USE the new language that's introduced to you by your teacher.
We've all heard the expression, "If you don't use it, you'll lose it" . . . and when it comes to learning a new language, nothing could be truer.
If you don't put your new vocabularies to immediate use outside the classroom, then those vocabularies WILL NOT stay with you - they won't "stick." They'll simply be archived in your notebook and, eventually, be forgotten.
Time and time again, students who are not reaching their goals will say to us things like,
"I'm so busy with my work that I just don't get an opportunity to use Bahasa Indonesia outside of class," or, "All the Indonesians in my office are fluent in English and they prefer to speak to me in English."
If you find that you're coming us with similar excuses for not reaching your linguistic aims (or even blaming your teacher), maybe it's time that you stop and remember that YOU are the most important player in the language learning process - maybe it's time that you take a proactive role in your own learning.
One of our students was recently having a lesson at his office. During the lesson, he told his teacher that he had no opportunity to use Bahasa Indonesia in his workplace. But when the two of them took a lesson break and went to the building lobby to buy a snack, the teacher noticed that the student didn't even use his Bahasa Indonesia for the simple task of ordering his coffee from the vendor who spoke no English!!! Needless to stay, the teacher pointed out to the student that he needs to stop blaming external circumstances for his lack of progress - that he needs to get involved and take a proactive role in his own learning.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, we once had a student who came to Jakarta to take up an executive position at an oil company. When he arrived, he discovered that all of his colleagues were fully bilingual and that they were happy to speak to him in English . . . but he refused to use English! From his very first day at the office, every time a co-worker would ask him a question in English, he'd answer in Indonesian.
As the student told his teacher,
"In the beginning, my behavior was very frustrating for my colleagues. They'd ask me a simple question and then have to wait a long time for me to formulate an answer using my very limited Bahasa Indonesia vocabulary.
But, over time, they came to see my behavior as a sign of respect for them and the Indonesian culture, and, in turn, they treated me with a great deal of respect. Within a month, everybody in the office seemed to be working with me to get my Bahasa Indonesia up to speed, and, within 4 months, I was quite functional in my new language. And I did all this without ever once using a word of English during business hours."
Now, that's what we're talking about!
Selamat belajar, happy studying.