Towards Transactional English Communication in the 21st Century

Speaker:Helena I. R. Agustien| Location:Plenary Hall| Date:August 11, 2016| Time:9:00 - 9:45 am


Helena I. R. Agustien



This paper argues that in a foreign language-teaching context such as Indonesia, transactional English communication (TEC) should be the main goal of language education. This thought is triggered by the new challenges faced by the country since English is officially made the official language for the ASEAN organization. This means that Indonesian people will need to interact at least with ASEAN people using English as the medium, both in face-to-face and long distance communications. The kind of communication people are engaged in is no longer interpersonal or casual in nature but it increasingly shifts towards transactional communication. Transactional English communication refers to communication that is carried out to get something done and not simply for casual purposes. Transactional communication puts more challenging demands to English teachers because it requires accuracy, fluency and appropriateness. TEC is required in the exchanges of knowledge, information, secrets, etc. in the contexts of education, business, government, etc.  where miscommunication can lead to serious failures, disputes and consequences. This paper will address the current issues regarding the English education policy in Indonesia to see if the language policy, the curriculum and the practices have been geared towards the teaching of English for transactional communications. It will also describe some options available and what can be done under the current circumstances.


Helena I. R. Agustien has been a lecturer at Universitas Negeri Semarang, Indonesia since 1980. She earned her Ph.D in Applied Linguistics at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. Her interests include systemic functional linguistics/grammar, discourse studies, conversation analysis, curriculum development and second language acquisition. She developed a systemic functional-based national English curriculum in Indonesia known as the school-based curriculum. She was a language specialist and a teacher trainer at SEAMEO-RELC Singapore from 2008 to 2011 specializing in grammar in discourse.

Category: Day 1, Plenary Speakers