English Syllabus for Accounting Students and the Needs of English in Business World

Everyone needs education as one of the important skills to get a brighter future. One of the basic that is given to students is English skills besides the major skills. As known, nowadays English is one of the important supportive skills in a business world. A good English skill is one of the requirements for everyone who wants to work either in a national or international company. According to Deambrosis (2009) in Setzler (2013), companies find that their primary source of competitive advantage lies in the knowledge they possess, so they are investing more in training their staffs. Furthermore, since 2016, Indonesia has entered the free trade area that opens the opportunity for everyone to work across the ASEAN countries. Therefore, schools and universities are appropriate places to equip every student with basic-English skills and prepare for better future (OECD, 2015). As ESL (English as a Second Language) educators, how can they tailor the lessons to meet best of needs that the student populations seek to reach? How can they determine if they have been successful in helping reach the needs of the students? To optimize learning, a teacher should have opportunities to meet his/her students and to speak with them face to face before beginning the class series, even with their parent to create good communication. (Prozesky, 2000; Graham-Clay, 2005). According to Adzmi et al. (2009), English courses help the students to perform the skills and expose it. However, those exposures are not enough to develop their competency in the required skills. Most probably, they cannot function well in their academic studies and career. In helping the students to improve their English skills, lecturers have to plan sufficient syllabus. The syllabus is needed in a teaching and learning process. The syllabus is defined as a form of planning that manages teaching and learning activities, class management, and an evaluation of a course of study (Pusat Pengembangan Sistem Pembelajaran Lembaga Pengembangan Pendidikan Universitas Sebelas Maret, 2007). The syllabus is an important factor in teaching and learning process in a class (ÖZTÜRK, 2013; Slattery & Carlson, 2005). It helps teachers to deliver the message clearly to students and to re-evaluate the objective of the study. Therefore, it needs to be analyzed whether it still can be used or needs to be revised. Li (2014) has stated that English business teaching in colleges and universities face many challenges including optimizing course design, setting teaching goals, updating teaching concepts, training teachers, and compiling textbooks.

Bina Nusantara University is a global university that provides facilities for students to improve their English skills. The material of the courses such as English Entrant (for the first semester students); English in Focus (for the second-semester students); and English Savvy (for the third-semester students) are taken from Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exercises. The content of English syllabus taught is TOEFL materials in three semesters. These three-course materials are almost the same for each semester. The only difference among these three courses is the scoring. The higher the level is the higher score the students have to get. Phillips (2008) has stated that TOEFL is used to measure the English proficiency for foreigners. TOEFL test is used as a reference by many companies, English courses, or universities as a standard to measure someone’s English skills. Bina Nusantara also uses TOEFL as the entrance test to select new students to know the level of their English skills. The same thing applies to the companies in hiring new employees. Many companies use TOEFL score as the measurement in determining which candidates can be accepted (Shohamy, 2007).

The problem is whether the materials taught are enough to prepare them to enter big companies. Thus, the researchers try to dig more information about the needs of companies in recruiting new employees. According to Powers (2010), there are four types of skills in TOEFL test includes reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Reading skill consists of three long reading texts and questions related to the academic text. Students have to answer questions on the stated details, inferences, sentence restatements, sentence insertion, vocabulary, pronoun reference function, and overall ideas. Listening skill has six parts. Some common types of listening skills that are usually appeared are the conversation, discussion, or an academic lecturer. The questions on this skill are defining the main idea, details, function, stance, inferences, and overall organization. The next is speaking skill. The students need to give an opinion about an academic aspect and also their opinion based on reading the text. Writing skill is divided into two parts. In the first part, the students are asked to write their opinions based on a given reading text. In the second part, students need to write an essay with minimum 300 words. Some topics that are prepared for students include presenting, telephoning, negotiating, meeting, and socializing. Meanwhile, the topics for listening exercises are note-taking for information in academic lecturers or discussions and social conversations. Students are also given assignments to practice their reading skills. Moreover, some of the topics are vocabulary, skimming, scanning, summarizing, paraphrasing, and inference. As the homework for students on off class session, they are given assignments to write an academic English writing.

The type of the writing can be a narrative, argumentative, comparecontrast, agree-disagree, or preference. All materials are prepared in course outline (syllabus) in every semester. Another standard to measure English skill proficiency in the business world is Test of English for International Communication or TOEIC (Nicholson, 2015). TOEIC is the English test used to measure one’s knowledge of English profession (related to the occupation). TOEIC is used to certify someone’s English skill and to strengthen someone’s profile (Fanani, 2014). Based on the TOEIC test from www. ets.org, since 1979, organizations around the world have used the TOEIC® test to hire, place, and promote employees (ETS-TOEIC, 2018). There are some differences between TOEFL and TOEIC. The first difference is that TOEIC is more commonly used in the business, while TOEFL is frequently used in an academic. The second difference is on the material and the questions. The third difference is the variety of skills. In TOEFL test, there are four skills (reading comprehension, listening comprehension, speaking, and writing skills). Meanwhile, in TOEIC, there are only two skills, reading comprehension and listening comprehension (Prabhat, 2011; Chujo & Oghigian, 2009). Moreover, International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is another variation of English test used to measure someone’s level of English skills (Witt, 2003). Normally, IELTS is used for students who will continue their studies abroad, especially to English-speaking-country. Witt (2003) has said that IELTS examination assesses how well a person understands and uses the English that he/she needs to study in an English-speaking country.

There are four components examined in IELTS; those are listening, speaking, writing, and reading. It takes about 2 hours 44 minutes to complete all test. The differences between IELTS and TOEFL are on the reading and writing tests. On the TOEFL test, students need to write an essay based on one topic only, and they need to give an opinion on one statement. However, on IELTS, the writing test is divided into two parts. The first part is academic writing and the second part is general training writing. On academic writing, students are asked to write based on the data provided, such as graphic, charts, or table. They have to write 150 words minimum in 20 minutes. Moreover, the students are also asked to write an opinion, argument, or solution or to evaluate ideas. They have to write 250 words in 40 minutes. Then, general training writing is divided into two sections. In the first section, the students need to respond on a case by writing an information letter and explain the situation. They have to write 150 words in 20 minutes. In this section, the students’ writing skills will be evaluated, especially on individual correspondence.

The second section is the same as academic writing. For speaking test in IELTS, the examiner will not only examine the answers from students, but he/she will also examine how fluent students speak English. According to Suminto (2010), TOEFL, TOEIC, and IELTS are some varieties of English test. Those are widely used not only in the academic but also in the business. All English tests are good, but all depends on the need or the requirement needed for each company. As the final results, students are expected possess the ability in using all English skills in the business world. Among those three English tests (TOEFL, IELTS, and TOIC), which one is commonly used in a business especially for BINUS university graduates? Thus, the researchers tried to dig more information about the needs of companies in recruiting new employees by sending questionnaire to them and called 54 accounting graduates of Binusian 2013- 2014. This research aims to evaluate the syllabus of the English courses at Bina Nusantara University. The result of this evaluation is to see whether the English syllabus in Bina Nusantara University is appropriate or needs improvement. Therefore, Bina Nusantara University graduates can practice their English skills in a workplace. The result of this research will give positive feedback not only to the English Department but also to the Subject Content Coordinator and the English lecturers. The result for Subject Content Coordinator and English lecturer is to see the appropriateness and effectiveness of English materials to college students, particularly to Accounting Department.

Name : Djuria Suprato, Ienneke Indra Dewi, Christine Paulina3

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