Drs. I Made Sujana, MA [EED, Faculty of Education, University of Mataram]

[EED, Faculty of Education, University of Mataram]


English has been recognized as an international language not only in business commerce, international relations but also in science, technology, and education for years. Therefore, the acquisition of English could be an important added value for job competition and will determine one’s future career. As producers of professional human resources, higher education ought to impart students with sufficient English proficiency in order to be able to compete in a job market. Surveys show students’ English proficiency is still low (basic/elementary)(see Tim MKDK Bahasa Inggris Pusat Bahasa UNRAM, 1999). General observation has also shown that a high percentage of university graduates entering job market fails to demonstrate their English proficiency. The sources of this failure could be (a) the poor quality of the English instruction during their study; (b) lack of English exposure; and (c) the limited access and facilities to develop their skills. To improve students’ English proficiency, it is necessary for the university to review both the condition of teaching English at non-English Department (TENED) and the availability of learning facilities to support the effort of the English proficiency.

            University of Mataram NTB tries to anticipate the needs of English for graduates by changing the status Laboratorium Bahasa into UPT Pusat Bahasa. With this status, the main function of UPT Pusat Bahasa University of Mataram is to provide language services for both UNRAM civitas academica and community members in Nusa Tenggara Barat. As a technical implementation unit, Pusat Bahasa UNRAM internally is expected to support the effort of increasing the quality of UNRAM graduates, especially to improve the quality of teaching English within UNRAM and to provide learning facilities and access to improve their English proficiency. Externally, Pusat Bahasa is expected to provide language services for community members in NTB to improve human resource quality.

            To provide learning facilities and access to improve learners’ English proficiency, UPT Pusat Bahasa UNRAM, under technical supervision and aids from Higher Education Project (HEP) ADB Package 3, has established Self-Access Centre (SAC). In this centre, users can improve their English proficiency on their own way: use the material on their own interest and need, on their own time, and on their own speed.

            The rest of this paper will be devoted to the discussion of the theoretical basis underlying the establishment of self-access centre and the profile of UNRAM Self-Access Centre



Self Access Language Learning (SALL) is a way of improving learners’ English on their own way, that is, by selecting materials based on their own needs and interest and by working on their own time and speed. The SALL program demands learners’ responsibilities, motivation, and diligence for learning. The SALL is very popular in today’s language teaching programs to provide learning material and access in addition to learning in formal teaching in class.

The establishment of the SALL is inspired among others by (1) the development in educational psychology which now focuses on learner’s needs and attitude toward learning (see Hutchinson & Waters, 1993), (2) the change of learners’ and teachers’ roles in learning process (Stevick in Sheerin, 1991), the result of research on characteristics of a good learner(Naiman, et al, in Sheerin, 1991), and (4) the development in humanistic psychology viewing a learner as an individual (Sheerin, 1991).

The development in educational psychology which emphasizes on learners’ needs and attitude towards learning has changed the paradigm of teaching English as a second and foreign language. With this paradigm, learner’s need should be prioritized in every planning step so that the learning will be effective and efficient (Hutchinson & Waters, 1993). Since the focus is on learners’ need and attitude toward learning, the learners’ role in learning should be emphasized by strengthening the role of learners and reducing, even if possible omitting, the dependence of learners on teachers.  In relation to this, Stevick (cited in Sheerin, 1991) says that the role of the teachers and learners in traditional learning style needs to be changed in order to optimize learning achievement. He suggests the change of the role as follows:


paternal/assertive                        ———> fraternal/permissive

dispenser of knowledge   ———> resource person

fostering dependence                  ———> training for independence


passive                                       ———> active

no responsible for learning          ———-> assume responsibility for learning

seeking approval             ———> doing without overt approval

submissive                                  ———> involved in decision-making

            It is clear from the description above that learners take a central role in learning and the teachers take the role of facilitators. Given responsibility in learning, the learners will be able to improve their English effectively and efficiently. Based on the research, Naiman, et al. (cited in Sheerin, 1990) conclude that the good language learners are those who are given freedom and responsibility in learning on their own way. According to Sheerin (1990), the development of SAL accord to humanistic psychology seeing the learner as an individual which differs from one to another in terms of needs, interest, learning habit, cognition development, language development, etc.

            To support learning style as expected in the description above, it is necessary to establish a centre capable of providing learning material and access in self-access mood. Carvalho (1993) suggests that the self-access centre should fulfill such criteria as interesting, attractive, relevant to students’ needs, capable of accommodating various levels, and easy and cheap to prepare. According to Brown (cited in Dickinson, 1994), the establishment of the SAC is very useful to help students get access of learning materials in self-access mood and these kinds of the materials can be used to remedy slow learners, to fulfill students’ needs and interests, to practice certain skills for active students. Furthermore, Richards & Lockhart (cited in Detaramani & Shuk Im Chan, 1999) said that self-access materials can facilitate the different perception between teachers and students in teaching and learning process.


             It has been mentioned that from the results of research and general observation UNRAM students’ English proficiency is still low. The sources of this failure are, among others, the poor quality of the English instruction during their study, the lack of English exposure, and the limited access and facilities to develop their skills. It is the UNRAM duties to improve the students’ English proficiency so that they can compete in a job market without being impeded with their English. This can be done by reviewing the teaching and learning process and the provision of teaching materials.

            One action taken by Language Centre UNRAM to help both UNRAM civitas academica and public in Nusa Tenggara Barat is the establishment of Self-Access Centre (SAC). The centre has informally opened since December 1998 with very limited worksheets, mostly prepared for the needs of EAP and General English Courses run at Language Centre at that time. The SAC located in old campus, Jalan Pendidikan 37 Mataram opens six days a week on PNS working hours. The hours may be extended along with the increasing number of members and staff on duty for SAC.

            In order to get an access to use the learning facilities at UNRAM SAC, one must be a member of the centre. There are two kinds of membership: automatically- and non-automatically-considered members. The automatic members are those who are taking English courses at Language Centre UNRAM; and the others are those who are purely members of SAC. To join the SAC, one will need to pay annual membership fees (Rp 25,000 for UNRAM civitas academica and Rp 35,000 for public).

Up to now many students, lecturers and public constantly make use of the materials and facilities to improve their English. Based on the results of questionnaire, observation and quick interview with the current SAC members, it is found the profile of the users of UNRAM SAC is as follows:

Average age : 15 – 30
Sex ratio : 50 : 50
Average level of English : Basic – Pre-Intermediate
Level of education : SMU & Undergraduate
Skill requirements : List., Grammar, Vocab., Reading, Speaking
Likely frequency of visit : twice in a week
Likely length of visit : 1-3 hours
Degree of independence : ?
Level of motivation : ?
Expectation : Mastery of English for study purposes
Preference : Listening, Reading, Grammar

With cooperative work of 2 “permanent” staff and 3 young-hired teachers (youngbloods), who spend 1-2 hours of their time in a day to help SAC development, a lot of progress has been made in terms of materials production, management, and promotion. The SAC staff keep working hard to renew and add up learning materials and facilities. The design of the materials are based on users’ profile. Up to now, the staff has managed to design materials based on SKILLS and LEVELS and displayed on color folders.

  1. Percentage of Learning Materials based on Skills:
1 Listening : 20 %
2 Grammar : 15 %
3 Vocabulary : 15 %
4 Reading : 20 %
5 Songs :  5%
7 Video :   5%
8 Others : 10%
TOTAL : 100%
  1. Percentage of Materials based on Levels of Users
1. Basic/Elementary : 50%
2. Pre-Intermediate : 35%
3. Intermediate – above : 15%
  1. Levels and Color Code
1 Basic Pink
2 Pre-Intermediate Yellow
3 Intermediate Green
4 Upper-Interm/EAP (TOEFL/IELTS) Blue
5 SONGS Orange
6 Aussie Eng. Light Blue
  1. Skills, Codes, and Number of Worksheets
BASIC LB (1-20) GB (1-40) VB (1-50) RB (1-20)
PRE-INTER LPI (1-20) GPI (1-20) VPI (1-50) RPI (1-10)
INTER LI (1-15) GI (1-30) VI (1-50) RI (1-10)
TOEFL TL (1 – 4) TS (1 – 4) TR (1 – 4)
SONGS Songs (1-60)
AUSSIE ENG. Mono/Dial 1 -40
  1. Sources of the Materials
BASIC      Basic in Listening      Essential Grammar in Use      Test Your Vocab. Book 1      Facts and Figures
PRE-INTER      Elementary Task Listening

Task Listening

     Essential Grammar in Use

Grammar in Use

     Test Your Vocab. Book 1      Basics in Reading
INTER      Person too Person      Grammar in Use      Test Your Vocab. Book 1      Practical Faster Reading
TOEFL      Building TOEFL

Longman’s Preparation TOEFL Book A

Cliff’s TOEFL

     Building TOEFL

Longman’s Preparation TOEFL Book A

Cliff’s TOEFL

     Building TOEFL

Longman’s Preparation TOEFL Book A

Cliff’s TOEFL

IELTS      Prepare for IELTS      Prepare for IELTS
SONGS      Julio Iglesias

Michael Bolton

Walt Disney series

Everlasting Love Songs


  1. Facilities

The centre is set up in a fully air-condition room, size 15 x 8 cms. The centre has a lot of facilities to support the self access learning. Those facilities are :

1 Books & Journals 951 titles
2 Novels 170 titles
2 Magazines and Newspapers 5 titles
3 Bookshelves 6
4 Magazine & Newspaper Racks 2
5 Worksheet Racks 1
6 TVs 2
7 Tape players 8
8 Video players 2
9 Tapes 350 titles
10 Video Cassettes 65 titles
11 Computers 2 units
12 Study Space 15 x  8 m
13 Conversation Space
14 Photocopy machine 1
14 Notice boards 2
15 Computer + CALL Program



With the provision of materials and facilities which can be accessed in self-access mood, it is expected that students, as well as public, can improve their English proficiency effectively and efficiently.

Along with the increasing number of users, it is expected that Language Centre management and staff keep reviewing and adding up learning materials and facilities to accommodate users’ needs and interest.




Carvalho, Dorothea, 1993. Self-Access: Appropriate Material. London: The British Council.

Crook, Tonny, 1991. “A Skill-Bases Approach to Language Need Analysis for Hotel Personnel – A Case Study.” A Paper presented at TEFLIN Seminar 37 at FKIP Unram Mataram Lombok.

Detaramani, Champa dan Irene Shuk Im Chan, 1999. “Learners’ needs, attitudes and motivation towards the self-access mode of language learning” dalam RELC Journal Vol. 30, No. 1 June. pp. 124-157.

Dickinson, Leslie, 1994. Self-Access Instruction in Language Learning. Cambridge: CUP.

Gardner, David & Lindsay Miller, 1999. Establishing Self-Access: from theory to practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Harvey, Annamaria, 1984. “Designing an ESP Course: A Case Study” dalam English Teaching Forum. Vol. XXII, No. 1, January.

Hutchinson and Walters. 1987. English for Specific Purpose. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.

Nunan, David, 1990. The Learner-Centered Curriculum. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.

Robinson, Pauline C. 1991.  ESP Today: A practitioner’s Guide. New York. Prentice Hall.

Sheerin, Susan, 1991. Self-Access. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Strevens, P., 1988. “ESP after 20 Years” dalam Tickoo, ML. (ed.)  ESP: State of Art. Anthology Series 21. Singapore : RELC


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