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(an Assignment of Current Issues in Language Learning)

1. Introduction
In this globalisation era, English as an international language becomes an important
subject that needs to be learnt. It is because, nowadays, there is a considerable possibility that
one have to comunicate with foreigners who speak different languages. In order to be able to
commmunicate with other people who speak different languages, English can be used as the
medium of the communication. Considering the importance of English as an international
language, in Indonesia, English is taught as a foreign language in the elementary school level
until the higher education level.
The success of a learner in mastering a foreign language is influenced by many
factors. Some experts believe that gender may affect the students achievement in second or
foreign language learning. Labov (in Ellis, 1994, p. 202) argues that women might be better
at L2 learning than men as they are likely to be more open to new linguistic forms in the L2
input and they will be more likely to rid themselves of interlanguage forms that deviate from
target-language norms. That statement is supported by Burstall's (1975) research in England
on primary school students of French and Boyle's (1987) research in Hong Kong on
university students of English, which reveal that female students were more successful than
male students in the exams applied (see Ellis, 1994).

2. English Achievement
Achievement is a term that is often used in the teaching and learning process. In the
context of language learning, achievement is defined as the students mastery of the target
language in a spesific course of study (Shohamy, 2001). Furthermore, achievement also
indicates how much of a language that has been learned by someone with reference to a
particular course of study or programme of instruction (Richards and Platt, 1992). Based on
those statements language achievement can be defined as the students mastery of the target
language with reference to the goals and objectives of a spesific course of study or the
In the context of junior high school, the goverment of Indonesia states that language
has an important role for the intellectual, social, and emotional developments of the students.
It also supports the success in studying other subjects. Language learning helps students to
know themselves, their cultures as well as other cuture. Moreover, through language learning,
the students are able to express their ideas and feeling, to participate in the society, and even
to discover and make use of their analytic and imaginative avilities (Permendiknas
No.22/2006, enclosure, p.307).
The students are expected to be able to communicate both in written and spoken. In
this case, to be able to communicate refers to the competency to understand and express
information, thoughts, feelings, and to develop science, technology, and culture both in
written and spoken forms. As a whole, communicative competence is defined as the
competency to understand and or produce written and spoken texts in the form of four
language skills, involving listening, speaking, reading, and writing. In the context of language
learning, English subject is directed to develop those four language skills, so that the students
are able to communicate in English (Permendiknas No.22/2006, enclosure, p.307).

In learning English, the students are expected to master both receptive and productive
skills (receptive skills inculde listening and reading, meanwhile productive skills refer to
speaking and writing skills). All of those language skills should be developed in the language
learning process.

3. Factors Affecting Learning Achievement

Madrid (1995) explains some learners characteristics which are recognized playing
an important role toward students language learning achievement, they are:
a. Physiological Aspect
General physical condition and muscle tension that mark the fitness level of the
body's organs and joints, can affect the vigor and intensity of students in the course.
To maintain in order to stay physically fit, students are highly recommended to
consume nutritious food and beverages. In addition, students are also recommended
choosing patterns of rest and light exercise regularly scheduled wherever possible and
b. Students Intelligence
Level of intelligence (IQ) of the students will influence the level of student success. If
the students have higher intelligence capabilities, then the chances for success will be
greater too. Otherwise, student with the lower intelligence will have lower chances
for success.
c. Students Attitude
The students positive attitude, especially to teachers and subjects is a sign of a good
start to the process of student learning, but negative attitudes of the students towards
teachers and subjects can lead to learning difficulties.
d. Students Skill
Talent will affect areas of high and low achievement of particular study. Therefore, it
is not wise when parents impose his will to educate his expertise on a particular
subject without knowing in advance formerly owned talent of his son.
e. Students Interest

Interest can affect the quality of student learning achievement in a particular field of
study. In this regard, the teacher should try to arouse interest in students to master the
knowledge of their field of study.
f. Students Motivation
Motivation is a psychological condition that drives a person to do something. In the
case of learning, motivation can be said to be a driving force in the overall self-esteem
that causes, assures the survival and provides direction and learning activities.
g. Social Environment
Social environments like school teachers, the staff admininistrative, and
classmates can affect the spirit of students learning. Another social environment that
affects the learning activity is the parents and families of the students themselves.

4. Current issue in Male and Female Students Achievement

Educational psychologists have consistently found that girls tend to have higher standards
in the classroom, and evaluate their own performance more critically. Girls also outperform
boys in school (as measured by students' grades), in all subjects and in all age groups. Girls
do better in school (as measured by report card grades), one might imagine that girls would
be more self-confident about their academic abilities and have higher academic self-esteem.
But that's not the case. Paradoxically, girls are more likely to be excessively critical in
evaluating their own academic performance. Conversely, boys tend to have unrealistically
high estimates of their own academic abilities and accomplishments (Erica Wehrwen, 2006).