The Portrait of Challenges in Teaching English to Young Learners: A Case Study in an Indonesian Islamic School

Canda Ayu Arum Pertiwi, Mutmainnah Mustofa, M Faruq Ubaidillah, Sugeng Hariyanto


Teaching English to students with no prior knowledge, a different first language, and varied characters is challenging. This research is a case study design that focused on the teachers’ perceptions of teaching English to young learners situated in one of the Islamic schools in Malang, Indonesia. The participants involved were six English teachers at the chosen school. A qualitative approach was employed in this study.  Data were generated through interviews. Findings suggest that the participating teachers encountered multiple challenges in their teaching enactment, such as (1) non-English prior knowledge, (2) lack of motivation, (3) negative perceptions of the English language, (4) time constraints for studying English, (5) insufficient teaching and learning devices, (6) messy classroom conditions, and (7) speaking anxiety. With some help from others, teachers’ creativity, and some collaborations with other teachers, the teaching and learning process can run conditionally.


EYL, Elementary School, English Teacher, Teacher Perception

Full Text:



Andriyani, A. S., Maulina, M., Amin, S., Nasrullah, R., Asdar, A., & Hamsiah, A. (2022). Students’ perception in learning English through blended learning. Journal of Education and Teaching (JET), 3(1), 50-68.

Aniuranti, A. (2021). The use of ice breakers in online English grammar classes. Surakarta English and Literature Journal, 4(2), 85-97.

Aprilani, D. N. (2021). Students' perception in learning English vocabulary through Quizlet. Journal of English Teaching, 7(3), 343-353.

Armanda, M. L., & Indriani, L. (2022). Is learning English boring with gamification?. ELTR Journal, 6(1).

Astuti, A. R., Solihat, A., & Satriani, I. (2020). The influence of ice breaker on students’

motivation in teaching English. PROJECT (Professional Journal of English Education), 3(2), 210.

Cahyati, S. S., & Parmawati, A. (2021) The magic of classroom language in online TEYL: Making the teacher “alive” (A case study in Cimahi)

Cicekci, M. A., & Sadik, F. (2019). Teachers' and students' opinions about students' attention problems during the lesson. Journal of Education and Learning, 8(6), 15-30.

Fitriana, R. O. (2021). The important role of English songs in learning English for young learners. Jurnal Dieksis ID, 1(1), 13-18.

Humairoh, S.A. (2021). Exploring students’ difficulties in writing. Faculty of Educational Sciences Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University. Jakarta.

Husna, A. H., & Murtini, R. T. (2019). A study on students’ motivation in studying English as Foreign Language (EFL) at STIKES Cendekia Utama Kudus. English Education: Journal of English Teaching and Research, 4(2), 207-220.

Husni. (2020). The problems faced by the teachers in teaching English as a foreign language at SMAN 2 Sinjai. Thesis. Muhammadiyah University of Makassar.

Ilyas, M., & Syahid, A. (2018). Pentingnya metodologi pembelajaran bagi guru. Al-Aulia: Jurnal Pendidikan dan Ilmu-Ilmu Keislaman, 4(1), 58-85.

Jaelani, A., & Zabidi, O. W. (2020, July). Junior high school students’ difficulties of English language learning in the speaking and listening section. In ELT Forum: Journal of English Language Teaching (Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 45-54).

Kencanawati, D., & Aina, R. S. W. (2016). Problem-based learning in teaching speaking at Senior High School. English Education: Journal of English Teaching and Research, 1(1).

Khalili, S. (2021). Pronunciation in English as an International Language (EIL) Contexts: Efficacy of EFL classes, teachers' views, and felicitousness of nonactive models. English as International Language Journal, 16(2), 88-107.

Kholisoh, A., & Farida, A. N. (2018). The influences of a tongue twister in teaching pronunciation of the aspirated sound [Ph]. In ELT Forum: Journal of English Language Teaching (Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 63-72).

Mihara, K. (2018). A study on reducing the sleeping in the class phenomenon in Japanese Universities through student motivation. International Journal of Higher Education, 7(3), 79-89.

Mohammad, Z. A., & Hasbi, M. (2022). Reading difficulties in English as a second language in grade five at a Saint Patrick’s High School for boys, Hyderabad-India.

Nenotek, S. A., Tlonaen, Z. A., & Manubulu, H. A. (2022). Exploring university students’ difficulties in writing english academic essay. AL-ISHLAH: Jurnal Pendidikan, 14(1), 909-920.

Nurhayati, N., Angkarini, T., & Tanamal, N. A. (2021). Students’ perception of teachers’ creativity in implementing home learning at SMK Duta Mas. Scope: Journal of English Language Teaching, 5(2), 90-99.

Pek, L. S., & Mee, R. W. M. (2020). Parental involvement on child’s education at home during school lockdown. JHSS (Journal of Humanities and Social Studies), 4(2), 192-196.

Riyanti, D. (2019). The role of motivation in learning English as a foreign language. Journal of English Language Teaching Innovations and Materials (JELTIM), 1(1), 29-35.

Roustae, R., Pourrajab, M., Kasmaienezhadfard, S., & Talebloo, B. (2015). Students' learning through teaching creativity: teachers' perception. Journal of Educational, Health and Community Psychology, 4(1), 1-13.

Sabelina, F. N., & Tiarina, Y. (2021). Students’ perception towards English learning material during full online learning at SMAN 5 Padang. Journal of English Language Teaching, 10(1), 16-27.

Smith, R., Snow, P., Serry, T., & Hammond, L. (2021). The role of background knowledge in reading comprehension: A critical review. Reading Psychology, 42(3), 214-240.

Songbatumis, A. M. (2017). Challenges in teaching English faced by English teachers at MTsN Taliwang, Indonesia. Journal of foreign language teaching and learning, 2(2), 54-67.

Souisa, T. R., & Meyer, F. (2020). Building students' Background knowledge on reading comprehension through prep method for the tenth grade students at SMA Negeri 1 Tiakur. KOLI JOURNAL, 1(1), 36-48.

Sultra, E. D., & Baharudin, B. (2020). Analysis of student’s difficulties in learning English at SMA Negeri 1 Batauga. English Education Journal, 65-75.

Syuhada, L., & Fatimah, S. (2021). Students’ motivation in learning English after the practice of teacher-in-role. Journal of English Language Teaching, 10(4), 674-687.

Yuzulia, I. (2021). A study on student motivation towards learning English language. Eltin Journal: Journal of English Language Teaching in Indonesia, 9(1), 10-17.

Zamzami, M. A. (2019). A study of the teaching English for young learners at Islamic Elementary School Islamiyah Malang. Akademika: Jurnal Manajemen Pendidikan Islam, 1(1), 52-75.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

JELTL (Journal of English Language Teaching and Linguistics); Web:;

Creative Commons License
JELTL by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Indexed and Abstracted BY: