Modern Techniques in English Language Teaching
Bambang Yudi Cahyono
State University of Malang, East Java
One of the determinants of success in the teaching of English is the teaching technique used in the classroom. According to Anthony (1963, cited in Richards & Rodgers, 1986: 15), “technique” refers to something in the classroom which is “implementational.” More particularly it refers to “a particular trick, strategem, or contrivance used to accomplish an immediate objective.” Thus, when a teacher uses a particular way to teach English so that the students can achieve the objectives of the teaching, he or she applies a particular teaching technique.
This paper presents modern techniques in English Language Teaching (ELT). The word “modern” is understood as recent or current or up-dated in accordance with the trends in the development of language learning theories and information and communication technology, especially the Internet. This paper focuses on the application of techniques based on the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), especially the Internet, for the teaching of English language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing). Principles of cooperative learning will be implemented in the interactive process of teaching and learning in the English classroom.
1. VARIOUS INTERNET-BASED RESOURCES FOR THE TEACHING OF ENGLISH
There are a great number of Internet resources. Among other Internet resources, some will be mentioned briefly in this section. A book entitled Teaching English by Using Internet Resources (Cahyono, 2010) show how various Internet resources can be used to teach English. Some of the chapters are Internet Games (Fitrianto), Online Thesaurus(Sholichatin), Online Magazines(Satori), and Wikipedia (Wardani), Internet Vocabulary Resources(Indriati), Podcasts(Puspitasari), and YouTube(Marti), WebQuests(Cahyono), Facebook (Sahdan), Webblogs (As’ad),Discussion Board (Sholihah),and Virtual Classroom(Samsuli). Table 1 shows the chapters on the 12 Internet resources that can be used to teach English.
Title of Selected Chapters
Using Internet Games to Teach English
This Chapter highlights the use of Internet Games. Internet Games may be played not only for fun but also for learning. This Chapter also shows some Internet Games that can be used for these purposes, the advantages of Internet Games as a way for learning, and the procedures in using Internet Games for the teaching of English.
How to Use an Online Thesaurus to teach English
This Chapter discusses how to use an Online Thesaurus to teach English. This Chapter shows that an Online Thesaurus is useful not only for searching synonyms of words, but also for enriching classrooms with several other features such as “Word of the Day” and “Question of the Day”.
Teaching How to Write Descriptive Texts Using Online Magazines
This Chapter shows that some magazines articles from the Internet can be used as samples of material to teach English writing by giving students the tasks on how to access the data on the Internet, complete the table of information, and write a text based on the information. Online Magazines contain linguistic features that can be advantageous as resources for teaching English.
The Use of Wikipedia as a Resource to Teach English
This Chapter presents the use of Wikipedia to search for educational materials in teaching English. Based on the advantages in using Wikipedia, this Chapter suggests that the application of Wikipedia can help teachers of English in Indonesia to motivate students in learning English.
Using Internet Vocabulary Resources to Improve English Vocabulary
This Chapter describes Internet vocabulary resources that can be used in the process of teaching English. It discusses vocabulary materials related to the daily context. This Chapter also guides students to pronounce the words correctly and understand the meanings, gives follow up activities to maintain their understanding, and assigns the students to utter some words related to things or actions that have been discussed around them.
Using Podcasts as a Source of Materials for Teaching Listening
This Chapter discusses Podcasts, digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and can be downloaded through the Internet. Podcast websites are useful as resources for materials. In this Chapter, a sample material is presented and some procedures in using a Podcast to teach English are outlined. This Chapter attempts to convince that the use of a Podcast as a source of material can help students learn English as well as motivate them to learn English better.
Using Video Materials from YouTube to Teach English
This Chapter presents YouTube, one of the Internet resources that contain enormous numbers of video contents, which are exploitable in the classroom. It also explains some procedures of teaching English by using YouTube and displays pictures of how to teach simple present tense in English.
Helping Students Learn English Using WebQuests
This Chapter explains the use of WebQuests to help students find information by visiting some designated websites. By having WebQuests as a tool of learning online, the teachers can save the students’ time in searching for information and train the students to have purpose in searching information from the Internet.
Using Facebook to Teach English
This Chapterprovides some tips in using Facebook to teach students to write English texts. Focusing on the attractive feature of “Profile” in Facebook, this Chapter exemplifies how using teacher’s Facebook account to involve students to learn English. With its popularity in the cyber world among teenagers as well as adults, Facebook is believed to attract students in exploring the features and in giving comments to classmates’ updated status.
Using Webblogs to Teach English
This Chapterpresents the use of Webblog to teach writing in English. Webblog supports writing activities by providing opportunities for drafting, giving feedback, revising, and publishing writing, all of which can be useful as tools for teaching English. Besides, Webblog is more likely to encourage educators to promote writing skills through student-published blogs that by inviting comments from other people. This Chapter also outlines the procedures in using Webblog to teach students to write in English. It ensures that the application of Webblog in English teaching and learning process will increase the students’ English learning motivation and improve their ability in writing.
Making English Learning Fun Using aDiscussion Board
This Chapter highlights a Discussion Board. A Discussion Board is an asynchronous communication tool that allows one individual to post a comment or question online. Other individuals who are members of the same Discussion Board may read that comment/question, and respond to online postings with their own remarks over time.
Teaching English in Virtual Classroom
This Chapter discusses the teaching of English using Virtual Classroom, a teaching and learning environment employing the computer-mediated communication system. Based on the belief that Virtual Classroom is effective for both individual and interactive learning of language, this Chapter suggests English teachers to use this facility as it offers not only information and resources from websites, but also interesting audio and visual tools.
2. THE USE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO MATERIALS FOR TEACHING ENGLISH LANGUAGE SKILLS
Many English language learners have been familiar with stories and story-telling activities. In their childhood, they listened to stories which were told or read by members of their family. When they already had the ability to read, they began to read stories on their own. Because stories are close to students’ everyday life, it is important to bring stories to English classrooms.
In English classrooms, teachers may tell or retell stories using different techniques. Examples of these techniques includes “story experience” (students respond to concrete words by acting them out), “spinning stories” (students standing in a circle take turn continuing a story), and “finish the story” (students complete an unfinished story orally or in a written form) (Richard-Amato, 2003) . They may also tell stories with the help of instructional media such as still pictures, stick figures, flash cards, picture books, wordless picture books, picture series, big books, narrative scaffold, overhead projector, and puppets. Occasionally, they just play stories from tape-recorders, video-cassette recorders, compact discs, or CD-Roms. Currently, with the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), especially the Internet, teachers may present stories published in one of the most popular video-based Internet sites, YouTube.
YouTube contains digital video-based materials. Materials in YouTube can be visited and watched either online or offline in the classrooms. The web page of YouTube is located at www.youtube.com. Due to its nature as a public domain, video-based materials uploaded in YouTube are the results of video-recording in various types, topics, and languages. This paper focusses on a particular type of materials from YouTube, that is English animation stories. YouTube stores a lot of animation stories which are useful for the teaching of English. Stories in YouTube can be accessed by writing the keywords of the intended stories in the YouTube searching engine (indicated by a horisontal bar in which keywords can be written) as shown in the following.
Keywords can be in the form of the titles of expected stories (e.g., The Fox and the Grapes or The Frog Prince), or the famous character in a series of stories (e.g., Winnie the Pooh or Mouse Deer), or the name of the collections of the stories (e.g., Disney Animated Storybook or Kids Animation Stories).
English animation stories from YouTube can be used for teaching English in a great number of ways. The very basic activity is to play an English animation story video and to ask the students to watch it as an end-of-the-day activity. In this case, although the video material seems to be considered merey as an entertaining activity given following an instruction, it can expose the students to an authentic use of English, that is, English for storytelling. English animation stories such as Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfts, and The Frog Prince are some of the examples of English animation stories suitable for this purpose. Fairy tales such as these are easy to understand and many of the students have been familiar with these kinds of stories.
While almost all of the English animation stories can be played merely as a storytelling means, English teachers may use video-based stories more creatively by using them as part of the main teaching activities or as the main activities in English classroom. In the following, some ways in using of English animation stories for teaching integrated skills (combination of more than one of the four language skills, namely listening, speaking, reading, and writing) are explored by highlighting the focus of the instruction. These include using stories for building students’ English vocabulary, reconstructing a story, completing a story with partners, and understanding the moral of a story.
Building English Vocabulary
An English animation story can be used as an instructional medium to teach students integrated skills which entail the improvement of their vocabulary size. An example of this activity is shown by Agustin (2011). In this case, the video of the story is shown to the students as a pre-teaching activity. Then, in the whilst-teaching activity, the students are given a reading text based on the transcript of the story. Using the reading text, the teacher leads a class discussion and then asks the students to work on a vocabulary exercise and to answer some comprehension questions. Agustin used an English animation story entitled The Whispering Palms taken from “Bookbox” collection in YouTube.
Reconstructing a Story
Reconstructing a story is one of the interesting activities that can be done after the students watch the video of a particular story. To help the students remember the plot (the generic structure) of the story played, the students may be given some pictures taken from the video. The pictures should be given in a scrambled order and the students are asked For example, the students are given jumbled pictures taken from Goldilocks and the Three Bears taken from “Children’s Animation” collection in YouTube. In pairs or in groups, ask the students to order the pictures so that the pictures represent the correct orders of the events in the stories. Check the results of the ordered pictures of the students and correct if they are incorrecly ordered. Then, ask the students with their partners or other group members to reconstruct the story either orally or in a written form. Finally, one or two of the students may be ask to retell the stories in front of the class by bringing the pictures that have been properly sequenced.
Completing Stories with Partners
Another way to deal with an English animation story is to ask the students to complete an incomplete story. For this purpose the students can be divided into two big groups. One group of the students are ask to go outside the classroom, and the first half of the story is played to the students in the second group who stay in the classroom. Once the students in the second group has finished watching the first half of the story, they should be asked to go outside the classroom. Meanwhile, the students in the first group who have been outside the classroom are asked to go into the classroom to watch the second half of the story. After the students in the first group watch the video, the students of the second group who have been outside the classroom to go into the classroom to meet their partners from the first group. Then, the students who have understood the first half of the story should share what they understand to the students who have watched the second half of the story, and the students who have understood the second half of the stroy should share that part to the students who have watched the first half of the story. By listening to the parts of the story shared by their partners, the students will be able to understand the complete story. A story entitled The Wise Son from “Animated Stories in English” collection in YouTube can be used as an example. The summary of the story is as follows:
The Wise Son
In the village of Mohanpur, there lived a farmer who pampered his little son Nandu and never let him do any hard work. However, the farmer’s wife became worried about her husband’s attitude and felt that they are not making their son independent. Days pass by where in the farmer becomes unwell and his only son Nandu does not take proper care of him. Nandu’s wife asked him to throw his father into the river or to bury him alive in the forest. In the following night Nandu put his father on his bull cart and brought him to the forest. Looking at his grandpa on the cart, Nandu’s son, Krisna, asked his father to allow him to go along with his father. In the forest, Nandu dug a pit and at that time Krisna asked him what he would do with the pit. Nandu told Krisna that the pit was to put Krisna grandfather so that he could take a rest in peace. Knowing the answer, Krisna asked Nandu to give him the tool to dig another pit to put Nandu when he gets sick. As a matter of fact, Nandu realized what he had done was wrong and he decided to bring back his father and to send him to the hospital for health treatment.
Understanding the Moral of a Story
Another interesting way in using English animation stories is to ask the students to discuss the moral of a story. A story has a generic structure (story line) that contains orientation, complication, series of events in the complication, resolution and an optional element called coda. Coda refers to the lesson or moral that we can learn from a story. Coda may be presented as part of the textual element of the narrative text, or it can stay in the readers or listeners’ mind. Following activities based on video, the students can be asked to mention the moral of a story. An animal story (fable) usually has coda in the form of moral that we can get from the story. As an example, the video The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing from “Kids Animation” collection in YouTube can be played as a model. Then the students are asked to work with partners or other members of the group. The moral of the story The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing is that “Appearances are deceptive.” For exercise, the video entitled “Foolish Crane” can be played and the students are asked to discuss the moral of the story.
3. THE TEACHING OF OTHER TEXT-TYPES
The teaching of English in Secondary Schools is based on genres or text types (Emilia, 2011). Out of a number of text types that should be taught to Senior High School (Sekolah Menengah Atas/SMA) and Vocational High School (Sekolah Menengah Kejuruan/SMK) students are Procedure, Explanation, and Exposition Texts. This course materials presents the nature of the three text types, and model materials. The presentation is grouped into the three text types: Procedure, Explanation, and Exposition Texts.
Procedure Text is a text that shows the readers how to do something or how to work on something. This text type is very common in everyday life. Some examples of this text type can be found in recipes, instructional manuals, and operational guides. Procedure text has a specified goal, generic structure (also called ‘organizational structure’) and linguistic features.
Goal. Procedure texts aim to show how something is done in a step-by-step fashion.
Generic Structure. A procedure text is usually composed of the following structures:
- Aim: This part states the aim of the writing.
- Materials and tools: This part informs the materias and tools that are needed.
- Steps: This part shows the procedures mentioned in a particular order. Usually, the sentences used in the step-by-step sequence are stated in the “imperative forms” or “command forms”.
Linguistic Features. Procedure texts are usually written in the following way:
- Showing the materials and tools needed.
For example: To make “STM” drink, a mug, a spoon, and a boiling pan are needed.
- Using action verbs and command forms.
For example: Prepare an egg, a glass of fresh milk and a spoon of honey.
- Using enumerative expressions.
For example: First, break the egg and remove the white part.
Explanation Text is a text that explains how something happens or how a phenomenon is formed. This text type is very useful in order to provide understanding of a phenomenon that takes place in daily life. For example, this text type can be used to explain about lightning, tornado, or tsunami. Explanation text has a specified goal, generic structure, and linguistic features.
Goal. Explanation texts aim to explain something or a particular penomenon.
Generic Structure. An explanation text is usually composed of the following structures:
- a. Phenomenon identification: This part identifies something to be explained.
- b. Explanation sequence: This part shows the sequence of happenings with regard to the phenomenon being explained.
It is important to note that explanation texts can be in the form of “explanation sequence” (explaining how) and in the form of “consequential explanation” (explaining why). Explanation sequence shows a process, such as how a computer works and how a mountain is formed. Whereas, consequential sequence shows the reasons for a phenomenon, such as why the ozone layer is thinning and why iron goes rusty.
Linguistic Features. Explanation texts are usually written in the following way:
- Using generalized non-human participants.
For example: water, evaporation, computers, tornado, tsunami.
- Usually, using time relation in “explanation sequence”.
For example: First, then, following, finally.
- Usually, using cause-effect markers in “consequential explanation.”
For example: If …then, so, as a consequence, since.
Exposition Text is a text that evaluates an idea or an opinion in the form of argument. Exposition text has a specified goal, generic structure, and linguistic features.
Goal. Exposition texts aim to argue for or against an idea or an opinion and to provides reasons for the arguments.
Generic Structure. An exposition text is usually composed of the following structures:
- Thesis: This part introduces the writer’s opinion or position.
- A series of arguments: This part shows a number of convincing arguments. In order to be convincing, an argument needs to be supported with facts, statistics, or quotations.
- Restatement or reiteration of the thesis: This part restate the thesis in different words.
An exposition text may be written in five-paragraph essay, where the first paragraphs serve as the introductory paragraph, the second to fourth paragraphs are the supporting paragraphs, while thelast paragraph is the concluding paragraph. The first paragraph contains the thesis and the last paragraph contains the restatement of the thesis; meanwhile, each of the supporting paragraphs contains each of the arguments.
There are two kinds of exposition texts: “analytical exposition” and “hortatory exposition”. “Analytical exposition” aims to argue that something is important or unimportant, something is good or bad, or something is right or wrong. “Hortatory exposition” aims to persuade someone (people) to do something. Sometimes, the former type of exposition is said to be about “something is the case”, while the latter one is about “something should be the case.”
Both types of exposition texts are common in an editorial rubric of a newspaper, in a political speech, an essay, a letter to the editor, and a debate.
Linguistic Features. Exposition texts are usually written in the following way:
- Focusing on a particular topic.
For example: the increase of oil price, the necissity to wear school uniform.
- Using “mental verbs”.
For example: In my opinion,I believe, I think, ….
- Using connectives.
The first reason is,the next reason is (temporal connectives)
However, on the other hand (comparative connectives)
Because, lead to, the consequence of (causal connectives)
Thus, therefore, all in all (connectives in concluding statement)
This paper has presented three major issues: The teaching of English using Internet resources, the use of YouTube video materials to teach English, and the teaching of three text types – procedure, explanation, and exposition texts – in a sketchy manner, meaning that only the major principles are outlined. The application of the techniques and some model texts will be provided in the presentation so that they could be references in understanding the nature of the issues and how to apply them in the English classroom. When actually teaching students, it is expected that teachers use integrated skills of English and use more types of texts. More importantly, the students should not only be exposed to the model texts, but they also need to be guided in using the language teaching media and various activities to improve their proficiency in all English language skills.
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