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THE IMPLEMENTATION OF COMMUNICATIVE LANGUAGE TEACHING IN DEVELOPING THE THIRD YEAR STUDENTS’ ENGLISH PROFICIENCY AT PONDOK MODERN GONTOR
INTRODUCTION Realizing the important role played by English in various sectors of life, the Indonesian government makes it as the most prior foreign language to learn at schools. As a foreign language, English is not used as a means of communication in governmental, educational, political activities, and other fields within the country (Brown, 1994: 182). With this status, English will be acquired only through learning and teaching activity designed and conducted as well as possible. In conducting a good English teaching program, the elements of a method like an approach, design, and procedure should be taken into account as well as a language environment. The approach can be defined as a set of correlative assumptions dealing with the nature of language teaching and learning. An approach is axiomatic, it describes the subject matter to be taught (Anthony, 1963: 95). This indicates that the approach that is in theoretical level colors the design and procedure. Design is defined as the level in which objectives, syllabus and content are determined, and in which the roles of teachers, learners, and instructional materials are specified. Procedure is the actual moment-to-moment techniques, practices, and behaviors that operate in teaching a language according to a particular method (Richards and Rogers, 1986: 16-26). As a component of design, the objective should be formulated clearly what the learners have to master if they have completed the program. Usually, it is characterized by the adopted theory of language. The objective may vary from the development of linguistic competence to the development of communicative competence. The second part of the design that has a crucial influence is syllabus. Syllabus, according to Harmer, concerns with the decision about parts of the language the learner has to know, how is the language to be organized and what skills should be concentrated on (1991: 25). It implies that the syllabus has to include the learning objectives to accomplish, learning materials to use, how these materials are graded and organized, and how they are developed in the class room. If a syllabus has already been established, learning activity as the third component of the design has also be considered. It may take the form of activities that lead the learners to develop their grammatical competence; or that expose the learners how to use the language in its real context; or the one that emphasizes both of them. In relation to these activities, learner’s roles and teacher’s roles as the other parts of the design must also be thought seriously. The learner’s roles vary according to the learning activity developed in the classroom. She/he may play as a partner, facilitator, motivator, problem-solver, negotiator, or improviser (Rodgers, 1998: 7). On the other hand, the teacher plays not only the roles belonging to the learner, but also these roles, such as a context setter, a need analyst, an error corrector, an action monitor, counselor, and drill leader. The last component of the design is the role of learning materials. They may be textbooks, newspapers, magazines, films, cassettes, CD, TV programs as long as the learners can make use of them. What kind of materials is
used in learning activity should enrich the learner with the experiences how to use the language. The third level of the methodological aspect is the procedure that refers to any real teaching activity done by the teacher in the classroom. It may covers three phases of teaching activity: pre-teaching activity intended to arouse the learner’s interest to study; whilst teaching activity intended to lead the learner to master the topic being discussed; and post teaching activity intended to evaluate what the learner has already acquired. In addition to the methodological aspects, there is other thing that should be paid attention to in conducting English teaching that is language environment. It is defined as a setting or situation where the learner has a big possibility to use English as a means of communication. It involves not only formal language environment that occurs mostly in the classroom, but also informal language environment that occurs mostly outside the classroom (Huda, 1999: 18). Both language environments should be provided to help the learner experience the language she or he learns, so that he or she will acquire English communicatively. The attention to the methodological aspect and the provision of both language environments are the requirements to conduct a good English program. In general all schools are able to realize a good English program that fulfilled those three aspects of a method as discussed above. If viewed from the language environment, not all schools are able to set up an informal language environment, as there are many obstacles and weaknesses that can not be avoided. The schools can not handle and control learner’s life outside the classroom where she or he is involved or takes a part in real communicative events. Based on the fact above, it is assumed that Islamic boarding schools with their educational system are able to apply Communicative Language Teaching in developing students’ English proficiency supported by their informal language environment. One of successful institutions is Pondok Modern Gontor (PMG). It provides both formal and informal language environments integratedly. It has been developing a language teaching characterized by the learner’s need to use English as a means of everyday communication. In this institution, the learners have more chance to use English in everyday communication activities. They can express their idea, thought, and feeling through written media, such as learners’ magazines and bulletin; or through face to face communication with his friends and teachers. As they are accustomed to use English in everyday communication, they will be able to acquire English communicatively. How teachers see English and how it should be learned has already become institution’s belief for a long time, and been implemented in designing English learning program and providing conducive language environment for the learners to learn English communicatively. Such belief and efforts done by the institution form the unique implementation of Communicative Language Teaching in developing students’ English proficiency
How this institution implements Communicative Language Teaching in developing students’ English proficiency makes the writer interested in conducting a research. It, of course, not only includes the aspects of method, such as the approach, design, and procedure; but also the language environment developed. So, the crucial problem to discuss, deals with the teaching of English at PMG. As it covers too many things, the research is focused only on the implementation of Communicative Language Teaching in developing students’ English proficiency. So, it is very necessary to know previously the approach, design, procedure, and language environment provided by PMG. Those four interrelated aspects function and play each role to form a unique Communicative Language Teaching. Therefore, the main problem of the research can be formulated as follows: How is the implementation of Communicative Language Teaching in developing the third year students English proficiency at PMG? In connection to this problem, the research questions that appear are: (1) How do the English teachers view English in the implementation of Communicative Language Teaching in developing the third year students’ English proficiency at PMG? (2) How do the English teachers view English teaching that enables the third year students to develop their communicative competence at PMG? (3) How do the English teachers define the objectives of English teaching that enable the third year students to use English as a means of communication at PMG? (4) How is the English syllabus that is oriented towards the development of the third year students’ communicative competence developed at PMG? (5) How do the English teachers design learning activities that develop the third year students’ communicative competence at PMG? (6) How do the third year students play their roles in English teaching that is oriented towards the development of their communicative competence at PMG? (7) How do the English teachers play their roles in English teaching that is oriented towards the development of the third year students’ communicative competence at PMG? (8) How do the learning materials play their roles in English teaching that is oriented towards the development of the third year students’ communicative competence at PMG? (9) How do the English teachers develop the teaching procedures that are oriented towards the development of the third year students’ communicative competence at PMG? (10) How does PMG create the language environment that enables the third year students to use English as a means of communication? THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK This section focuses the discussion only on Communicative Language Teaching and language environment. Communicative Language Teaching Approach The approach to language teaching can be defined as the theory of language and the theory of language learning underlying the teaching of a language. The approach not only plays very important role in determining the objective to
accomplish, but also other aspects of teaching such as learning materials, learning activities; and the procedures developed by the teacher in the classroom. Explaining what the approach is, Brown says that it is theoretical positions and beliefs about the nature of language, the nature of language learning, and the applicability of both to pedagogical settings (1994: 159). This idea conforms to those that have been already introduced by Richards and Rodgers saying that an approach refers to theories about the nature of language and language learning that serve as the source of practices and principles in language teaching (1986: 16). Theory of Language Related to the theory of language, there are three theories that are commonly known, structural, functional, and interactional. The first sees the language as a system consisting of interrelated components, such as phoneme, morpheme, syntax, and semantics. The language teaching employing this theory is directed to develop the learner’s mastery of language components and skills separately (Harsh, 1988: 11). The second sees the language as a means to express communicative functions of language according to the context, where communication takes place (Halliday, 1978: 18). This theory does not direct the language teaching to develop the learner’s mastery of language components, but the learner’s ability to use the language to express communicative functions or what the learner can do with the language. The third sees the language as a means to build and maintain the social relation. The language teaching adopting this theory is directed to develop the learner’s ability to interact with the others through the language. Of the three theories of language, functional and interactional view color Communicative Language Teaching dominantly. Theory of Language Learning The second element of an approach is the theory of language learning which colors learning activities developed by the teacher in the classroom. How the learner should be treated and how the teacher should do are the core implementation of the theory in the classroom. In general, the adopted theories of language learning can be classified into threefold: Behaviorism, Cognitivism, and Humanism. The essence of Behaviorism is that all language learning occurs through a habit formation created by the relation of stimulus, responses, and reinforcement. According to behaviorists, all learning, whether verbal or non-verbal, takes place through the same underlying process, habit formation. Learners receive linguistic input from speakers in their environment, and positive reinforcement for their correct repetitions and imitations. As a result, habits are formed (Lightbown and Spada, 1993: 23). Such a model of learning indicates that the environment is the most important factor affecting the learner to acquire a foreign language. Unlike Behaviorism that puts the learner as a passive receptor of the input from surrounding environments, Cognitivism sees the learner with his cognitive ability as an active and creative person who processes all of the input he gets from
his environment. Utilizing his background knowledge, the learner is able to understand, apply, synthesize, analyze, or do other cognitive abilities to process the input to obtain new information, knowledge, or skills. Such ideas are not only applicable to learn the science and technology, but also to acquire a mother tongue, and even to learn a foreign language. In a cognitive view, language learning is treated as skills learning, analogous to learning how to ride bicycle or play a violin, although probably more complex (Ellis, 1994: 295). Therefore, language learning engages the same cognitive systems, like perception, memory, problem solving, information processing, as learning other types of knowledge and skills. Such a model of learning puts the cognitive ability as the most dominant factor in mastering a foreign language. Different from the two previous theories, Humanism sees individual not only from his cognitive aspect, but also from his affective aspect in relation to his surrounding social life (Clark, 1987: 5). Besides, individual should be treated as a whole person who needs warm, love, respect, and honor from others to develop his potentials optimally (Carlson and Buskit, 1997: 473). So, it can be pointed out that the attention to cognitive, affective, and social aspects as an integral part is the central ideas of Humanism. Specifically in language teaching, humanistic teachers see language learning as something which must engage the whole person, not as something purely intellectual; they recognize that their students are people like themselves, with emotional and spiritual needs as well as intellectual ones, people who can contribute to their own learning, who are not the passive recipients of someone else’s teaching (Brumfit, 1985: 79). In Communicative Language Teaching, the three theories are synthesized to develop learning activities that enable learners to use a target language communicatively. Design The theories of language and language learning should be the inspiration for determining the design of a method. According to Richards and Rogers, design is the level of method analysis in which the objectives are condidered; language content is selected and organized within the syllabus; the types of learning tasks and teaching activities are proposed; and the roles of learners, teachers, and instructional materials are considered (1986:20). Learning Objective Teaching English using thius method is aimed at developing communicative competence, that is the ability to use English in real communicative interaction. Huda says that proponents of Communicative Language Teaching claim that the learning objective is the development of communicative competence, that is the ability to use English for communication in real life situations as opposed to classroom situations (1999: 93). The learner is not required to produce grammatically correct sentences, but she/he is expected to have the ability to use the sentences to express his communicative functions he wants to convey. In Hyme’s view, a person
who acquires communicative competence acquires both knowledge and ability for language use with respect to whether or not something is formally possible, feasible, appropriate to the context, and is fact done (1979: 14). Based on the explanation, it can be understood that communicative competence is made up of the knowledge of language and the ability to use the language in real situations. Syllabus Selection and gradation of learning materials are usually recorded on a document named as a syllabus or curriculum. Some experts say that the syllabus and curriculum refer to the same concept; and some say that both are different terms. The syllabus is the description of a subject matter to be given to the learners, which is a part of the curriculum; and the curriculum is the whole school program. Explaining the difference between syllabus and curriculum, Rogers says that syllabus, which prescribes the content to be covered by a given course, forms only small part of the total school program. Curriculum is a far broader concept. Curriculum is all those activities in which children engage under the auspices of the school (1989: 26). This idea puts the syllabus as a an integral part of the curriculum containing all activities and learning experiences, including the subject matter, designed for the leraners at certain level. Therefore, a syllabus should contain a more detailed and operational statement of teaching and learning elements which translates the philosophy of the curriculum into a series of planned steps leading towards more narrowly defined objectives at each level (Dubin and Olshtain, 1986: 35). In Communicative Language Teaching, the syllabus should be characterized by the adopted theories of language and language learning. According to Yalden (1986: 25), a communicative syllabus should be based on how is a language used, not on how it is taught. Such syllabus, of course, provides for the learners a classroom experience, which more closely approximates an environment of real language use. So, in the communicative English syllabus, the learners are not taught the English’s rules, but since the early beginning they are encouraged to use the target language communicatively. Related to this idea, Milne (1981: 20) asserts that the syllabus of the course should be arranged on a functional or communicative basis and the learners should be encouraged to learn to communicate effectively in English at a simple level from the beginning. Learning Activities Learning activities can be defined as all activities involving the learners to learn, such as interview, task, and problem solving; while communicative activities are all activities leading the learners to experience how to use English in its real context (Stern, 1992: 177). Communicative activities developed by the teachers in the classroom can be classified in terms of what ability is developed and the person who is mostly involved. Seen from the viewpoint of what ability is developed, there are two kinds of activities, namely pre-communicative and communicative activities. The first consists of structural and quasi activities in which the aspects of the
language and the functions of the language are presented separately. The second contains functional and social interaction activities in which the learners are given chances to apply both structural and pre-communicative ability in real context (Littlewood, 1981: 85-86). Seen from the viewpoint of the person, who is mostly involved, there are also two kinds of activities, namely student-centered and teachercentered activities. The former refers to activities in which the learners play very dominant role; while the later refers to activities in which the teacher plays the dominant role (Ward, 1988: 203). Learner’s role In Rodgers’ view (1996: 158), learner’s role refers to actions performed by the learners by which learning can run well. Specifically, role can be defined as all actions done by the learners in the context of learning activities, which can be in the form of memorizing previous knowledge, accepting new lesson, encouraging others to learn, or facilitating the others to learn (Harris and Bell, 1996: 129-131). Based on this definition, there are roles that can be played by the learner, such as receptor, improviser, negotiator, generator, or facilitator. As an improviser, the learner must be able to make use all of learning activities as the opportunities to use English as optimally as possible. As negotiator, the learner is required to have the ability to process all of forms found in communicative interaction to understand its language functions. Related to this communicative interaction, the learner may function as facilitator to help the others solve their problem, and even to make the learning easily done. . Teacher’s Role In communicative classes a teacher is demanded to play some roles related to the syllabus, learning materials, learning activities, and evaluation. The roles that the teacher may play are syllabus’ translator, communicative activities organizer, cocommunicator, facilitator, material developer, and assessor (Harris and Bell, 1996: 129-131). As a syllabus translator, the teacher is required to translate what has been pointed out by the syllabus into learning materials and activities that enable learners to develop their communicative competence. In relation to the learning activities, the teacher has to play as an organizer whose main duty is to manage the class to provide a conducive situation for learning; and as a facilitator who provides learning materials, tasks, and exercises written by himself or picked up from other resources. In addition to these roles, the teacher may be as a model, friend, and monitor. As a friend, the teacher has to chat or play with the learners to make them feel comfortable and not under pressure. As a model, he has to give a good example of how to use English in everyday communication, so that they are encouraged to imitate and use their English in their communication. As a monitor, he has to look for and record their ill linguistic forms used as the basis for an evaluation (Prodromou, 1994: 24).
Learning Material’s Role Learning material can be defined as anything used by the teacher and learner to facilitate learning and provide learning experiences for the learners. The teacher may use newspapers, magazines, videos, or even present a native speaker in the classroom as a paertner in group discussion or other activities (Tomlinson, 1998: 2). Such definition opens up the teacher’s mind in viewing learning material, and shows its main role to facilitate learning. Nunan (1991: 214) says that learning materials have to provide information of how a language works; and to focus on exercises helping learner use their English in its real context in the classroom or outside. It can be said that learning material can also be a starting point to develop learning activities. Procedure The last level of conceptualization and organization within a method is known as procedure. This encompasses the actual moment-to-moment techniques, practices, and behaviors that operate in teaching a language according to a particular method. It is the level at which a method realizes its approach and design in classroom activities (Richards and Rodgers, 1986: 26). It can be defined as an operational stage, which covers a set of activities done by the teacher and learners to accomplish learning’s objectives. It is the stage in which the approach and design are actualized in term of operational activities inside or outside the classroom. This operational stage usually consists of six steps: (1) introduction, aimed at associating the learner’s background knowledge with a new lesson; (2) presentation, aimed at a new lesson being discussed; (3) checking, aimed at ensuring the learners’ understanding; (4) practice, aimed at giving the learners opportunity to use the language under the teacher’s auspices; (5) application, aimed at giving the learners opportunity to use the language in its real context; and (6) evaluation, aimed at knowing how far the learners understand a new lesson has been discussed (Gibbons, 1994: 151-154). Language Environment Language environment is not related to internal factors of a language, but to external ones, like economy, social status, and politics. It can be defined as a setting where language teaching takes place (Ellis, 1994: 214). Setting itself refers to all roles a language plays in relation to the roles of other languages within a community. In addition to this idea, Pearse says that setting is all the variables that make up the context of any sample of language: the mode (the spoken/written), places, users, and so on (1988:210). Simply, language environment refers to the status of a language as first, second, or foreign one because of non-linguistic factors. Types of Language Environment Although some linguists classify language environment into formal and informal, this is not based on how language teaching is conducted. It is rather on how
an individual masters a language (.Lightbown dan Spada, 1993: 19). Formal language environment is known as the setting where the teaching of a language is directed to the mastery of formal linguistics, like structure, and vocabulary. As opposed to this, informal one is defined as the setting where the teaching of a language is directed to give the learner more chances to use the target language naturally rather than to learn structures. Ellis names the formal language environment as educational setting; while the informal environment as a natural setting characterized by unconscious learning through everyday communicative interaction (1994: 214).
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY The research with the aim of exploring how the teachers implement Communicative Language Teaching in developing the third year students’ English proficiency at Pondok Modern Gontor, is qualitative one applying the ethnographic approach introduced by Spradley. The unit of analysis of the research is class three. It consists of six classes from which the informants are taken The research uses the researcher himself to collect the data through interview and participant observation conducted from February to June 2002. The informants, whom the researcher obtains the data from, are six classroom teachers and their students. In addition to this, the written and non-written data resources are also occupied as supplementary ones. The written data resources are learner’s work, autobiography, bulletins, a list of vocabulary, text-books, and annual magazines; while non-written data resources are the paintings, pictures, and photographs. The analysis of data is conducted during the data collection in the field. The activity involves domain, taxonomic, componential, and theme analysis. The domain analysis is intended to know the cover terms, included terms, and semantic relationship. The taxonomic analysis is an attempt to know the relationship among all the included terms in a domain. The componential analysis is the systematic search for the attributes (components of meaning) associated with cultural categories, including the entire process of searching for contrasts, sorting them out, grouping some together as dimensions of contrast, and entering all this information onto a paradigm. The theme analysis is a search for any principles recurrent in a number of domains, tacit or explicit, and serving as a relationship among subsystems of cultural meaning. Then, the analyzed data are interpreted qualitatively by comparing them critically to the theories and other relevant information to obtain more meaningful research findings. One of the important things in a qualitative research is verifying the trustworthiness of data. There are four criteria underlying the trustworthiness: credibility, transferability, depend-ability, and confirmability. The credibility is obtained through extending the participation, in-depth participation, and triangulation. The transferability is obtained through thick description of the context where the research is conducted. The dependability and confirmability are obtained through auditing (Moleong, 1989: 170-188).
RESEARCH FINDINGS The research findings that show how the teachers implement Communicative Language Teaching in developing the third year students’ English proficiency at PMG are analytically elaborated from the point of view of the approach, design, procedure, and language environment. Approach The approach to language teaching includes two basic theories, the theory of language and language learning. Both of them characterize the other method components. Theory of Language In relation to the theory of language, the teachers believe that English is a means of communication used world widely in an academic field and non-academic one. English is seen from its function to express the idea, thought, and feeling. This is of course in line with the functional theory of language, which sees the language, as a means to express its communicative functions affected mostly by the context (Halliday, 1978: 18). Pointing out the substance of this theory, Purwo (1988:232) says that language should refer to what someone can do with it (function) or to the meaning that can be expressed through the language (notion). Such theory does not lead the teaching to develop learners’ mastery of English components and skills in isolation, but to the development of learners’ ability to use English in communication. This belief is also a part of the interactional theory of language. Language is seen as a means to build and maintain social relation (Richards and Rogers, 1986: 17), so that the teaching is directed to the development of learners’ ability to build their social relation with others. Through the application of the functional and interactional theory of language, the learners are not only able to use English to express the communicative functions, like asking for advice, and giving directions in oral communication, but also in written one. This enables the learners to build a social relation with others. Besides a means of communication, the teachers sees English as a language of science and technology used to spread new discoveries and other information. This view directs English teaching to the development of reading and writing ability enabling the learners to absorb and transfer science and technology. Such view, of course, conforms to the function of English in Indonesia as a foreign language (Depdikbud, 1994: 1). Theory of Language Learning In carrying out English teaching, the teachers see that learners’ cognitive, affective, and social aspect should be taken into account. It is also believed that English teaching needs a conducive language environment, a discipline to force the
learners to use English in their communication, a good textbook, and other learning facilities. The attention to the learner’s cognitive aspect is known from some teachers’ view saying that learner’s potential and cognitive level play an important role in English learning. Their view reflects that learners have an inherent capacity to develop all input from the environment, and this is the core of the theory of language learning named as Cognitivism. This theory sees the learner as active and creative an individual who is able to understand, apply, analyze, synthesize, or do other cognitive capacity to process all input to obtain new information. This view is not only applicable to the learning of science and technology, but also the learning of a language (Ellis, 1994: 295). The learning, which is inspired by this theory, includes explaining the meaning of difficult vocabularies and grammar in the classroom, and introducing new vocabularies and utterances in the dormitory. In such learning, the learners are given examples of the use of new vocabularies and grammar, and required to generate another examples. They are, of course, encouraged to produce the language creatively in their communication. This type of learning can be included into the creative construction hypothesis (Lightbown and Spada, 1993: 26) or rulegoverned theory (Nunan, 1991: 233) as the application of cognitivism principles. It is obvious that the learners with their cognitive capacity are creative individuals who process all input when they interact with others. This process shows that the teachers want the learner not only to learn the language formally, but also informally from the environment as they acquire their first language (Krashen and Terrell, 1988: 26). The attention to the learners’ affective aspect is known from some teachers’ views saying that it is very crucial to arouse the learners’ interest, to know their characteristics, and to treat them as friends in learning English. Such views conform to the Humanism theory, which sees the learner as a real human armed with physical, cognitive, and affective elements (Brumfit, 1985: 79). The application of this theory is found in the way the teachers play their role as a model using English in everyday’s communication. In addition to this, the teachers always encourage the learners to keep their positive attitude, interest, and motivation through a good treatment. Specifically, the theory is reflected in the attempt to create a comfortable learning situation by decorating the class with the pictures, posters, and slogans saying Who never tries, never wins the prize; No Gains without Pains; and No Sweat without Sweet ; and to create a good personal relation. In such situation, the learners are able to find out the much opportunity to use English freely. Littlewood says that the development of communicative competence can only take place if the learner has moti-vation and opportunity to express his own identity and to relate with the people around him. It, therefore, requires a learning atmosphere, which gives him a sense of security and a value as individual (1981: 93) Besides applying some principles of Cognitivism and Humanism theory of language learning, the teachers also use some principles of other learning theory. They are obtained from some views revealing that in learning English there should be a conducive language environment, discipline to use English, textbook, and
teacher who facilitates the learning. Such ideas reflect the importance of environmental and habitual factors, which conform to the theory of Behaviorism. The most important principle of this theory is all learning, verbal or nonverbal, is resulted from the same process named building the habits. The habits are formed if the learners, responses upon the stimuli are reinforced (Ligthbown and Spada, 1993: 23). The process can be described as Stimulus Responses Reinforcement (S-R-R). The learning activities at PMG underlain by this theory are drilling, discovery learning, trial and error, and conditioning. Drilling, like substitution and transformation, is found in introducing new vocabularies and utterances to the learners every morning in the dormitory and in the classroom with less frequency. Trial and error activity is mostly found in the classroom when the teachers introduce new vocabularies. The learners are required to understand the meaning by associating the new vocabulary with other words in the context where it appears. Discovery learning is applied when the teachers want to explain a grammatical rule by asking the learners to analyze samples of sentences to get the point. Conditioning is found in the form of English-use discipline enforcement, which demands the learners to use English in their communication during the first two weeks every month, and the provision of language environment, which enables the learners to master English as they acquire their first language. Based on the above discussion, it can be understood that three theories of language learning are adopted in conducting the teaching of English at PMG. They involve Cognitivism, Humanism, and Behaviorism synthesized to obtain a fruitful English teaching. Design Design is closely related to the determination of the objective, syllabus, learning activities, learner’s role, teacher’s role, and the role of learning materials . The Objective Hierarchically, the objectives that should be accomplished by the learners in learning English at PMG are the ability to: use English in oral and written communication; read English texts; widen the knowledge; be ready to take a part in building the society; and continue the study in higher level. These objectives are sequenced in accordance with the learner’s needs. The ability to use English communicatively lies in the initial position as English is one of two official languages used in everyday oral and written communication at PMG. The learners have to reach this competence since it is needed in conducting interaction with others. If not, they will be thrown off the group. Using English, as a means of communication is the realization of functional and interactional theory of language held by the teachers at PMG. Such ability, being communicative competent in the target language, is regarded as the main objective of Communicative Language Teaching (Huda, 1999: 93). According to Hadley, this competence refers to the ability to adapt the language forms with the total
informational input, both linguistic and paralinguistic (1993: 4). Supporting this view, Hymes insists the competence require both knowledge and the ability for language use with respect to the formality, feasibility, appropriateness, and actuality (1979: 14). The other objectives are considered as secondary ones for they are not immediately needed. Although secondary, they play very important role in developing and transferring the science, technology, and art. In addition, they do not decline from the functions of English as a foreign language in Indonesia (Depdikbud, 1994:1). Syllabus In PMG, Syllabus is seen a guidance for the teachers to conduct learning activity both in and out of the classroom. It consists of detailed and operational statements of how learning should be carried out. This view is not different from Dubin and Olshtain’s saying “a syllabus is a more detailed and operational statement of teaching and learning elements which translates the philosophy of the curriculum into a series of planned steps leading towards more narrowly defined objectives at each level” (1983: 35). Syllabus is also seen as units of lessons that should be learned by the learners in certain periods of time. It is in agreement with Rogers’ view, saying that syllabus refers to subjects given in a learning program (1989: 26). Implicitly, the definition governs the teachers or institution to select and grade learning materials. Of course, the selection and gradation of the materials should be based on their complexity or based on learners’ need. Realizing this importance, PMG sets up a syllabus developing team, which is named by Nunan as syllabus designer (1988: 6). With the help of senior and competent teachers, the team has the main duty to develop an English syllabus. The development of English syllabus at PMG is aimed at adapting learning materials with the objectives; relating English subject with other subjects; anticipating the growing up of the science and technology; and keeping the good and relevant materials in existence. The syllabus covers language components, like grammar and vocabulary; and language skills, like listening, speaking, reading, and writing presented in integrated learning activity or in isolation. To avoid repeating the contents and the learners’ boredom, PMG selects and grades them in terms of their simplicity or complexity. The easier the contents the earlier they appear; or the more complex the contents, the later they appear. Besides this principle, PMG also takes into account the learner’s need. The more necessary the contents are in communication the earlier they appear. This indicates what the learners get, both in and out of the classroom, can be used in everyday communication. Such type of syllabus does not contradict to Yalden’s view pointing out the contents should be selected and graded in terms of how the language is used, not how it is taught (1986: 25; 1983: 109). So, from the early beginning, the learners have already been exposed to use English communicatively. It is really possible since all learners have to stay in the dormitory that enables them to get the opportunity to use English in its real context
of communication. This possibility to use English in communication reflects the materials the learners get are meaningful (Milne, 1981: 20). Seen from this point of view, the English syllabus used by PMG has already fulfilled four characteristics of the communicative syllabus as pointed out by Stern (1992: 180). The syllabus should develop more effective learning; confront the learners to the totality of language use to maintain communicative inter-action; give more chance for the learners to use the target language in its real context; and enable the learners to interact with the culture of the target language. Based on the above explanation, the communicative syllabus used by PMG can be categorized as Structural-Functional which tries to bridge between the grammatical-oriented learning and language use-oriented learning (Yalden, 1983: 110). It is relatively easier to implement since the linguistic contents and language use contents may be presented in isolation; and the emphasis may also be shifted differently following the learners, level. Therefore, it can also be classified as variable-focus syllabus which is characterized by the principle of the higher the level of the learners the more language use contents will be or the lower the level of the learners the more the linguistic contents will be. What have been selected and graded as learning materials are taken from various resources, like textbooks, English newspaper, English magazine, articles from Internet, CD-Roms, cassettes, or videos. Most of them are authentic ones, which provide the learner the real context in using English (Harmer, 1991: 187). Moreover, the materials used in PMG have also fulfilled the principles of communicative learning: communication principle; task principle; and meaningfulness principle (Richards and Rogers, 1986:72). Learning Activities Helping the learners accomplish the objectives, the teachers develop studentoriented learning activities, which are intended to develop the learners’ mastery on language use and language usage. Classroom learning activities cover lecture, translation, interview, written exercises, role play, group discussion, and listening to the native speaker. In addition to the classroom activities, PMG also provides various activities, which are done outside the class. They are English clubs, weekly discussion, reading newspaper and magazines, browsing Internet, vocabulary building, listening to English news and song, making composition, morning conversation, drama, speech contest, and laboratory works. These activities reflect the characteristics of communicative learning, such as concentration on use and appropriacy; an attention to communication tasks; an emphasis on student initiative and interaction; sensitivity to learners’ differences; and an awareness of variation (Maley, 1986: 88-9). Seen from the objectives to accomplish, the activities can be grouped into precommunicative activities, which consist of structural and quasi-communicative activities; communicative activities, which cover functional and social interaction activities (Littlewood, 1981:85-6). Pre-communicative activities are applied in
structured interview, lecture, making summaries, and building vocabulary activities, in which the learners are directed to the mastery of linguistic competence. Whereas, communicative activities are implemented in the form of group discussion, free interview, speech contest, and role-play activities, in which the learners are directed to the development of communicative competence. Viewed from the doer, the activities can be differentiated into learners-centered and teacher-centered activities (Ward, 1988: 203). The former, in which the learners dominate the activities, is found in role-play and discussion, free interview, and so on. The later, in which the teacher becomes the dominant, is found in lecture, and structured interview. Learner’s Role Currently, language learning concentrates on providing the learners with the opportunity to get the experience how to use the target language in its real context. Such orientation affects the role of learners as well as the teachers. In PMG, the learners play as motivator, partner, facilitator, and monitor. The learners can play as a motivator and partner since the learning situation at PMG is a very conducive atmosphere to enable them active and get involved in learning and communication (Gebhard, 1988: 210). The learners’ active involvement, both consciously and unconsciously, likely helps them to solve other’s problem, question, and give others advice, is categorized as extrinsic motivation. It, consequently encourages the others to learn and be more confident (Rogers, 1996: 87). Related to the communicative interaction in the classroom, the learners play as facilitator, who does much for the others to learn easily and better (Harris and Bell, 1994: 131). This situation does not make the learners under pressure, but help them feel comfortable and able to communicate naturally. The role as a monitor is a role, which has a very significant contribution toward the learners’ communicative competence. The learners perform it voluntarily as their awareness to help the others; or/and compulsorily as the punishment for breaking the discipline. Teacher’s Roles The roles, which are usually done by the teachers in PMG, are as a motivator, facilitator, partner, monitor, model and evaluator. These are as the consequence of the implementation of communicative classroom (Bolitho, 1990: 27). Except as a model and evaluator, the other roles are the same as the learners’ roles. The role as a model refers to the teachers’ ability to use English in everyday communication. It is the most effective way for the teachers to help the learners use the target language. The teacher plays the role on purpose to enforce the discipline and to develop learners’ competence to use English in its real context (Halliwell, 1992:15).
Different from the previous roles, the role as an evaluator is mainly performed by the teachers in the classroom. Its main focus is to give feedback and critics on the error made the learners in using English, so that they feel easy to learn English. Learning Material’s Role Learning materials used by the teachers to conduct teaching and learning activity at PMG are taken from various resources including textbooks, newspaper, magazine, videos, cassette, bulletin, and others. Explaining about it, Tomlinson says learning material is anything, which is used by teachers or learners to facilitate the learning of a language (1998: 2). In general, learning materials function to facilitate the learning, and in particular, they make the teachers’ explanation much clearer; they help the learners review the lesson at home; and they arouse and keep the learners’ interest to study. Facilitating the learning of a language, which is the role of any materials, means the learning becomes well directed, effective and efficient. Helping the learners to review the lesson in their room is achieved through textbooks, and cassette, which are designed to help the learner learn independently. Arousing the learners’ interest is achieved through the physical performance of materials whether they are well designed or not; and the content which is designed in accordance with the level of learners. They become interested since they can make use of the background knowledge they have to process a new input (McDowell, 1996: 159). Procedure In PMG, the teaching procedure developed by the teachers covers three stages: pre-teaching, while-teaching, and post-teaching activity. Pre-teaching is intended to see the learners’ readiness to learn new lesson by attracting their attention; while-teaching is intended to present the new lesson through various learning activities; and post-teaching is intended to know how far the learners have acquired the new lesson by giving them an evaluation. Ellis names pre-teaching as warming up stage; and while teaching as presentation and learning stage; and postteaching as using stage (1994: 567). Language Environment Linguage environment is mostly defined by PMG’s teachers as an environment that enables the learners to use English as a means of communication. English is treated as one of the two official languages used in this institution. This idea indicates that language environment is not related to linguistic matters, but it is non linguistic ones (Dubin and Olhstain, 1986: 7-8). There are two kinds of language environment, formal and informal. This classification is based on the process how the learners acquire the target language. In a formal language environment, which usually takes place in the classroom, the learners learn the target English rules mostly or formal linguistic matters. In an informal language environment, which usually takes place outside the classroom, the
learner learns how to use English as a means of everyday communication (Huda, 1999: 18). Realizing the importance of language environment, PMG integrates both environments to create a very conducive atmosphere for the learners to acquire English as a means of everyday communication during their stay in the campus. This integration is in line with Nunan’s view saying that language learning done formally should be armed with one done informally (1991: 173). Utilizing Language Environment To utilize both language environments optimally, PMG carries out some activities, like setting up language improving boards and motivating the learners. Language Improving Boards PMG sets up three language improving boards whose main job is to develop the learners’ communicative competence They are language motivators recruited from fifth grade learners; Center for Language Improvement (CLI) whose members are chosen from senior learners; and Language Advisory Council (LAC) whose members are taken from competent teachers. Language motivators are responsible for the language development of the first to fourth grade learners who stay in one dormitory. CLI, who coordinates all language motivators, has a main job to develop the language of the learners in the campus. LAC, who plays as advisors for language motivators and CLI, handles very crucial activities and problems that appear from senior learners. Language Improving Boards’ Activities Their activities are differentiated into threefold: everyday, weekly, and monthly activities. Everyday activities include introducing English vocabularies and expressions, monitoring the learners’ use of English, discipline enforcement and carrying out language court. Everyday activities are intended to enrich the learners’ vocabularies mastery and pragmatic competence through the real exposure of English use in communication, so that they become accustomed to use English (Munby, 1978: 26). Weekly activities cover inter-dormitory language contest; speech contest, publishing bulletin, morning conversation exercise, correcting learners’ vocabularies writing, inviting senior teachers to motivate the learners; and discussion. They are intended not only to develop the learners’ communicative competence, but also to keep them motivated to learn English. Monthly activities include a training to use English dictionary, language contest, carrying out English vocabularies and expressions mastery test and publishing conversation guide. Besides to facilitate the learners to acquire English, the activities are intended to evaluate their English development. Language Use Discipline
Providing the learners with the opportunity to use English, PMG conditions them to communicate in English through language use discipline. Discipline is meant as enforcing certain rules to produce specified behaviors (Cotton, 2001: 2) or to achieve the goal together (Ur, 1996: 270-1). Since there are two official languages, PMG regulates the first two weeks in a month as English days, and the second two weeks as Arabic days. During the English days, all learners and teacher have to use English as a means of communication. Sanctions There are some efforts done by PMG to enforce the discipline. One of them is giving those who break it certain sanctions fairly. It conforms to Cotton’s idea saying that discipline can be enforced through giving sanctions (2001: 3). The sanctions are given on the basis of the rule or discipline the learners break. In general, they take the forms of assignments, like writing a composition, monitoring other learners’ English use; and punishment, like standing in front of the public to speak English loudly, or other educative physical punishment. On the one hand, the sanctions function to correct misbehaviors of those who break the rule; and on the other hand, they function as a warning for the others not to break the rule.
Motivating the Learner As inspired by Churchward (2001: 2), other efforts done by PMG to enforce the discipline are motivating the learners and monitoring the learners’ English use continuously. Motivating the learner is achieved directly or indirectly through various activities, like giving some advice, correcting the errors wisely, providing learning facilities, being a good model, and language contests. Monitoring learners’ English use is done on the basis of the principle “from and for the learner”. It means the learner himself is the monitor for the others’ English use because of the sanction the learner gets or his awareness to enforce the discipline. It is an effective way to monitor the learners’ English use as the language improving boards can not manage all learners numbered more or less 5000 persons.
CONCLUSION Based on the research findings, there are some conclusions can be drawn. Seen from the approach, there are two points considered important, the theory of language and language learning. The English teachers at PMG believe in two theories of language, namely Functional and Interactional theory. Both theories direct the teaching of English to develop the learner’s ability to use English as means of communication rather than the mastery of its rules. In relation to the theory of language learning, the teachers believe in three theories, namely Cognitivism Behaviorism, and Humanism. The application of
cognitivism principles is found in developing learning materials in the forms of exercises and tasks; humanism principles is found in decorating the classroom with the pictures and slogans that stimulate joyful, comfortable, and peaceful learning; while behaviorism principles is found in a language learning using drill techniques, and conditioning the learner to use English in everyday communication by making use of both formal and informal linguistic environments. Viewed from the design, there are also some important points, like the objective and syllabus. The main objective that the learners have to accomplish is the ability to use English in everyday communication. The other objectives that are regarded as secondary and instrumental ones cover the ability to read English texts, enlarge the knowledge, take a part in building the society, and continue his study in higher education. Helping the learner reach the objectives, PMG facilitates him with the development of English syllabus. The developed syllabus is named as a structural functional one since the language components and language used are still given in isolation. The materials are selected and graded on the basis of their complexcity and the learners’ needs in communication. The easier and the nearer the learner needs the erlier the materials appear; and the more difficult and further he needs the later the materials appear. The materials used by PMG to facilitate learning include textbooks, videos, magazine, newspaper, radio, and Internets. They are presented in communicative activities which can be student-centered or teacher-centered, like listening to teacher’s lecture, group discussion, making summary, role-play, and speech contest, etc. Like other method, the Communicative Language Teaching applied by English teachers in developing the learner’s English proficiency at PMG requires the learner’s, teacher’s and materials’ roles. The roles that are commonly played by the learner and teacher are as facilitator, partner, model, motivator, monitor, and evaluator; while the roles the materials play include facilitating the learning, helping the learner review the lesson, and attracting the learners to keep learning motivation. The last component of the design is teaching procedures. The teachers at PMG apply three steps of English teaching: pre-teaching, while-teaching, and postteaching. The first is intended to know the learners’ readiness to learn new lessons, the second is for presenting the new lesson, and the last is for checking the learners’ mastery of the new lesson. To implement successful English teaching, PMG makes use of both formal and informal language environments. Formal language environment, like in the classroom, is the environment where the learners learn English rules mostly or formal linguistic; while informal language environment, like in the room, mosque, kitchen, shopping centers, and sport court, is the environment in which the learner acquires English unconsciously as a means of communication. Such environment is optimally utilized by PMG through setting up language motivator, CLI, and LAC; various English contests; English use discipline enforcement; and motivating the learners.
IMPLICATION Based on the research findings, the theoretical and practical implications can be drawn. Theoretical Implication In implementing Communicative Language Teaching in developing the learner’s English proficiency, it is necessary to integrate both functional and interactional theories of language to produce meaningful learning. The two theories of language lead the learner to master communicative functions of English used to build and maintain his social relation with the others. This integration will be more meaningful if it is supported by the synthesis of three theories of language learning, as they are complementary to each other. They include behaviorism emphasizing learning conditioning; cognitivism highlighting the role of cognitive ability in learning process; and humanism necessitating the treatment of a learner as a whole person with his cognitive, affective, and social potential to develop. Related to the design, the research findings implicate that in developing the design of Communicative Language Teaching, the theories of language and language learning should be taken into account as the basis to determine the learning objective, develop the syllabus and learning activities, and determine the roles of learner, teacher, and materials. The research findings also implicate that communicative English learning can be done effectively and efficiently through three procedural activities. The first, preteaching activity, is intended to attract the learners’ attention and interest learn a new lesson. The second, while-teaching, is intended to present learning materials through various learning activities. The third, post-teaching activity, is used to check the learners’ progress after learning the lesson. Related the language environment, the research implicate that if the teaching of English is directed to the development of linguistic competence, the formal language environment is needed; but if the teaching of English is directed to the development of communicative competence, both formal and informal language environment are needed. Besides theoretical ones, the practical implication can also be elaborated as follows. To conduct Communicative Language Teaching well, the teacher should develop his professional competence related to the mastery of English and the communicative methodology. A good mastery of English leads him to develop learning materials easily and to be a model how to use English well; and the knowledge of communicative methodology governs him to design appropriate learning activities. The research findings show also the importance of providing a conducive learning atmosphere by creating informal language environment to support the formal one. It implicates that the schools have to provide informal-like language environment to expose the learners in real context of communication. The schools
have to give the learners more opportunity to express their ideas in English through English activities, contests, and English use discipline. The research limitations and possibility to apply Gontor model of Communicative Language Teaching in developing the learners’ English proficiency, necessitate series of further research. It is hoped the research can give a meaningful contribution to the implementation of Communicative Language Teaching, in developing the learners’ English proficiency. SUGGESTION Based on the research finding and implications, the following suggestions can be drawn up. The first, since the implementation of Communicative Language Teaching in developing the third year students’ English proficiency at PMG conducted by the teachers has some strength, it is suggested for the institution to keep using its own way and following the advancement in English learning and teaching. The second, if the formal education, like junior and senior high schools want to conduct Communicative Language Teaching in developing the students’ English proficiency, it would be better for them to adopt and adapt the way developed by PMG. The third, it is suggested for the teachers, who want to develop their professionalism, to attend seminar and workshop on communicative English learning. The forth, it is suggested for those who are interested in English learning and teaching to conduct further research on the way PMG apply Communicative Language Teaching in developing the third year students’ English proficiency.
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