The Use of Teaching Media to Enhance Students' Skill-UNNES 2013

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  • 2nd English Language Teaching, Literature, and Translation (ELTLT) International Conference UNNES, 28-29 September 2013

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    The Use of Teaching Media to Enhance Students Skill in Writing Functional Texts

    Yusuf Hidayat1) and Ahmad Yusri2) yusufhid@gmail.com

    Postgraduate Program Semarang State University

    Abstract

    Teaching writing functional texts usually tends to be conventionally applied. Most teachers tend to emphasize their teaching process traditionally without paying attention to the teaching media which can be used to help students success achieving the goal of learning. This paper is aimed at investigating the role of teaching media in enhancing students skill in writing functional texts. In this regard, classroom action research (CAR) was employed as the method in this study. This study is intended to answer the following research questions: (1) Is teaching media effective for enhancing students skill in writing functional texts? (2) To what extent does teaching media enhance students skill in writing functional texts? Through the process of teaching and learning activities, in cycle 1, the writers taught writing functional texts through conventional teaching, they then gave a test on functional text to the students. Additionally, to confirm the writers belief to the students real writing proficiency, they then gave them TOEFL written test model. Next, in cycle 2, the writers taught the students by using teaching media. Finally, the writers gave them a test of writing functional text. After undertaking several tests in cycle 1, students got average score 56.60, and in cycle 2, they got 65.08. Thus, there was an improvement of the average score. In addition, the students enthusiasm also improved.

    Key words: teaching media, students writing skill, functional texts

    INTRODUCTION

    Writing is an essential productive skill for students including university students particularly the freshmen level. In learning writing, freshmen level should master all levels of literacy: performative, functional, informational, and epistemic.

    At the first level, students are introduced and taught English as basic thoughts in the form of performance as the so-called performative level. In this beginning level, students are taught to master how to use English to accompany actions, participate in classroom and school interactions, and also recognize simple written English. This level is appropriate to be taught in Elementary school. The next level is functional. In this level, students are taught to master how to use English to get things done, how to use English for survival purposes, for instance, buying and selling, asking and giving permission, making and

    1 Yusuf Hidayat is a student of Postgraduate School, majoring English Education program, Semarang State University (UNNES). He comes from Ciamis, West Java.

    2 Ahmad Yusri is also a student of Postgraduate School, majoring English Education program, Semarang State University (UNNES). He comes from Lombok.

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    canceling appointments, reading and writing simple texts, reading popular science, and so on. This level is appropriate to be taught in junior high school. Meanwhile, informational level is appropriate to be taught in senior high school. It serves to train students to master how to use English to access accumulated knowledge, and how to use English in both informal and formal contexts. The last is epistemic. In this level, students are taught to master how to use English to transform knowledge, for instance, doing research, writing reports, lecturing and so on, and how to use English for aesthetic purposes. This level is appropriate to be taught in university level. Regarding the reasons, the students at first level in university, the so-called as freshmen, are trained to master epistemic level which is begun by learning writing for general English and then followed by learning how to write functional texts as the steps in writing course at university level.

    However, based on an observation carried out by Lidvall (2008), Clark (2004) as cited in Feng Lan et al., (2011, p. 148), most students are usually apprehensive toward writing activities, and have low interest in them. This phenomenon also happens to students of freshmen level in English education program, Galuh university. The students apprehensiveness and lack of self confident can be caused by the students learning style or the teachers teaching strategy or both of them.

    Regarding the teachers teaching strategy, students writing can be evolved by assisting with effective technique and strategies presented by the teachers to help the students difficulties. The techniques and strategies can be modelling, shared writing, guided writing, and interactive writing (Pinnell & Fountas, 1998; Routman, 1991; Brindley & Schneider, 2002) as cited in Feng Lan et al., (2011, p. 148). In harmony with the writers present study, the strategy used by the writers, the teachers as the researcher in this study, was by using the teaching media. The used teaching media included laptop, LCD projector, and some slides of power point. During the used teaching media, the writers showed the simple theory and the outline of how to write short functional texts in the form of short messages, greeting cards, and advertisements. Besides, the writers also invited the students to do workshop directly by typing their practices in the slides while showing in the LCD projector to show their incorrect words, phrases, sentences, clauses, grammar and writing mechanics. If there is incorrect part of writing as mentioned above, directly the other students were asked for criticizing it. Hence, the students got better results in writing than in cycle 1 when the teachers taught students by using conventional strategy through explaining, and pleasing students come forward to write their ideas.

    In this study, the writers set forth two research questions, those are: (1) Is teaching media effective for enhancing students skill in writing functional texts? (2) To what extent does teaching media enhance students skill in writing functional texts? These two research questions are going to be discussed further in forthcoming section.

    This study is also underpinned by the previous studies which also investigated the importance of teaching media toward the enhancement of students writing ability. The first study was carried out by Feng Lan et al. (2011). They investigated the effects of guided writing strategies on students writing attitudes based on media richness theory. Further, they took a total of 66 from sixth-grade elementary students with an average age of twelve and were invited to join the experiment for a period of twelve weeks. A repeated-measure one-way ANOVA analysis was utilized to examine the differences among the three strategies including a rich media guided writing strategy, lean media guided writing strategy, and pen-and-paper guided writing strategy. The findings of their study showed that providing a web-based learning environment with high richness media could guide

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    students to write and achieve more positive writing attitudes in terms of motivation, enjoyment and anxiety.

    The second study was undertaken by Joshi (2012). He investigated multimedia as a technique in teaching process in the classrooms to improve the students academic needs and helps them developing their English skills. In the study, Joshi (2012) used a qualitative method by giving a deeply description using multimedia in the classroom. The difference between a traditional classroom and multimedia classroom has been drawn in this study. The results of the study showed that there are some advantages in teaching English using multimedia as a technique in teaching process in the classroom. Through the media the teacher could give more opportunities to students to express their opinions and enjoy during the course. The highly presence and motivation also bring positive aspects to students so that they can improve their skills.

    Finally, the last investigation was conducted by Benson & Odera (2013). They investigated the selection and the use of media in teaching Kiswahili Language in secondary schools in Emuhaya, Kakamega County in Kenya. The study was based on a descriptive survey design. The area of study was Emuhaya district, in Kakamega county Kenya. The study population consisted of 22 head teachers, 1333 students and 43 Kiswahili teachers. Saturated sampling was used to select a sample of 20 head teachers, while purposive sampling was used to select a sample of 20 Kiswahili teachers. Simple random sampling was used to select a sample of 400 students. Data were collected by administering questionnaire, using document analysis guide and observation schedule, and data was analysed by using descriptive statistics that included graphs, percentages and frequencies. Various factors were found to influence the use of media in teaching Kiswahili language. The other findings showed that there was inadequate provision of instructional media in schools from which teachers could select for teaching Kiswahili. It also revealed a low frequency in using few available instructional media during Kiswahili teaching.

    REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE Defining Teaching Media

    To begin with, the writers would like to delineate briefly some terms used in this study. The concept of teaching media or in another term is called as teaching aids is essential to be highlighted earlier as the independent variable in this study. Dealing with teaching media, Patel and Jain (2008, p. 57) claimed, The material and aids which are used by teachers to make his teaching very effective. Additionally, Brinton (2001, p. 459) implicitly defined teaching media as technological innovations or paraphernalia in language teaching in the form of audiovisual aids which is used to facilitate teachers motivating their students getting more effective results of teaching and learning process.

    Based on two definitions aforementioned, the writers can assume that teaching media is the overall paraphernalia such visual, audio, or audio visual aids used by the teacher to facilitate his students during teaching and learning process to gain the effective results. In relation to this present study, the writers used computer assisted language learning, such portable computer, Microsoft Power Point program, and LCD projector as the teaching media. The Microsoft Power Point program itself consists of theory of how to write short functional texts completed with pictures, tables, and sounds to stimulate students spirit in order to be eager participating during the teaching and learning process.

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    The Benefits of Teaching Media in the Classroom Teaching media has enormous benefits both for teachers and students in the

    classroom. For further explanation of it, the writers quoted some benefits of teaching media as suggested by Brinton (2001, pp. 461-462); Young, C. A., & Bush, J. (2004, pp. 1-2) as follows: a. Teaching media are helpful motivators in language teaching process. b. Teaching media provide students with content, meaning, and guidance. c. Teaching media also reinforce students the direct relation between the language

    classroom and outside world. d. Teaching media provide us with a way of addressing the needs of both visual and

    auditory learners. e. By bringing media into classroom, teachers can expose their students to multiple input

    sources. f. Media can help students call up existing schemata and therefore maximize their use of

    prior background knowledge in the language learning process. g. Finally, media provide teachers with a means of presenting manner, and a time-efficient

    and compact manner, and stimulating students, sense, thereby helping them to process information more readily.

    Defining Writing After pointing out the term of teaching media, the writers would also like to highlight

    the term of writing, because this term is also imperative to be discussed as dependent variable in this study. Oshima & Hogue (2006, p. 15) defined, Writing is the process of an ongoing creative act roughly in four steps. In the first step is creating ideas, in second step is organizing ideas, in the third step is writing rough draft, and in the final step is polishing rough draft by editing and making revision. In addition, Harmer (2004, p. 5; 2007, pp. 325-326) implicitly defined writing as, A process where a writer produces the written form which involves four stages beginning from planning, drafting, editing, and final draft.

    Regarding two aforementioned definitions, the writers then infer that writing is a process of producing a written text through some stages begun with planning and ended by final draft. Then, to deepen our understanding of what writing is, the writers would like to present other writing definition expressed by White & Arndt (1996) as quoted by Galvis (2010, p. 2). They (1996) defined writing as, A recursive process involving sub-processes such as generating ideas, drafting, revising, editing and error correction. After analyzing all definitions of writing above, the writers conclude that writing can be defined as a process of representing language in visual form, which involves at least sub-processes beginning from generating ideas, drafting, revising, and finally produced as a final draft.

    Defining Short Functional Texts After discussing the term of writing, in the following part, the writers are going to

    discuss what Short functional texts are. Based on http://thefunctionaltext.blogspot.com/, short functional texts can be defined as texts refer to short texts whose communicative meaning. In the other hands, short functional texts can be meant as short texts which have particular meaning and purpose, and can be used in our daily life http://dewaadivanwinata.wordpress.com/short-functional-text/.

    Dealing with two definitions of short functional texts above, the writers can infer that short functional texts are kinds of short texts function to pass on a particular purpose from

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    the writers for the readers. Regarding to the short functional texts aforementioned, it can be short message, greeting card, notice, caution and warning, announcement, invitation card, label, and advertisement. For further explanation of each sample of short functional text, the writers delineates as follows: a. Short message

    Short message is a message written in a short tex...