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Developing Students Macro Skills

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 5419 words Published: 2nd May 2017

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Learning resources and materials are essential components in language instruction since they control learning and teaching processes. For that reason, an English teacher has to possess the ability to be creative and innovative in selecting, adapting and implementing learning resources and materials since the teacher’s ability in selecting, adapting and implementing learning resources and materials can and do enhance language teaching (Brinton, 2001 in Murcia, 2001). However, based on the writer’s experience and observation during Praktek Pengalaman Lapangan (PPL), the writer found out that the learning resources and materials used by teachers for their students were just in limited usage; for example, the teacher only used the materials from textbooks and printed materials.

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Talking about textbook, Allwright (1990) argues that materials should teach students to learn, and that there should be resource books for ideas and activities for instruction/learning. Moreover, they should give teachers rationales for what they do. From Allwright’s point of view, textbooks are too hard to be used directly as instructional material. O’Neill (1990), in contrast, argues that materials may be suitable for students’ needs, even if they are not designed specifically for them. In this case, textbooks make it possible for students to review and prepare their lessons. Also, textbooks are efficient in terms of time and money, and that they can and should allow for adaptation and improvisation. Furthermore, Willis (1996) points out that some text book activities are best done at learner’s own pace; for example, at out of class activities (for homework or to be checked at the next lesson).

Indeed, the teacher can get the students to prepare the topic at task related to their homework prior to the task. Therefore, it is widely known that in many cases teachers and students rely heavily on textbooks, and textbooks determine the components and methods of learning, that is, they control the content, methods, and procedures of learning (Kitao, 1997). In other words, students learn what is presented in the textbook, and the way the textbook presents the material tends to determine the way students learn it. Thus, the educational philosophy of a textbook will influence the class and their teaching-learning process. Consequently, in many cases, textbooks are the center of instruction and one of the most important influences on what goes on in the classroom. Therefore, there is no doubt if Harmer, 1991; Van Lier, 1996; Richards, 1998 say that the use of textbooks in many schools and many language program has the function as a curriculum.

In relation to teaching-learning resources and materials, the Department of Education in Indonesia has released a guideline for the implementing a decentralization of education at the school level (school-based management). Such management gives a broader authority to schools to run their schools and to work more actively with their communities, but at the same time it also requires more leadership, professionalism, initiatives, innovation, and creativity from principals and teachers (http://www.depdiknas.go.id). In this respect, education policy-makers in Indonesia believe that decentralization at the school level could lead to improvements, such as better school performance, greater school autonomy, better match between the services delivered and the students’ needs, greater parental and community involvement, and greater participation in decision-making (Depdiknas, 2003).

The consequences of decentralization at school level, however, are not hard to determine. Schools, particularly public schools, are now to be responsible for the provision and financing of more training for their teacher development as well as more facilities and resources (http://pakem.org/mbs.html). In line with that, teachers’ role in developing students’ English macro skills to fulfill the national educational goals as stated in guidelines and curriculum is very prominent. Therefore, teachers play an important role in catering learning resources and materials for students to enable their success in learning, especially in developing their macro skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing).

Concerning the main task of teachers in providing learning resources and materials mentioned above, there’s a need to explore to what extent those learning resources and materials are procured and effectively used to develop the students’ English macro skills.

1.2 Research Methodology

With the intention of getting data on the use of learning resources and materials in senior high school by the English teachers, a case study is selected as the research methodological design. The subjects selected are three teachers from different grades (X, XI, and XII) and their students.

In order to get a holistic accurate picture and the meaning of the use of learning resources and materials, interviews, observations, questionnaires and review of documents will be conducted in this research. The use of the data collection methods will ensure the validity of the data through triangulation (Denscombe, 1998; Cresswell, 2008).

1.3 Research Questions

The research questions in this study are based on the background of the study. Therefore, the statements of the problems in this study are as follows:

a. What learning resources and materials are used by the senior high school teachers to develop the students’ macro skills?

b. What learning activities are conducted in relation with the use of the learning resources and materials in the teaching-learning processes?

c. Where do the teachers draw their ideas from to plan their teaching?

1.4 Objectives of the Study

The study is aimed at finding out an empirical data on the kinds of learning resources and materials used by senior high school English teacher. It is also intended to explore further to what extent those learning resources and materials are effectively used to develop the students’ four macro skills.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The results of this study provide a thick description on what learning resources and materials as well as how they are used by English teachers at senior high school. The findings can contribute to teachers by providing current information about the use of learning resources and materials for teaching-learning English as a foreign language in senior high school. The findings can also be applied for other English teachers in general to select the teaching-learning resources and materials appropriately that suit students’ needs.



This chapter discusses some scholars’ ideas and opinions regarding the issues of learning resources and materials as well as the teaching and learning of English in high school context in Indonesia

2.1 Learning resources and materials

2.1.1 Issues of Learning resources and materials

Many educators enthusiastically embrace the use of learning resources and materials as a tool for language teaching and learning since their functions are to lend the authenticity to the communicative situation in teaching and learning English. Resources and materials are important in language instructions since they can assist teachers in their jobs bringing the outside world into the classroom and also making the language learning’s tasks more meaningful and exciting (Brinton in Murcia, 2001). Many scholars’ ideas emerged in relation to the view of learning resources and materials. This includes Allwright’s (1990) argument that materials should teach students to learn and they should be resource books for ideas and activities for instruction/learning. In addition, they should give teachers rationales for what they do. Allwright further emphasizes that materials control learning and teaching. This means that in employing materials for instruction/learning, it is the teachers who underlie the principle behind the use of materials.

Another idea comes from O’Neill (1990) who says that materials may be suitable for students’ needs even if they are not designed specifically for them; therefore, from O’Neill’s point of view, materials help teaching and learning. Further, Woods (1996) defines the resources as factors which increase the number of possibilities or options open to a teacher, while the definition of materials is stated by Brown (1995) as “any systematic description of the techniques and exercises to be used in classroom teaching”. Brown’s definition of materials draw broad sense since they can include lesson plans, and can accommodate books, packets of audiovisual aids, games, or other types of activities that occur in the classroom. Renyaan (2002) conclude the broad definition of learning resources and material as follows:

Teaching media refers to resources used by the teacher for whole class, group, and individual learning. These include texts, audio-visual resources, and authentic material.

Text refers to any written materials ranging from reference books, textbooks, activity sheets to flashcards.

Audio-visual resources include films, videos, overhead projectors, audiotapes, pictures, magazines, and newspapers and other texts.

Authentic material refers to the resources created by native speakers, both for classroom teaching and in the world outside the classroom.

ALL Guidelines (Scarino et al., 1988) categorizes resources into three categories. That is, resources which provide communicative data in the target language, resources and activities which promote communicative use of the target language, and resources for whole class, group, and individual learning. Resources which provide communicative data in the target language are sorted into teacher talk, other classroom talk, recording of talk (audio and video), specially prepared written information, other classroom written information, as well as realia and written texts from outside the classroom. While resources and activities which promote communicative use of the target language are classified into problem solving activities, information/opinion/affective gap activities, personalized activities, games, pictures, activities involving processing information from various sources, literature based activities, drama, writing activities, focus and shaping exercise, and integration of activities. Lastly, resources for whole class, group, and individual learning can be textbooks, films, videos, OHP and transparencies, problem solving activities, unfinished plays or stories, songs, films, poems, etc.

Smith (1986) argues that learning resources and materials are important parts of task for providing the content and shape the basis of learning activities. Richards (1998) also argues that materials are often seen as a way of influencing the quality of classroom interaction and language use. Reece and Walker as cited by Wheeler (2002) add that learning resources should support the teaching strategies which assist learning. In this respect, the use of learning resources may also provide opportunities for arousing and maintaining students’ interests. Therefore, the teachers can get the benefit for the improvement of their teaching by using those learning resources. Brinton in Murcia (2001) summarized the rationale for using the materials in language classroom as follows:

They can be an important motivator in the language teaching process

They can create a contextualized situation

They can lend authenticity to the classroom situation

They can address the needs of students, whether they are visual or auditory learners

They can expose the students to multiple input sources as well as enrich the students’ language experiences.

They can help students call up schemata and maximize background knowledge

They can provide teacher a time-efficient of presenting lesson, stimulate students’ senses and help students to process information readily.

The importance of learning resources and materials has been figured by several teaching- learning method. For example, in Silent Way (Larsen-Freeman 1986; Stevick 1998) the use of sound-color charts and rods are for helping the teachers to elicit language and provide the students with tools for creative language construction. CLT, (Larsen-Freeman 1986, Littlewood 1981) also puts an emphasis of the need of real life objects or texts (e.g. maps, pictures, application forms, railroad time tables) in order to lend the authenticity to the communicative situation.

2.1.2 Types of Learning resources and material

Some theories have been introduced by the scholars for a wide variety of learning resources and materials. Scarino, Vale, McKay & Clark (1988) describe the word resources as any published or unpublished material in any medium for the purpose of language teaching and learning. The definition of resources drawn by them refer to variety of text types which may or may not be intended for teaching learning (films, maps, pictures, etc) along with hardware (audiovisual equipments, computers). Further, Marsh (2000) sorts resources into (1) resources available for use in the classroom/school, which include (a) print materials such as textbooks; reference books; project kits; pamphlets and inexpensive materials; study prints and posters; simulation games; maps, globe, and models; and (b) multimedia such as personal computers, internet and world wide web (www), CD-ROM, television, films, radio, slide tapes and filmstrips, overhead projectors, and PowerPoint projectors and (2) resources available beyond the school which consists of (a) persons including people in specific occupations; people now retired; groups, associations and organizations; and (b) materials and artifacts, such as newspapers, documents and reports, photographs, recordings, and miscellaneous personal items.

Curtain and Pesola (1988) categorize the learning resources into five parts, they are: (1) Realia, e.g. balls, magnetic letters, flowers (2) Picture Visual, e.g. brochures, flash cards, pictures files (3) Classroom equipments, e.g. white board, chalk board (4) Audiovisual equipments, e.g. overhead projectors, video cassette recorder, slide projector (5) Text books or printed material. At last, Renyaan (2002) adds that it is evident that resources and materials which can be available in the classroom and beyond the classroom are essential parts of tasks as they provide the content as the basis for learning activities.

Another idea comes from Richards and Rodgers (1986) who divide materials into text-based materials, task-based materials and realia. Text-based materials are generally known as textbook in which include not only sound recordings and visual aids, but also student workbooks, unit tests, games, and other activities (Savignon; 1983 in Renyaan; 2002). Task-based materials consist of a variety of games, role-plays, simulations and task-based communication activities (jigsaw, information gap, problem solving, decision making, opinion exchange, debate, question-answer, etc) (Richards and Rodgers, 1986).Realia, according to Richards and Rodgers, 1986; Little et al., 1989; Brinton, 2001 incorporate in authentic materials. For example signs, magazines, advertisements, newspapers, novels, handbooks and manuals, recipes, and telephone directories, as well as graphic and visual sources including maps, pictures, symbols, graphs, and charts. Moreover, radio and television broadcasts, computer programmes, and video cameras are also classed as authentic materials.

2.1.3 Textbooks as resources in language instruction

Research into the use of textbooks as resources in classroom’s language instruction have been done by scholars, such as by Harmer, 1991; Van Lier, 1996; Richards, 1998 who say that textbooks have the function as the curriculum. Their points of views are similar to Ariew (1982) who believe that textbook is an important part of the curriculum, especially for foreign language learning context since foreign language textbooks may represent a set of goals and specific teaching methods. Thus, textbooks for foreign language learning can reflect the assumption and belief on how a foreign language should be learned and taught.

The development of teaching foreign language has brought new idea into approaches of textbooks design for the authentic data as well as realia which are integrated in the textbooks for the purpose of bringing the real world into classroom (Nunan, 1999). The important point of textbook is also suggested by Richards (1998) that textbooks can help in developing a teacher’s teaching skills, especially for inexperienced teachers since textbooks can provide hints on approaches to teaching grammar in the communicative class, strategies to correct errors, or how to teach writing.

Despite of those positive effects of the use of textbooks in language classroom, there are negative effects of using textbooks. Swan (1992 cited in Richards, 1998) says that ready-made textbooks can seem to release teachers of their responsibility. The teachers merely peg on the textbooks which they use without participating on what to teach and how to teach the material to the students. Moreover, since the teachers only teach what are on the textbooks, teachers tend to look at the textbooks uncritically (Richards, 1998). While Renyaan (2002) argues that textbooks are resources, which, despite their drawbacks, are an essential part of the curriculum from which the teachers can generate materials by adopting, developing, and adapting them.

2.1.4 Adopting Materials

As discussed before, the easiest way for the teachers to generate the materials is simply to adopt a textbook and teach systematically through the prepared materials (Brown; 1995), therefore the teachers get no difficulty since they do not have to spend too much thoughts and efforts in the lesson planning process. Though, it is the fact that not all textbooks can suit the teacher and students’ needs as Flynn (1982, p.39) says: “While every textbook has some valuable drills, exercises, explanations, and readings, none will be suitable to every teacher’s needs.”

For the reason above, Brown (1995) points out that adopting material includes the following steps, namely: deciding on the types of materials needed, locating different types of materials, evaluating the materials, and reviewing them on an on-going basis.

Deciding on types of materials

Brown (1995) indicates that materials can come from various forms, different approaches, and different syllabus; therefore it is the teachers’ responsibility to make the decision about what specific materials to adopt.

Locating materials

Brown (1995) discusses the three sources of information that can help in finding existing materials: publishers’ catalogs, the ‘Books Received’ section of journals, and teachers’ shelves.

Evaluating materials

Evaluating materials is important since it can determine the suitability to a particular program (Renyaan, 2002). Brown (1995) also argues that the best way to determine the relationships among a set of materials and a particular program, is to determine the degree to which the materials fit the curriculum. Brown’s argument is almost the same as Byrd’s (2001) that the fit between curriculum and the textbooks can create the fit situation for the teacher.

On going review of materials

Brown (1995) states that the materials evaluation process must continue when they are being used and after each implementation period. Further, Brown also argues that periodic review of the materials seems advisable and necessary.

2.1.5 Developing Materials

Developing the materials need to be done if the tentative needs, objectives, and tests really describe a program and if all materials adoption efforts fail to uncover suitable materials to meet the purposes of the program (Brown, 1995). So, there will be a best match between the materials and curriculum.

2.1.6 Adapting Materials

As Flynn (1982) argues that no single textbooks can meet the teachers and the students’ needs, Brown (1995) further points out that “there is no such thing as a perfect textbook. This is likely to be true whether the materials in question were commercially produced or created within a given program.” Indeed, as stated by Flynn and Brown, materials adaptation is prominent for the sake of fulfilling the teachers and the students’ needs. Moreover, Ariew (1982) points out that material adaptation is not something new; in fact, teachers constantly adapt when they teach.

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Concerning materials adaptation, Ariew (1982) further suggests the three categories of material adaptation: (1) the individualizing of materials; (2) modifying texts for purposes unintended by the author; and (3) compensating for the defects of a textbook. In addition, Ariew states the techniques in order to accomplish any of the three-type adaptation above, namely: supplementing, personalizing, expanding, editing, simplifying, modernizing, and localizing or modifying cultural or situational content.

However, not all contents in the textbook are true and should be accepted. Textbooks may not suit a particular class or individual students’ interests. Therefore, it is the teacher who has the responsibility to choose what is best for their students. Harmer (1991) points out that textbooks are an important aid, but not a sacred text, so teachers will have to work out the best ways to use their books; they should never let the textbook use them, or dictate the decisions they take about the activities in which the students are going to be involved.

Further, Byrd as cited in Murcia (2001) adds that in order to create the fit situation for the teacher using textbooks, the following must be addressed:

The fit between curriculum and the texts

It is generally known that publishers create materials based on published curriculum system. For example, in Indonesia, National Education Board (Depdiknas) arranges for publication of its own textbooks; however, it is acceptable for other publishers to publish the textbooks as long as the materials are appropriate and carry out its particular curriculum goals. The fit between curriculum and the texts is believed to be a reasonable and achievable goal.

The fit between students and the texts

The main reason underlies this idea is that the textbooks are for students; therefore, it must fit the needs of the students as learners of English.

The fit between teachers and the texts

As the textbooks are also for teachers, the fit between teachers and the textbooks is important in order to create the fit situation in using textbooks as the teaching learning materials. Byrd suggests the basic questions in relation to it: Can our teachers handle this material? and Will our teachers find that the textbook meets their needs and preferences for teaching materials?

2.2 Teaching Learning English in High School Context in Indonesia

2.2.1 English language education in Indonesia

Since it was first taught, there have been problems in the teaching of English as a foreign language. For example the fact that the changing of curriculum and approaches along with the changing of the Minister of Education is not uncommon. The big class sizes and teachers with poor mastery of English are two obvious factors that contribute to the ongoing problems in ELT in Indonesia (Dardjowidjojo, 2000). Other reasons for the problems are: (1) limited time allocated for teaching English; (2) students do not have enough time to actually learn to speak English in class because the teacher is more concerned with teaching the grammar and syntax; (3) the absence of the social uses of English outside the classroom; and (4) the absence of good and authentic learning materials (Musthafa, 2001). Recent curriculum in English language education in Indonesia focuses on the teaching of English at junior and high school levels. The curriculum adopts the so-called communicative competence as its model of competence (Depdiknas, 2003). Communicative competence itself can be summarized as skills needed for communication, which consists of four important components. Those components are: grammatical/linguistic competence, socio cultural competence, discourse competence, and strategic competence (Richards & Rodgers, 1986; Celce-Murcia, Dornyei & Thurrell, 1995; Beale, 2002).

In line with the concept of communicative competence, the following factors should therefore be present in an English language classroom:

Fluency and acceptable language is the primary goal (Richards & Rodgers, 1986).

This implies that the teacher him/herself should be a fluent English speaker.

Students are expected to interact with other students in order to communicate in the target language (Richards & Rodgers, 1986; Freeman, 2000).

This implies that the tasks should include pair and group work, and those activities like role plays, language games and problem-solving tasks are encouraged.

Students should be given enough opportunities to get to know the authentic language (Freeman, 2000).

Therefore, authentic materials are important in an English classroom.

The role of the teacher is that of a facilitator in communication (Richards &Rodgers, 1986; Freeman, 2000).

This implies that the amount of teacher talking time should not be a barrier for students for using the target language (McDonough & Shaw, 1993).

Non-technical and technical media are important tools for language learning and teaching, particularly for carrying out language tasks (Brinton, 2001).

Non-technical media include: blackboards, posters, maps, pictures, or photos. Technical media include: tape recorder, CD/Video/DVD player, or overhead projector.

Whether or not English teaching and English teachers in Indonesia have met the ‘ideals’ as stated above, remain a question. The real fact is that the virtues behind the so-called communicative competence as recommended by Richards and Rodgers (1986), McDonough and Shaw (1993), Freeman (2000), or Brinton (2001), and the principles stated and expected in the recent curriculum document might be implemented differently in the real English classrooms due to many unexpected factors, such as funding, unqualified teachers, and limited resources & facilities.

2.2.2 Issues of teaching learning English in High School Context

The Indonesian curriculum system has been developed by the National Education Board (Departemen Pendidikan Nasional) for many years in order to keep up with the global changes of the world as well as changes in the learners’ needs to be ready to face the world in the future. Recently, the Indonesian government through Departemen Pendidikan Nasional has made the improvement in the quality of national curriculum system. The newest one is Peraturan Menteri Pendidikan Nasional (Permendiknas) No. 22/2006. Permendiknas No.22/2006 discusses the Standard of Content (Standar Isi) of Elementary and High School level in Indonesia. Also, Permendiknas No.22/2006 contains Basic Competencies (Kompetensi Dasar) for each field of studies in every unit of elementary and high school level. They are the guidelines for the teachers in order to develop the indicators that must be achieved by the students as well as the materials that will be used in the teaching learning processes.

The importance of mastering English for Indonesian students is much more felt due to the globalization in all sectors. One measurement to improve the mastery of English done by the Indonesian government is by implementing the English National Examination with a passing grade of 5.50. In Kurikulum Tingkat Satuan Pendidikan (KTSP), one of the learning purposes of Bahasa Inggris in Sekolah Menengah Atas (SMA) is developing students’ communicative competences in written and spoken English through an integral development of those four macro skills including listening, speaking, reading, and writing (Table 1, Standar Kompetensi Lulusan Sekolah Menengah Atas (SMA) /Madrasah Aliyah (MA)

Table 1

Standar Kompetensi Lulusan Sekolah Menengah Atas (SMA) / Madrasah Aliyah (MA)

Bahasa Inggris SMA/MA

1. Mendengarkan

Memahami makna dalam wacana lisan interpersonal dan transaksional, secara formal maupun informal, dalam bentuk recount, narrative, procedure, descriptive, news item, report, analytical exposition, hortatory exposition, spoof, explanation, discussion, dan review, dalam konteks kehidupan sehari-hari.

2. Berbicara

Mengungkapkan makna secara lisan dalam wacana interpersonal dan transaksional, secara formal maupun informal, dalam bentuk recount, narrative, procedure, descriptive, news item, report, analytical exposition, hortatory exposition, spoof, explanation, discussion, dan review, dalam konteks kehidupan sehari-hari.

3. Membaca

Memahami makna dalam wacana tertulis interpersonal dan transaksional, secara formal maupun informal, dalam bentuk recount, narrative, procedure, descriptive, news item, report, analytical exposition, hortatory exposition, spoof, explanation, discussion, dan review, dalam konteks kehidupan sehari-hari.

4. Menulis

Mengungkapkan makna secara tertulis dalam wacana interpersonal dan transaksional, secara formal maupun informal, dalam bentuk recount, narrative, procedure, descriptive, news item, report, analytical exposition, hortatory exposition, spoof, explanation, discussion, dan review, dalam konteks kehidupan sehari-hari

All those four skills are expected to prepare senior high school students to enter the higher education or work fields, especially those requiring English skills. Due to the objectives of teaching English for senior high school, that is to develop students’ communicative competences through an integral development of the four macro skills, the learning resources and materials that are used in teaching learning processes have to give students more chances to communicate in English.



This chapter explains about how this research is accomplished. It considers the methodological design, the subjects, and the instruments of the study also data analysis techniques.

3.1 Design of the study

This study aims at examining the use of learning resources and materials by English teachers at one senior high school in Jakarta. It is conducted through a collective case study in order to find in depth what learning resources and materials employed by English teachers. In accordance to Burns’ definition (2000:460) a case study is relevant to study uses “how” and “what” questions. This design is also suitable for a small-scale research which is conducted in one place. Bell (1993:8) also suggests that case study is particularly appropriate for an individual researcher as it gives an opportunity for one aspect of a problem to be studied in some depth within limited time scale.

The study deals with three English teachers in one senior high school in Jakarta and their students. In order to get more information about the learning resources and materials used in classroom, the writer conduct the interview to the teachers and students, non participant’s observation, review of the documents, and distribute the classroom survey.

3.2 The Subjects of the Study

The subjects chosen are considered as the representatives of senior high school English teaching condition in general because the school offers English to be implemented as part of its National Curriculum and has English teachers with English Education background.


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