CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Background of the Research In the theoretical perspective of teaching materials’ development
Background of the Research
In the theoretical perspective of teaching materials’ development, the English Language Teaching (ELT) materials outstandingly acts as the diesel engines of enabling the students to successfully achieve the certain formulated language competence and skills in accordance with the curriculum’s demands, particular groups of students and stakeholders’ needs. On the basis of this theoretical perspective, the development of the Authentic English Language Teaching Materials (AELTMs) for the Second Year Mechanical Engineering (2ndYME) students at Politeknik Negeri Padang (PNP) was, therefore, decisively undertaken by paying attention to the academic and scientific procedures. There were sets of reasons for developing the AELTMs for the 2ndYME students were briefly elucidated as follows.
The first key rationale for developing the AELTMs for the 2ndYME students was as, firstly, the response to the demands of the central government language teaching’s policy which strongly affirms that the Reading and Writing are the skills prioritised to be taught in Higher Education (HE). The policy has been legally passed in the Perpres No. 19 of 2005 on the National Standards of Education. Secondly, another policy relating to the language teaching in HE is the language learning’s achievement. The central government in its Perpres No. 8 of 2012 on the KKNI mandated that the language learning’s achievement comprises of being capable of Reading, Speaking, Writing, and Listening; possessing the Authentic Vocabulary Knowledge and mastering of the basic rules/forms of Grammar. After the completion of the lecturing processes, the students are expected to be competent to apply their language skills, effectively contribute to their real-life world, and more effectively communicate their ideas in English.
Lastly, to retain and maintain the central government language teaching’s policies, the Permenristekdikti RI No. 44 of 2015 on the National Standards of Higher Education, article 11, paragraph 1 standardised the characteristics of the language teaching’s materials and language learning’s processes. The characteristics of the language teaching’s materials must be holistic, integrative, scientific, meaningful, authentic/contextual, thematic, and effective whereas the processes of learning the language should have to give emphasis on the basic principles of the interactive, collaborative, student-centred learning which provide the direct or hands-on learning experience.
The second rationale was to respond to the demands of the authentic learning approach. The central government language teaching’s policy in HE was inseparable from the various studies of the principles of the authentic learning. The authentic learning’s principles which should have to be seriously paid attention to developing the AELTMs for the 2ndYME students are first, according to Herrington & Herrington (2008, p.68-73), the knowledge and skills developed in the AELTMs have to do with the real-world life’s relevance. The second is the tasks developed must illustrate the examples and exercises from the the real-world setting. The third is the English lecturers are demanded to provide good models of how English is effectively (manipulated/used) communicated in the real-world situation. The fourth is the English lecturers are required to provide students plenty of opportunities to communicate their ideas in English, share and discuss ideas, examine and solve problems, etc. When students have plenty of roles and multiple perspectives, they are increasingly capable of enhancing their language knowledge and skills. The fifth is the knowledge and skills of English are collaboratively constructed. It is believed that the students who have chances of collaboratively learning are capable of solving the problems of the language masteries (grammatical, lexical, receptive, and productive skills difficulties, etc).
Further, the sixth is to provide the students to reflect their English learning (How do/did they learn? Do/did they learn actively? Do/did they actively engage in constructing their knowledge and skills? Do/did they do their assigned tasks well? Do/did they have better learning experience? Do/did they make better scores/grades? Do/did they have better knowledge and skills after learning? etc. The seventh is encouraging the direct presentation/articulation. This session requires each student to orally express, explain, deliver, or communicate those ideas or information they have read or written beforehand in front of the class. The other students are then required to take notes the information delivered by the presenter. The eight is every English lecturer acts or serves as a language coach/trainer (train (not teach) the students to directly communicate in English) and a language scaffolder (the lecturers assist his/her students to read the passage, to summarise, to present, etc). Scaffolding is various forms of learning techniques (assistance) provided by a lecturer to help a student achieve his/her learning objectives. The aids are then gradually lessened and assign the student responsibility for establishing their own learning. The last is learning is authentically assessed. The English lecturers are required to prioritise to assess the students’ English performance rather than paper and pencil tests (Herrington & Herrington, 2008, p.68-73).
The third rationale was to meet the demands of the ELT approaches. In addition to the basic principles of authentic learning, the three ELT approaches perfectly support the development of the AELTMs for the 2ndYME students. The first approach is content-based instruction (CBI). This approach sturdily exploits the academic subject matters (authentic texts) to enhance the EFL students’ language skills (Brinton, Snow, ; Wesche, 1989, p.2; Brinton, 2003). The second is task-based instruction (TBI). This idea strongly proposes the utilisation of the authentic texts (materials) in completing the meaningful, contextual, or authentic tasks using English as a target language. The third is content and language integrated learning (CLIL). Similar to CBI, the CLIL strongly promotes the ideas of teaching or learning the academic subject matters and English at once. The integration makes easier for the students to learn English through their subject matters, i.e.: teaching mechanical engineering concepts in English for mechanical engineering students/engineers. Essentially, these three ELT approaches integrate the academic subject matters and English to help the EFL students to effectively communicate their subject matters in English. The primary EFL lecturer’s role in these three approaches is to purely facilitate the students to how to use the language (how language is used) in their own real-world life.
The fourth rationale was to respond to developing the materials for language teaching proposed by the ELT experts –Nunan (1988); Tomlinson (2013 & 2003); Howard & Major (2004). The experts encourage the ELT lecturers to develop their ELT materials as an attempt to meet the needs of the particular groups of students or specific educational contexts. The principles of ELT materials’ development that become the English lecturer’ main concerns are the developed ELT materials should be relevant to the curriculum demands, students and stakeholders’ needs; authentic in terms of texts and tasks; to prioritise to develop the students’ language skills, grammar and vocabulary knowledge; the language knowledge and skills can be communicated beyond the classroom; contextualisation (specific groups of learners or educational context); personalisation (students appreciate what they are learning, increase their learning motivation and engagement); and timeless (the developed ELT materials respond to global world’s needs with the up-to-date, relevant and high awareness themes and tasks).
The last raison d’être of developing the AELTMs for the 2ndYME students was the ELT materials taught were repetitive/iterative and certainly detracted the students’ motivation from learning them. As a result, the repetitive ELT materials were less appreciated by the students. Evidently, after being reviewed, these materials were exactly the same as those already learnt in junior, high, vocational schools, and or informal English educational institutions. The repetitive ELT materials taught to the 2ndYME students were “greetings, leave-takings; introducing oneself and other; expressing thanking, commands, requests, feelings, offers, possibility, wants/needs, capability, regrets/apologies, sympathy, capability, preference; saying numbers; describing and comparing people, objects, events; asking for and giving permissions, direction or location; explaining symbols/signs; how to open the talk and close them, how to strive a short talk/conversation, how to express ideas, and grammatical reviews such as tenses, to be, causative, conditional, gerund, as if/as thought, etc.” Even though these materials were not wrong to be taught/learnt, but they were still insufficient to meet the curriculum demands; the needs of particular groups of the students or specific educational contexts; and unresponsive to the demands of the vibrant and changing world of work.
Furthermore, in terms of grammatical notions and reviews, the 2ndYME students’ are still introduced to learn the forms, meaning and usage of the basic sentence structures of English such as the verb tenses; the 16 English tenses, the subject-verb agreement, the nouns, the pronouns, the modal auxiliaries, the passive and active voices, the noun clauses, the adjectives clauses, gerunds, conjunctions, prepositions, adverb clauses, conditional sentences and wishes, etc.
In conclusion, the development of the AELTMs for the 2ndYME students at PNP was, firstly, to refer to the demands of the central government language teaching’s policies which have been legally passed in the Perpres No. 19 of 2005 on the National Standards of Education, Perpres No. 8 of 2012 on the KKNI Permenristekdikti RI No. 44 of 2015 on the National Standards of Higher Education. The policies strongly affirmed that ELT in higher education emphasised on the Reading and Writing skills, the utilisations of the authentic texts/materials, the developed ELT materials and learning processes had to be holistic, integrative, scientific, meaningful, authentic, thematic, effective, interactive, collaborative, student-centred learning. Secondly, the development underscored the fundamental principles of the authentic learning. Thirdly, it seriously called attention to the three ELT approaches. Fourthly, it referred to the ELT experts’ ideas and the basic principles of developing ELT materials and lastly, it avoided the English lecturers teaching the repetitive ELT materials.
Formulations of the Problem
The main problem of this research was to develop the appropriate AELTMs for the 2ndYME students at PNP. In order to guide the researcher to operationally undertake it, the main problems of the research were elaborated into the following research questions.
What were the curriculum demands dealing with the development of the AELTMs for the 2ndYME students at PNP?
What were the English lecturers’ needs dealing with the development of the AELTMs for the 2ndYME students at PNP?
What were the 2ndYME students needs dealing with the development of the the AELTMs?
What were the stakeholders’ needs dealing with the development of the AELTMs for the 2ndYME students at PNP?
What were the experts’ validation/appraisal concerning the developed AELTMs for the 2ndYME students at PNP?
What was the effectiveness of the developed AELTMs for the 2ndYME students at PNP?
What was the practicality of the developed AELTMs for the 2ndYME students at PNP?
What was the form of the developed AELTMs for the 2ndYME students at PNP?
Objectives of Development
The objectives of developing the AELTMs for the 2ndYME students at PNP were as follow.
To explain the curriculum demands dealing with the development of the AELTMs for the 2ndYME students at PNP.
To explain the English lecturers’ needs dealing with the development of the AELTMs for the 2ndYME students at PNP.
To explain the 2ndYME students’ needs dealing with the development of the AELTMs.
To explain the stakeholders’ needs dealing with the development of the AELTMs for the 2ndYME students at PNP.
To explain the experts’ judgements concerning the developed the AELTMs for the 2ndYME students at PNP.
To test and explain the effectiveness of the developed the AELTMs for the 2ndYME students at PNP.
To test and explain the practicality of the developed the AELTMs for the 2ndYME students at PNP.
To identify the form of the developed the AELTMs for the 2ndYME students at PNP.
Expected Product Specification
The expected product specifications were the developed instructional product of the AELTMs which were holistic, integrative, scientific, meaningful, authentic/contextual, thematic, effective, interactive, collaborative, student-centred learning. It promoted the utilisations of the authentic learning materials, texts, and themes which have real-world relevancies. It equipped with the job-related text types and mechanical engineering photographic images to help to activate the students’ prior knowledge of mechanical engineering. The product focused on the assigned Reading tasks which were then followed by the comprehension phases. The comprehension phases comprise of the Questions and Answers (Qs&As), the exercises, the vocabulary focus and vocabulary checker using graphic organiser, the grammatical reviews/overviews, writing an individual summary/paraphrase and doing press conference for spoken presentation. It exposed the real language used in the field of Mechanical Engineering subject matters. Above all, the integrations of receptive and productive skills plus grammatical reviews/overviews and vocabulary knowledge perfected the coherence and unity of the novelty of this developed product. The product was particularly developed for the 2ndYME students at PNP.
Importance of Development
The underlying principles of developing the AELTMs were as follows. Firstly, the importance of developing the AELTMs was to authenticate the ELT and learning materials for the 2ndYME students. Secondly, it was to promote the reading habits. Thirdly, it was to familiarise the 2ndYME students to attentively and intentionally read the mechanical engineering English texts. Fourthly, it was to bring the 2ndYME students closer to their real-world life through reading the mechanical engineering English texts and presenting photographic images of mechanical engineering. Fifthly, it was to expose real language used in the field of mechanical engineering. Sixthly, it was to arouse the 2ndYME students’ English learning motivation and interests. Seventhly, it was to integrate the academic subject matters and English all at a time. Eighthly, the integrations helped the students to activate their prior knowledge so that they could easily communicate their ideas in English. Ninthly, receptive and productive skills; vocabulary knowledge and grammatical overviews were a coherent unity of perfecting the 2ndYME students’ knowledge and skills. Tenthly, it was to promote to learn English beyond the classroom. Lastly, the developed materials, themes, and learning activities have reflected the 2ndYME students’ real-world settings.
Assumption and Limitation of Development
Theoretically, this research assumed that the development of the AELTMs reflected the English knowledge and skills used in real-world life so that the 2ndYME students were considered competent to learn and master the receptive, productive skills, vocabulary knowledge, rules of language and more importantly are capable of communicating their mechanical engineering’s ideas in English. This research was, on the other hand, limited or confined to the 2ndYME students at Politeknik Negeri Padang, third semester, and 2017/2018 academic year. The developed ELT materials were mainly laid the basis for the AELTMs.
Definitions of the Key Terms
Developing is an academic activity of developing the AELTMs for the 2ndYME students.
Authentic is defined as the good imitation of the original one (Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1998).
Authenticity in language teaching is original texts written in English and usually communicated by the native speakers. The texts can be exploited for the purposes of language teaching because they are motivating and exposing real language used in its own community.
Learning is an educational activity or process of attaining (theoretical or practical) knowledge, and skills through studying, training, and collaboration.
Authentic learning is an academic approach that facilitates the 2ndYME students to enhance their English knowledge and skills through learning authentic materials and themes.
Authentic Materials are written texts used for the sake of English language teaching for the the 2ndYME students at Politeknik Negeri Padang.
Authentic English Language Teaching Materials (AELTMs) are materials developed to meet the 2ndYME students’ English language learning needs.