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THE ENGLISH TEACHERS’ PERCEPTION AND IMPLEMENTATION ON COMMUNICATIVE LANGUAGE TEACHING (CLT) METHOD:

A CASE STUDY AT SMA HKBP PEMATANGSIANTAR

David Berthony Manalu

(FKIP – Universitas HKBP Nommensen Pematangsiantar)

Abstrak

Penelitian ini diterapkan dengan tujuan untuk mengetahui persepsi guru tentang sebuah metode pembelajaran bahasa Inggris: Pembelajaran Bahasa yang Komunikatif (Communicative Language Teaching), dan juga untuk menyelidiki lebih dalam keterkaitan antara persepsi tersebut terhadap penerapannya di dalam proses pembelajaran bahasa Inggris. Metode yang digunakan adalah kualitatif. Subjek penelitian merupakan 4 orang guru bahasa Inggris di SMA HKBP Pematangsiantar. Hasil yang ditemukan dari penelitian adalah: (1) kurangnya informasi mengenai CLT menyebabkan kesalahpahaman guru terhadap konsep dan prinsip metode CLT, (2) penerapan pengajaran di kelas membuktikan bahwa metode yang mereka gunakan bukanlah CLT melainkan metode tradisional (Grammar-Translation Method). Penelitian ini juga mengungkapkan alasan-alasan para guru terkait ketidaksesuaian antara rencana pelaksanaan pembelajaran (RPP) mereka dengan praktik mengajar di kelas, yaitu: keterbatasan waktu yang disediakan kurikulum dan akan tejadinya kesalahpahaman dari pihak siswa terhadap materi apabila para guru menerapkan metode CLT.

Keywords:

Perception, Implementation, CLT (Communicative Language Teaching)

I. INTRODUCTION

1.1 Research Background

Nowadays there are various methods used in language teaching. Most of them have appeared in the last century as a reaction against the Grammar Translation Method, which was the first and most common method used for teaching English. It is because millions of people today want to improve their English or to ensure that their children achieve Standard English. And opportunities to learn English are provided in many different ways such as through formal instruction, travel, and study abroad, as well as through the media and the Internet. Learners want to be able to master English to a high level of accuracy and fluency. Employers, too, insist that their employees have good English language skills, and fluency in English is a prerequisite for success and advancement in many fields of employment in today’s world. The demand for an appropriate teaching methodology is therefore as strong as ever. According to Richards (2006:1) Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) has served as a major source of influence on language teaching practice around the world and its issues are still relevant today, though teachers who are relatively new to the profession may not be familiar with them.

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from pursuing the CLT approach effectively in their classroom. These are: very little in-service training; large class sizes, restrictive teaching materials; and long teaching hours. It was found that the learner-centered approach to language teaching was perceived as important by most of the teachers, even those who had not had any training in the CLT approach. More surprisingly, some teachers who had recently completed CLT training still restricted themselves to the traditional ‘teacher-centered’ approach.

Another research by Chang (2010) explored factors that promote or hinder EFL teachers’ implementation of CLT in Taiwanese college English classes. The findings indicated that the factors that impacted implementation of CLT related to teachers, students, the educational system, and suitability of CLT in the local context. Also, certain situational constraints were found to hinder the implementation of CLT. The research provided practical recommendations for teachers, educators, and policy makers to further improve teacher training, curriculum design, and situational constraints to ensure success in implementing the CLT approach.

Based on the researcher’s experience, as one of the field coordinator of teaching practice program, which is organized by Teacher Training Faculty of Nommensen University, CLT has been introduced to the teachers through various teacher training programs, workshops, and seminars. But the implementation is still rarely found in the class. It can be proven from the students’ responses while the researcher asked them something in English. There were still so many students who were not able to speak communicatively and some of them kept silent or even looked confused to what the researcher asked. This implies that CLT is not totally applied in English class. This failure may come from the teachers’ side. They may understand the concept of CLT, but fail to apply this method. It could be lack of motivation from the teachers that made the students have no courage to speak in English. It is the teacher’s responsibility to motivate his/her students to learn because the success of learning derives from not only the teacher, but also students’ attitude.

This issue attracted the researcher’s attention to investigate whether the English teachers of SMA HKBP Pematangsiantar understand the concept of CLT or not, and to reveal the implementation of CLT in their teaching process.

1.2 Research Problems

The problems of this study were formulated in the form of a question as stated below: 1. What perceptions do the English teachers of SMA HKBP Pematangsiantar have towards

Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)? 2. How is CLT applied in their teaching process?

3. Why do the teachers apply the CLT the way they are?

1.3 Research Scope

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II. RESEARCH METHOD

2.1 Research Design

This research used qualitative study and conducts descriptive analysis. A qualitative research is concerned primarily with process, meaning, and understanding, rather than outcomes or procedures (Creswell 1994: 145). Therefore a qualitative researcher needs to report faithfully the realities and to rely on voices and interpretations of informants. Descriptive research is designed to obtain information concerning the current status of phenomena. They are directed toward determining the nature of a situation as it exists at the time of the study. The aim of descriptive study is to describe what exist with respect to variables or conditions in a situation. This research is a descriptive qualitative study because it concerns with the natural context of classroom activities during English teaching-learning process.

2.2 Research Subjects

The subjects of this research were the English teachers of SMA HKBP Pematangsiantar. There were 4 teachers whom will be interviewed and observed. Two of them were the senior and others were the junior. Two of them have been certified, one was in certification progress and other was still not yet. All of them have S-1 degree.

2.3 Time and Place

This research was conducted in SMA HKBP Pematangsiantar which was located on Jl. Gereja no. 26 Pematangsiantar between October – November 2013.

2.4 Techniques of Collecting Data

The techniques of collecting data in this research are conducted in three (3) phases, namely: pre-interview, classroom observation, and post-interview. First the researcher will interview the English teachers related to their perception towards CLT. Then the classroom observation will be done to all teachers. The researcher uses digital camera to record the classroom activities. This type of data will be transcribed into descriptive form in order to describe the natural situation of the classroom. Last, the researcher will interview all the English teachers in order to clarify the points which are observed.

2.5 Techniques of Analyzing Data

The researcher conducts indentifying the “coding” procedure to be used to reduce the information themes or categories. Creswell (1994: 154) states that “coding is the flexible rules that govern how one goes about sorting through interview transcription, observational notes, documents, and visual material”.

The steps of analyzing data are sorted below:  Transcribing the pre-interview data

 Transcribing the classroom observation data  Transcribing the post-interview data

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III. FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION

3.1 Findings

From pre-interview, observation, and post interview, the researcher found out that:

(1) The English teachers understand the principles of CLT incompletely. There are some principles of CLT which had been misunderstood by the teachers. For instance:

a. Two of the teachers said that CLT is a part of teacher-centered learning approach. In fact, CLT is a kind of student-centered learning approach.

b. One of the teachers believed that the goal of learning in CLT is to make the students are able to read and translate the text. This view shows that she referred to Grammar-Translation Method.

c. Three of the teachers stated that the role of teacher in CLT is as authority in classroom activities. Teacher acts as motivator in the class of CLT.

d. All of them argued that the use of code mixing (native language and target language) is an effective way to deliver material and instruction in CLT class. While in fact, CLT does not use native language. It is only target language in the teaching and learning process.

e. Three of them thought that errors must be immediately corrected. CLT method views errors as a natural outcome of learning development, so it is tolerated because learning is a result of trial-and-errors.

f. All of them considered that translation, memorization, deductive application of rule, cognates and composition are kinds of techniques used in CLT. Indeed, those techniques are part of Grammar-Translation Method.

g. Two of them said that accuracy is the only thing to be evaluated in students’ works. While accuracy and fluency need to be evaluated in CLT class.

(2) In applying their teaching, all teachers used a mixed method between Grammar Translation Method and CLT. This can be seen from:

a. The use of language in teaching and learning process. The most essential characteristic of CLT method is the using of target language (i.e. English) from the beginning until the closing of the teaching and learning process. There is no place for students’ native language in the classroom. This dominant principle has been disobeyed by all teachers. They gave chance to students to speak in Batak language and Indonesian language, while English has been used for a very short time.

b. The teaching techniques used. There are some techniques that are suitable for CLT: role play, games, jigsaw, information gap, opinion sharing, etc. But the teachers still combined these types of techniques with: translating text, memorization or cognates in some activities.

(3) There are some reasons related to why the teachers apply CLT the way they are, such as: a. They mixed English and Indonesian or even Batak language in order to make the

students understand what they meant. Since they realized that it is impossible to use English the whole time, so they preferred to mixed native language and target language. b. The time used in teaching English is limited for 2 x 45 minutes a day for each class. So, it

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5 3.2 Discussion

3.2.1 Communicative Competence

The idea of communicative competence is originally derived from Chomsky’s distinction between competence and performance. The term “communicative competence” was developed by Hymes as a contrast to Chomsky's linguistic competence.

By competence, Chomsky means the shared knowledge of the ideal speaker-listener set in a completely homogeneous speech community (1965: 3). Such underlying knowledge enables a user of a language to produce and understand an infinite set of sentences out of a finite set of rules. The transformational grammar provides for an explicit account of this tacit knowledge of language structure, which is usually not conscious but is necessarily implicit. Performance, on the other hand, is concerned with the process of applying the underlying knowledge to the actual language use, commonly stated as encoding and decoding (1965: 4).

Hymes believes that Chomsky’s view of competence is too narrow and idealized. Hymes (1972) extends the notion of competence to be communicative competence and concludes that a linguistic theory must be able to deal with a heterogeneous speech community, differential competence and the role of socio-cultural features. He believes that we should be concerned with performance, which he defines as the actual use of language in a concrete situation, not an idealized speaker-listener situation in a completely homogeneous speech community. Hymes deems it necessary to distinguish two kinds of competence: (1). linguistic competence that deals with producing and understanding grammatically correct sentences, and (2). communicative competence that deals with producing and understanding sentences that are appropriate and acceptable to a particular situation.

Thus Hymes coins a term communicative competence and defines it as a knowledge of the rules for understanding and producing both referential and social meaning of language. Communicative competence consists of four components: Possibility – the ability to produce grammatical sentences; Feasibility – the ability to produce sentences which can be decoded by the human brain; Appropriateness – the ability to use correct forms of language in a specific socio-cultural context; Performance – the fact that the utterance is completed (1972: 271).

According to Canale and Swain (1980), communicative competence is composed minimally of grammatical competence, sociolinguistic competence, and strategic competence. The first includes knowledge of the lexical items and rules of morphology, syntax, sentence grammar, semantics, and phonology. The second consists of two sets of rules, socio-cultural rules of use and rules of discourse, knowledge of both of which, is crucial to interpreting utterances for social meaning particularly when there is a low level of transparency between the literal meaning of an utterance and the speaker's intention. Strategic competence consists of verbal and non-verbal strategies of communication that may be employed to compensate for communication breakdown attributable to performance variables or to insufficient competence. Communication strategies are of two kinds: those that are relevant, mainly to grammatical competence and those that relate more to socio-linguistic competence. An example of the first kind is to paraphrase grammatical forms that a person has not mastered or cannot recall, momentarily, while examples of the second would be the various role playing strategies such as how a stranger should be addressed by someone who is uncertain about the stranger's social status.

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meaningful whole), and strategic competence (a language user's employment of strategies to make the best use of what s/he knows about how a language works, in order to interpret, express, and negotiate meaning in a given context).

[image:8.612.104.543.162.298.2]

In conclusion there is an evolution in “communicative competence” concept. The evolution can be seen from figure below.

Figure 1. Chronological Evolution of “Communicative Competence” Concept (Adopted from Rickheit and Strohner, 2008: 21)

3.2.2 The Characteristics of CLT

Brown (1994: 35) summarized the characteristics of CLT based on the theory of language, theory of learning, objective, syllabus, learner role, teacher role, language skills, activities, error handling and material. Table below explains all the characteristics of CLT.

Methods

Categories Communicative Language Teaching

Theory of Language

 Language is a system for the expression of meaning.

 The primary function of language is interaction and communication.  The structure of language reflects its functional and communicative uses.  The primary units of language are not merely its grammatical and structural

features, but categories of functional and communicative meaning as exemplified in discourse.

Theory of Learning

 Activities involving real communication.  Carrying out meaningful tasks.

 Using meaningful language promotes learning.

 Language learning comes about through using language communicatively, rather than through practising language skills.

Objectives  Objectives will reflect the needs of the learner, they will include functional skills as well as linguistic objectives.

Syllabus  Will include some/all of the following: functions, notions, themes, tasks.  Ordering will be guided by learner needs.

Learner Roles 

Learners as negotiator, interactor, giving messages as well as taking them.

Teacher Roles 

Facilitator of the communication process, participant tasks and texts, need analyst, counsellor, process manager.

Language

Skills  Communication skill. Possibility Feasibility Appropriateness Performance Hymes (1972)

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Activities  Engage learners in communication, involve processes such as information sharing, negotiation of meaning and interaction.

Error

Handling  Mistakes are tolerated, the emphasis being on the message and not on the form.

Materials

 Primary role of promoting communicative language use.  Task-based materials.

 Authentic.

3.2.3 Materials used in CLT

Nunan (1999: 78-79) classifies three kinds of materials currently used in CLT: text-based materials, task-based materials, and realia (authentic materials).

Text-Based Materials

There are numerous textbooks designed to direct and support CLT. Their tables of contents sometimes suggest a kind of grading and sequencing of language practice not unlike those found in structurally organized texts. Some of these are in fact written around a largely structural syllabus, with slight reformatting to justify their claims to be based on a communicative approach. A typical lesson consists of a theme (e.g., relaying information), a task analysis for thematic development (e.g., understanding the message, asking questions to obtain clarification, asking for more information, taking notes, ordering and presenting information), a practice situation description (e.g., "A caller asks to see your manager. He does not have an appointment. Gather the necessary information from him and relay the message to your manager."), a stimulus presentation (in the preceding case, the beginning of an office conversation scripted and on tape), comprehension questions (e.g., "Why is the caller in the office?"), and paraphrase exercises.

Task-Based Materials

A variety of games, role plays, simulations, and task-based communication activities have been prepared to support CLT classes. These typically are in the form of one-of-a-kind items: exercise handbooks, cue cards, activity cards, pair-communication practice materials, and student-interaction practice booklets. In pair-communication materials, there are typically two sets of material for a pair of students, each set containing different kinds of information. Sometimes the information is complementary, and partners must fit their respective parts of the "jigsaw" into a composite whole. Others assume different role relationships for the partners (e.g., an interviewer and an interviewee). Still others provide drills and practice material in interactional formats.

Realia (authentic materials)

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8 3.2.4 Classroom Activities in CLT

Richards (2006: 14-21) clarifies there are various activities that can be applied in CLT model.

Fluency and Accuracy Activities

Focusing on Fluency Focusing on Accuracy Reflect natural use of language Reflect classroom use of language

Focus on achieving communication Focus on the formation of correct examples of language

Require meaningful use of language Practice language out of context Require the use of communication strategies Practice small samples of language

Produce language that may not be predictable Do not require meaningful communication Seek to link language use to context Control choice of language

Example of activities focusing on fluency:

A group of students of mixed language ability carry out a role play in which they have to adopt specified roles and personalities provided for them on cue cards. These roles involve the drivers, witnesses, and the police at a collision between two cars. The language is entirely improvised by the students, though they are heavily constrained by the specified situation and characters. The teacher and a student act out a dialog in which a customer returns a faulty object she has purchased to a department store. The clerk asks what the problem is and promises to get a refund for the customer or to replace the item. In groups, students now try to recreate the dialog using language items of their choice. They are asked to recreate what happened preserving the meaning but not necessarily the exact language. They later act out their dialogs in front of the class.

Example of activities focusing on accuracy:

Students are practicing dialogs. The dialogs contain examples of falling intonation in WH-questions. The class is organized in groups of three, two students practicing the dialog, and the third playing the role of monitor. The monitor checks that the others are using the correct intonation pattern and corrects them where necessary. The students rotate their roles between those reading the dialog and those monitoring. The teacher moves around listening to the groups and correcting their language where necessary. Students in groups of three or four complete an exercise on a grammatical item, such as choosing between the past tense and the present perfect, an item which the teacher has previously presented and practiced as a whole class activity. Together students decide which grammatical form is correct and they complete the exercise. Groups take turns reading out their answers.

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IV. CONCLUSION

This research concludes that CLT can be applied effectively in SMA HKBP Pematangsiantar, if only, the English teachers make a solid commitment. Using code mixing in teaching process requires much time than only English. It does not help the learners much to understand the material. It is true that so many teachers had succeeded their students by using their own techniques the way they are, but let us think for a moment: this world has changed; everything has changed, so we need to change our habit and strategy in teaching process. No one is perfect but everything must be in progress to the development of her/himself. There is no wrong if we attempt to re-learn what we have learnt. Besides, since everything has changed, then we need to renew our knowledge and techniques to transfer that knowledge. Teachers may enter the higher education than she/he had right now.

REFERENCES

Adhikari, Kalpana. 2007. An Investigation of Nepalese English Teachers’ Perception of CLT and its Implementation in Nepalese Secondary Schools. Journal of NELTA Vol. 12 No. 1 & 2 December 2007.

Brown, H. Douglas. 1994. Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy. Prentice-Hall Regents

Canale, M. & Swain, M. 1980. Theoretical Bases of Communicative Approaches to Second Language Teaching and Testing. Applied Linguistics, 1, 1-47.

Chang, Ming. 2010. Factors Affecting the Implementation of Communicative Language Teaching in Taiwanese College English Classes. Canadian Center of Science and Education. English Language Teaching Journal Vol. 4, No. 2; June 2011.

Chomsky, N. 1965. Aspects of the Theory of Syntax, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press

Creswell, John W. 1994. Research Design: Qualitative & Quantitative Approaches. Sage Publications.

Hymes, D. 1972. On Communicative Competence, In J. B. Pride and J. Holmes (Eds.), Sociolinguistics (pp. 269-285). Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

Larsen – Freeman, Diane. 1986. Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press.

Nunan, David. 1999. Second Language Teaching and Learning. Massachusetts: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.

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Rickheit, Gert and Hans Strohner. 2008. Handbook of Communication Competence. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co.

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