Selasa, 05 Januari 2010

Teaching English for Young Learners

Teaching English for Young Learners



A. Introduction

There are many media is use in teaching learning process. Usually media is use in teching english to young learners because use it the teaching learning process will more easily.Young learners will be interesting and enjoyable in class room. For example Realia. realia is various kind of visual media which can be efectively use by EFL and EYL. Realia is a term used in library science and education to refer to certain real-life objects. In library classification systems, realia are objects such as coins, tools, and textiles that do not easily fit into the orderly categories of printed material. In education, realia are objects from real life used in classroom instruction.



A. What is Realia

Real objects should be small enough to bring into the classroom but large enough to be clearly seen. Real objects can be used for various purposes, such as teaching pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar. For example, you can bring a map into the classroom and use it to practice comparative and superlative adjectives. (which country in Europe is bigger than Turkey? What is the longest river in Turkey? Etc.)

Other examples of realia are clock faces, toys, brochures, magazines, catalogues, newspapers, board games, posters, wrappers, labels and logos from various products, records, stamps, coins, old tickets, postcards, timetables, tv guides, calendars, containers, cans, bottles, flags, restaurant menus, puppets, etc.

B. Realia and Culture Content-Based English for Young Learners

Universities and high schools throughout Asia hire foreigners to teach the languages and the cultures of their home countries in content-based English courses. Many of those teachers complain that commercially produced language textbooks, especially those for culture content-based English language classes, are problematic. Common problems include inappropriate levels for the target group, insufficient focus on active language skills development, out-of-date information, and cultural topics that do not match the interests of the both students and teachers. Thus, teachers often end up creating their own teaching materials, but these materials may also have shortcomings due to the inexperience of the materials designer, a lack of other enthusiastic teachers to help with editing, and in particular a shortage of useful “realia” to use with or to be adapted for teaching materials.

However, the literature suffers from a serious lack of discussion regarding the connection between realia and culture and how best to use realia for teaching culture in content-based courses. In the culture content- based language classroom, realia can be utilized for a valuable teaching purpose that has not received enough attention in the ESL/EFL field. The realia can be considered to be a cultural object that is very useful for “cross-cultural analysis,” a way of studying similarities and differences among cultures. (Corsaro, 1992).

Culture includes “language, ideas, beliefs, customs, codes, institutions, tools, techniques, works of art, rituals, and ceremonies, among other elements” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2004, culture section, para. 1). Language is obviously an essential aspect of culture, but it is rarely taught or examined from a cultural perspective. Language is usually studied in isolation, yet teaching language points in the context of their cultural environment is optimal.

C. Needs Analysis

Before searching for materials, teachers should do a needs analysis to discover what aspects of the target culture that students want to study. There are many ways for a teacher to discover the needs of students. One simple way is to give students a list of target-culture related topics and ask students to rank them according to preference. Another method is to simply ask students to write the specific topics that they want to study.

In addition to discovering the cultural interests of students, teachers must attempt to understand their linguistic needs. Language tests used for grading purposes can also serve as sources of diagnostic information regarding language needs of students.

Furthermore, in order to better assist students, a teacher should also consider the linguistic needs of students for various language tests that students may take outside of school. For example, a number of my students regularly come to my office to request practice with the speaking section of an important examination called the Standardized Test for English Placement (STEP); a high test score on the STEP test can assist students with finding employment with companies that require English skills.

D. Example of Activities and Materials Based on One Realia

Food, shopping, and the cost of living were three aspects of American culture that many of my students expressed an interest in. Grocery store advertisements are useful for teaching these. I brought twenty of these back to Japan. The linguistic needs that I wanted to focus on were names of common food items, terms for units of weight used in America which are not used in Japan (i.e. pounds and quarts), American money terminology, and expressing likes and dislikes. Additional cultural points that students studied were differences and similarities in packaging, eating habits, and shopping habits. To create the condition for students to actively use the linguistic items in conversation practice and to make them think about prices, additional teaching materials needed to be created, as well as a scenario.

The scenario is a role play in which pairs of students pretend that they are American housemates who buy groceries together and plan meals together. Each student has only thirty-five dollars to contribute for a week’s worth of food. Students read the grocery advertisements and discuss which items to buy. They must fill in a chart with the names and prices and quantities of the food item. Students cannot spend more than the allotted amount of money and they must have enough food for three meals each day. As homework, students took the advertisements into Japanese grocery stores and compared prices, keeping in mind and adjusting for how the same items are packaged differently. Students were instructed to choose and compare the prices of five food items that are sold in both America and Japan. In the following class, students reported their findings to other students and discussed the cost of living in America and Japan. Students participated very enthusiastically in this experiential learning experience.

E. Searching for Appropriate Realia

One solution for culture-content based EFL teachers who are able to return to their home countries during their vacation time or research time is to keep their eyes open for useful realia such as magazines, adult education pamphlets, menus, newspapers, advertisements, maps and voting brochures. Teachers must develop an awareness of what can be utilized in a classroom. This involves both becoming more creative as materials designers and also more sensitive to the target culture and to the culture of the students.

Teachers involved in materials development can benefit by developing two useful skills when working with authentic materials: One skill requires being able to spot and extract useful linguistic elements (i.e., grammar, vocabulary, vocabulary) for language teaching. Teachers must be aware of what is missing from the linguistic knowledge or linguistic skills of students and then find useful elements in the realia which can strengthen the weaknesses of students.

The second ability involves being able to notice and extract cultural information (i.e., beliefs, food, clothing styles, values, and customs). In regards to these cultural elements, the concepts of material and non-material culture can be a useful guide. According to Goodmacher and Kajiura, (2005) “Material cultural refers to things people make with their hands or by machines…non-material culture consists of products not made by hand – languages, religions and other beliefs, customs and traditions (p.8). In this way of thinking about culture and materials development for culture related classes, what might be considered as a simple sort of realia, for example, a personal advertisement, a comic strip, or a college brochure can, after a careful analysis, be used to teach both material aspects and non-material aspects of culture.

Most students can learn to recognize and superficially understand many material objects fairly easily. However, non-material products are usually much more difficult to identify and understand. Creating exercises that train students to be more sensitive to both aspects of another culture will greatly benefit the students with not only understanding another culture but also with understanding their own culture.



A. Conclusion

Real objects should be small enough to bring into the classroom but large enough to be clearly seen. Real objects can be used for various purposes, such as teaching pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar.

There are many examples of realia are clock faces, toys, brochures, magazines, catalogues, newspapers, board games, posters, wrappers, records, stamps, coins, old tickets, postcards, timetables, tv guides, calendars, containers, cans, bottles, flags, restaurant menus, puppets.

The value of authentic materials for English teaching in the average English language class has been extensively discussed, but there is still room for more analysis and creativity regarding the use of realia in culture-content based English teaching. Teachers need to increase their ability to find useful realia, to create teaching objectives from the realia, and to design materials to help students to better understand a foreign culture and to better use the target language.


Tomalin, B., and S. Stemplesky. (1993). Cultural awareness. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tomlinson, B. (2003). Introduction. In B. Tomlinson (Ed.). Developing Materials for Language Teaching (pp. 1-11).London: Continuum

1 komentar:

  1. I need some references to make a paper about the methods of teaching English..