THE USE OF AUTHENTIC MATERIAL IN TEACHING READING COMPREHENSION AT THE SECOND YEAR STUDENTS
A. Research Background
Considered as an important foreign language to improve knowledge and skills, English is a compulsory subject in Indonesian education that is taught from Elementary school until Universities. English as a subject matter for school has four important skills which have to be mastered by students as the objective of teaching and learning. They are listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
The purpose of teaching reading is to provide the students to be able to read English in the written form and comprehend the written materials.
An effective reading activity involves active students to take apart actively in reading class whether in pre, whiles, and then in post-reading activities. However, it always becomes main problem in many English classes to attract student’s motivation to be active and enjoy reading activity. In this case, it is a challenge for the teachers to consider a technique, media, and atmosphere in teaching reading in which the students feel comfortable, curious, and motivated to learn the language enthusiastically.
Based on the writer’s experience when she taught computer subject in SMP N 7 Pontianak, she saw that the second year students of the school seem to feel bored and uninterested to learn English especially when they faced with a reading text from their textbook. In the English class, the teacher only used a textbook as media for teaching reading. She did not use others media that could support the reading text become more interesting to learn, so that it could attract and help students to learn English. The activity of teaching reading comprehension process began from the teacher reading the text then followed by the students, next the students read the text again individually in the silent reading, and then she explained the reading materials in the student’s text book including the discussion of the difficult words, and ended the activity by giving the exercise in the textbook.
The teaching and learning activities did not run effectively; because most of the students usually tended to keep silent when the teacher asked them to read the text individually in the silent reading, without knowing why they read and without caring what they were reading. Some students also tended to disturb and cheat other friends then made the class noisy when they did the exercise. So that, it made the teacher always get mad with them.
Realizing the problem faced by the students, it seems that it is very important to make creative and interesting media, or even techniques to teach reading for students now. Creative materials for teaching reading that is a text as media of teaching might be various to prevent some problems that might be faced by the students. A reading course can be made more interesting if a variety of texts is used. Students very often find it very boring when dealing with only one subject area, as can be the case when dealing with English (Berardo, 2006:3). The creative materials which still focus on the topic of subject that can be used here is authentic materials. Berardo (2006:1) says that
“The use of authentic materials in the classroom is discussed, with the student benefiting from the exposure to real language being used in a real context. Other aspects which prove positive when using authentic materials are that they are highly motivating, giving a sense of achievement when understood and encourage further reading. The sources of authentic materials that can be used in the classroom are infinite, but the most common are newspapers, magazines, TV programs, movies, song and literature”.
Authentic materials as media for reading materials might be used more effectively to develop student’s interest and motivation in learning reading comprehension. They introduce life into the classroom so that they enable the students to comprehend the text easily because they are closed to their environment or their real world. Narrative text which is belonged to the story book is one of the authentic materials.
In the curriculum of SMP 2003, narrative text from the story book such as fairytales, fables, and folktales are also included as one of genre that are also considered to be able to support in getting the aim of the literacy (focus of development English learning). In the standard competence, students are expected to be able to comprehend various meaning (interpersonal, ideational, textual) in any written text; interaction and monolog, especially in narrative form.
In this curriculum, the teacher also should actively search authentic materials such as leaflet and short stories for students, which will positively help the students to feel enjoyable to learn English and adjust them with intertextuality, means that using various semiotika system (letters, pictures, and other things) to become familiar with the text.
Concerning the problems above, the writer is interested in doing a research in that school on narrative text in order to know the influence of authentic material (story book) in reading comprehension of the second year students in SMP N 7, the effectiveness is measured by the difference between the mean score of pre-test and the post-test. When the mean score of post test is higher than that of the pre-test, then the use of authentic materials in teaching reading comprehension is called effective.
B. Research Problem
In reference to the research background above, the problem formulation is as follows:
“How effective is the use of authentic materials in teaching reading comprehension at the second year students of SMP N 7 Pontianak in the academic year 2006/2007?“
C. Purpose of Research
The purpose of this research is to find out the effectiveness of authentic material in teaching reading comprehension at the second year students.
Hatch and Farhady (1982) stated that hypothesis is a tentative statement about outcome of the research. In this research, the hypothesis is formulated as follows:
1. The null hypothesis
The use of authentic material in teaching reading comprehension at the second year students is not effective.
2. The alternative hypothesis
The use of authentic material in teaching reading comprehension at the second year students is effective.
E. Scope of Research
In order to make the research systematically, the scope of the research should be stated. There are two aspects in the scope research. They are:
1. Research Variable
The variable of this research is stated as the effect of the following sub division.
a. Independent Variable
Independent variable is the major variable to be investigated and the variable that is selected, manipulated, and measured by the researcher. The independent variable in this research is the application of authentic materials in teaching reading comprehension.
b. Dependent Variable
Dependent variable is the variable that is being observed and measured to know the effect of the independent variable. In this research, the dependent variable in this research is the student’s achievement in reading comprehension.
c. Control Variable
The control variables in this research are:
1) The second year students in SMP N 7.
2) The topics that will be used for teaching
3) The lesson Plan arranged by the researcher.
In order to clarify the terms and to avoid misunderstanding, the researcher will provide the following explanation:
a. Teaching reading comprehension
Teaching reading comprehension is any activities by teacher in classroom which is intended to give students knowledge to comprehend a reading text.
b. Authentic material
Authentic material is material that is used in the classroom that has not been modified in any way for students.
c. The second year students
The second year students are the students who sit at the second year in academic year 2006/2007.
d. Pre-experimental study is a research procedure that has no control group. The influence of the experimental treatment can be seen by analyzing or comparing the result of pre-test and post test.
F. Frame of theory
In relation of the topic, the writer would like to quote some ideas of the experts.
(Alderson, 2000) cited in Berardo (2006:1) defines reading as “…an enjoyable, intense, private activity, from which much pleasure can be derived, and in which one can become totally absorbed. Then, Sofian (2007:34) states “
Furthermore, Smith and Robinson (1980:6) state “reading is an activity attempt, on the part of reader, to understand the writer’s message. The reader interacts with and tries to construct what a writer wishes to communicate.”
As Byrnes (1998) states that:
“Comprehension is the reason for reading. If readers can read the words but do not understand what they are reading, they are not really reading. As they read, good readers are both purposeful and active. Good readers also think actively as they read. They use their experiences and knowledge of the world, vocabulary, language structure, and reading strategies to make sense of the text and know how to get the most out of it. They know when they have problems with understanding and how to resolve these problems as they occur”.
Sheng (2000) argues that reading is the process of recognition, interpretation, and perception of written or printed material. Comprehension is the understanding of the meaning of the written material and covers the conscious strategies that lead to understanding. The reader receives information from the author via the words, sentences, paragraphs, and so forth, and tries to understand the inner feelings of the writer.
The reason for reading depends very much on the purpose for reading.
Sofian (2007:41) states that reading is an essential part of language instruction at every level because it supports learning in multiple ways:
The aim of teaching reading is to develop the student’s reading skill so that they can read English text effectively and efficiently. To be able to read effectively and efficiently readers should have a particular purpose in their minds before they read a text. Thus, effective reading is always purposeful as (Mc. Donough and Shaw ,1993) cited in Materi Pelatihan PKG-SJ Bahasa Inggris book (2003:1) states that “much of the current thinking of reading tends to focus primarily on the purpose of the activities even if reading is done for pleasure, it is still purposeful.”
In general the purpose of reading is classified into (1) getting general information from the text, (2) getting specific information from the text, and (3) reading for pleasure or for interest. This classification is implemented into the development of different reading skills, for examples are skimming, scanning, reading between the lines, etc. These reading skills are needed in real life when people read different kinds of reading materials such as newspaper, brochure, recipes, story book, letters, etc. So that, the importance of authentic reading materials to be used in the classroom in order to develop student’s reading skill is needed.
In, in classroom practice, the reading activities are divided into three interrelated stages, i.e. pre-reading activities, whilst-reading activities, and post-reading activities (William: 1984, Wallace: 1988, Wallace: 1972) cited in Materi Pelatihan PKG-SJ Bahasa Inggris book (2003:1). In these stages, the integration of the four language skills could be seen:
1. Pre-reading activities
The objectives of this stage are commonly:
a. To introduce and arouse interest in the topic
b. To motivate learners by giving reasons for reading
c. To provide some language preparation for the text
The objective of pre-reading should be relevant with the type of text being taught. Providing language preparation does not intend to make teachers explain every single words and structure used in the text, but it helps learners to some extend avoid feeling frustrated by language carrier.
Sofian (2000:18) defines that various ways can be done in motivating students to be ready to start the lesson. Teacher might use pictures, maps, graphs, or any media that might arouse student attention and interest toward the topic.
2. Whilst-reading activities
In general, this stage aims at helping learners to develop their reading strategies/skills so that they can be effective and independent readers.
The development of reading skill mostly occurs in this stage. To be effective readers, students should be able to:
a. Scan (glance at the text to get specific information)
b. Skim (glance at the text to get the gist of the text)
c. Read between the lines
d. Read intensively for detailed information
e. Detect references
f. Deducing meaning from context
3. Post reading activities
The post-reading stage (text-related task) is intended as a kind of follow up activity. In this level students need to consolidate or reflect upon what has been read. They need to relate the content or idea of the text to their own knowledge, interest, or views.
Homolova (2004) states that “In general, we can say that the profile of a good language teacher is created by his/her personal qualities, pedagogic skills and the level of language competence. Recent years have seen attention being given to one specific quality in the teacher’s profile–creativity. The importance of creative approach to everyday teaching practice is a special attention to using authentic materials in the classroom.”
Ability to choose and develop teaching materials for foreign language teacher is very fundamental because of some reasons, one of them is in teaching foreign language or second language, the role of authentic teaching material is huge in order to get the aim that would be reached successfully (Hamied, dkk, 1994:248).
(Block, 1991) cited in Miller (1996:31) gives teacher three good reasons for preparing their own materials:
1. Their materials may have a local context to allow learners to focus on language –use rather than battling them with strange contexts;
2. Materials produced in-house can be easily updated;
3. Students appreciate the personal much of their teacher in materials produced specifically for them.
Homolova (2004) states that “Authentic materials can provide resources for ESL/EFL teachers and offer them the opportunity to expose learners to materials produced for real life and out-of classroom context. By authentic material we understand materials with “real” language.”
Authentic materials can make English "come alive" for students of all ages in interesting and fun ways. Authentic materials are good tools for language teaching and learning because they are interesting. Guidelines for choosing authentic materials include the following:
1. They are of interest to the age group
2. They contain examples of the point of the lesson
3. They are in a style of English learners will hear and use
4. They are available locally
5. And, they are of good quality (in both picture and sound)
Gebhard (1996:100) states that basically, authentic materials include anything that is used as a part of communication. There is a partial list of some authentic materials EFL / ESL teachers have used.
1. Authentic Listening/Viewing Materials
Authentic Listening/Viewing Materials such as silent films, TV commercials, quiz shows, cartoons, news, and movies, radio news, dramas, professionally audio taped short stories, novels, pop, rock, country, folk, and children’s songs, home video; documentaries, sales pitches.
2. Authentic Visual Materials
Authentic Visual Materials such as slides; photographs, painting, sketches, drawings by children, stick-figure drawings, wordless street signs, silhouettes, calendar pictures, pictures from travel, news, and popular magazines, stamps.
3. Authentic Printed Materials
Authentic Printed Materials such as newspaper articles, advertisements, cartoon, science, history books, short stories, novels, books of photographs, lyrics to popular folk children’s songs, restaurant menus, street signs, post cards, currency, cereal boxes, story book; comic books, greeting cards.
4. Realia Used in EFL / ESL Classroom
Realia Used in EFL / ESL Classroom such as puppets, currency, key rings, scissors, folded paper, toothpaste, tooth brush, combs, stuffed, toy animals, wall clocks.
Nuttall (1996:25) gives three main criteria when choosing texts to be used in the classroom suitability of content, exploitability and readability.
Suitability of content
Suitability of content can be considered to be the most important of the three, in that the reading material should interest the students as well as be relevant to their needs. The texts should motivate as well as.
Here, the teacher may have to find out the texts that interest most of the students, so that it will not actually bore them. Then, beside of that, when the teacher chooses the material is not only interesting and informative for the students, but also worth spending time on.
When the teacher chooses the text it should be better if she or he discover that the text will tell the students things they don’t already know; introduce them to new and relevant ideas, make them think about things they haven’t thought before; help them to understand the way other people feel or think; and make them want to read for themselves.
Exploitability refers to how the text can be used to develop the students’ competence as readers. The term exploitation here means as facilitation of learning. A text that can not be exploited for teaching purposes has no use in the classroom. Just because it is in English does not mean that it can be useful.
Considering that reading for different purposes, the teacher should choose texts that can be used for different purposes. A text might be chosen because it offers new language structures, information needed for learning lessons, and new vocabulary.
Readability is used to describe the combination of structural and lexical difficulty of a text, as well as referring to the amount of new vocabulary and any new grammatical forms present. It is important to assess the right level for the right students.
If the teacher does not know the students well, the teacher will need to find out about them as soon as possible. The teacher must find out how much language they know when the teacher selects suitable texts.
The use of authentic materials in teaching learning process will make the students understand the lesson clearly and easily. Here, the writer focuses on teaching reading comprehension of the narrative text by using Indonesian folktales. In conducting the research, the write would like to use authentic printed materials, which are story books about folktale in her teaching.
G. Frame of concept
Teaching reading is very important in order to make students master in English. Students need to be introduced with as many reading materials as possible, because in the future it will help them to get many information and knowledge by the language. Therefore, the appropriate media for teaching is also needed to increase student’s interest or motivate and improve their attitude toward English learning.
In learning reading comprehension, the students are expected to comprehend a text. Interesting materials is one of the creative ways of teaching that can increase the student’s interest. Authentic materials are useful for this case. It also helps the students understand the lesson easily.
Using a variety of effective text will increase the student’s interest to learn English, as stated by Berardo (2006:64) that “The wide variety of different types of text means that it will interest the learner and may even encourage further reading or reading for pleasure”. For the research, the writer uses authentic printed material that is story book for children; folktales as the other sources for teaching reading comprehension of narrative text besides the textbook as the guideline of the topic that will learn. The material is also will be supported by the teaching techniques of reading and technology media in order to reach the purpose of reading. They are pre-reading activities, whilst-reading activities, and post reading activities. Sofian (2007:12) defines “Technology, such as OHP, slides, video and audio tape recorders, video cameras, and computers, supports instruction/learning”.
In doing presentation the material, the first must be done is to collect and select the suitable authentic printed material which related to kind of text they are going to learn. To illustrate, the teacher may present story book that entitled “Batu Ballah ”. The narrative text belongs to this book and it contains the structure of the text (Orientation, Complication, and Resolution) and social functions includes vocabularies which related to the narrative text such as describing characteristic, expressing time or sequence, expressing cause and effect, etc. that can be learned by the students. The teacher introduces the topic then chooses a key word related to student’s ideas, interest or current studies. As the brainstorming, the teacher shows story books then asks the students to think of ideas that might be related to the topic (Folktales), and classified the new words in categories that the students suggest.
Then, by showing the authentic material (a story book), the teacher asks the students to see the picture in the book. In order to help the students clear enough to see the picture and the words in it, the teacher use slides in the classroom. The teacher gives information what the teacher going to do with the materials. The teacher asks the students to look at the text, but no read it, then ask them to say anything that they can about it, then the teacher give some questions based on the text but they do not need to read the text.
The teacher read aloud the text in each page that could be seen clearly enough by using slides as other media, and then followed by the students. Before being able to skim, scan, read for through comprehension, students need chances to practice building knowledge of sentence structure and vocabulary. The teacher asks students do activities to develop their skills to scan the text; students read the text by themselves, then they circling the unfamiliar words. After that, they briefly discus what they circled then followed by the teacher’s explanation about the structure of text. Then, after students have a sense of what the reading materials is about, they read silently while answering comprehension questions.
H. Method of research
1. Form of research
In carrying out a research, it is necessary to describe the method used to achieve the goal. The appropriate method to be used here is pre-experimental method, because the writer wants to try the authentic materials in increasing the student’s comprehend on reading text.
The form of pre-experimental study that will be applied by the writer can be seen as follows:
X1 T X2
Pre-test Treatment Post-test
X1 is pre-test, pre-test given before the teaching or treatment is applied. The purpose is to know the student’s pre condition to the reading comprehension. T considered as treatment given. X2 is known as post-test. After having treatment, the researcher will conduct post-test to know the achievement after the treatment was given.
Using this form of research is the influence of experimental treatment can be seen by analysing or comparing the result of pre-test and post-test.
2. Population and Sample
Nawawi (1991) stated that “Population is the whole objects of research which may consist of human beings, things, phenomenon, animals, and plants, test score or even whose characteristic are the data source in the research.”
Sample is a part of population that is used by the researcher as a subject “If the population is less than 100, it is better to take all of them. On the other hand, if the population is more than 100, we take as a sample about 10 -15 % or 20 – 25 %.” (Arikunto, 1993)
For this research, the writer takes 20% of the population as the sample; the researcher randomly takes class E consist of 38 students as the sample cluster.
3. Technique and tool of data collecting
In this research, a measurement technique will be applied to measure the student’s ability. The tools of test will be administered twice. First, pre-test to collect the data before pre-experiment is given. So that, the writer will know the students pre-condition before pre-experiment. The second one is post-test, that is to collect the data after the pre- experimental treatment is given. For tool the data collecting the writer will use multiple choice tests. The test in this research consists of 40 items.
In this research, the preparation and implementation are making the lesson plan, selecting the authentic material based on the topic, preparing the reading comprehension test for pre-test and post-test, analysing the validity of the test, making t-test and constructing the test items.
I. Data analysis planning
1. Try out :
a. Formula for measurement
To find out the students individual score of pre-test and post-test the formula is applied.
A = ------ x 100 %
Note: A : the students individual score of the
S : the right answer
N : the total number of items
b. Test validity
Validity is important notion in the test evaluations. The test is valid if it measures what it is supposed to measure. Validity however is not property of the test itself; a test will not be valid for all purposes and for all groups. It is essential for test use to define precisely what information they wish to obtain from a test before they can decide whether or not it is valid (Leeman,1981) cited in Nini, 1996:32.
c. Item analysis
The students must answer a fixed percentage (usually 70-88 percent) of items correctly. Scores above the cut off point or scores are assigned a grade of “pass”, “satisfactory”, or “mastery”, while those below it are assigned a grade of “fail”, “unsatisfactory”, or ”lack of mastery”(Bloom, 1981:108). The item analysis of level difficulty and discriminating power, the writer will use:
a. The formula to determine the level of difficulty of each item is :
HG + LG
LD = -------------
Note: LD : Level of Difficulty
HG : High Group
LG : Low Group
N : Number of Students
The criteria used to classify item are:
Level of Difficulty (LD)
Minus to 0,19
0,30 to 0,49
0,50 to 0,79
0,80 to 0,92
Revised or discarded
b. The formula to determine the discriminating power of each item is :
HG + LG
DP = -------------
The criteria used to classify item are:
Discriminating Power (DP)
Minus to 0,19
0,20 to 0,29
0,30 to 0,39
0,40 to up
Bad or discarded
2. Test administered
a. Pre-test and Post-test
The mean score is the sum of individual score divided by the total number of individual.
The mean score are also called the average score can be formulated as follows:
_ ∑ X
X = -------
Note : _
X : the mean score
∑ X : the sum of individual scores
N : the total numbers individuals
Adopted from Ary, Donald (1979:103)
The criteria used in the student’s average score of pre-test and post-test:
Good to excellent
60 – 79
Average to good
50 – 59
Poor to average
0 - 49
( David P.Harris, 1969: 134)
b. Mean Interval
To find out the student’s interval score of post-test and pre-test, the writer applies X2 – X1. Whole X2 is the mean score of post-test and X1 is the mean score of pre-test.
The difference of the result scores between post-test and pre-test is assumed as the effect of treatment or experiment (Ary, Donald, 1979:105).
To find out the effectiveness of using authentic materials in teaching reading comprehension, the writer using the formula of t-test is:
t = -----------------------
∑ D 2 - ---------
N (N – 1)
Note: t : the t- value for correlated means
D : the difference between the paired scores
D : the mean of differences
∑ D2 : the sum of squared difference scores
N : the number of pairs
Adopted from Ary, Donald (1979:150)
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