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             Engaging EFL Learners in Meaningful Communication

                                        Sri Suprapti
                         English Departmen, Faculty of Letters and Arts
                                  Semarang State University

This paper attempts to suggest a way to engage EFL learners in meaningful communication by
encouraging them to communicate their personally-felt opinions about a given issue presented in
a speaking course. It has long been known that textbooks produced by major English- speaking
countries mostly present EFL materials that depict western lifestyle, habit and custom which are
very much different from their real lives (Bariboon, 2007). The textbooks typically present
materials in the form of model dialogues followed by exercises in the form of (mini) role-plays
in which EFL learners are assumed to have various projected identities with situations
completely unfamiliar to them. Learners are people with their own lives, aspirations, needs,
worries, dreams and identities. This means, as van Lier (2007) suggests that they must have
something to say that is true to the self to each other and to the teacher in class that goes beyond
what are offered by a textbook that lies open on the same page at the same time on every desk.
Thus the traditional sequence of the language lesson usually referred to as “PPP” (Present-
Practice- Produce) is motivated by a textbook progression that may result in a sort of inert
knowledge that cannot be displayed productively in real life situations. To overcome this
problem, EFL teachers can employ meaning-focused output activities in their classroom to
facilitate learner-oriented discursive construction and meaningful communication.

Keywords: EFL materials, projected identities, meaning-focused output activities, discursive

All abstracts were handouts of International Seminar ‘Creative Strategies for Teaching English’
held by English Dept. of Unnes Semarang on 6 June 2009

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