Communicative language activity is one type of language teaching activity which has interactional function from language aspect. Thus, as mentioned in the Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Rendah (KBSR), the interactional functions which specified in the KBSR are learning the polite speech forms, exchanging greetings, request and offer assistance, making suggestions and expressing one feels and opinions which related to the students personal beliefs or experiences.
Learning English as second language is difficult if someone learn it without knowing the function of the language itself. For example, learning language in secondary school’s lesson should have the social functions where the student can use the language that they are learning in classroom and apply it in their daily life. If the teacher focused more on this language’s function, so student will know the importance of learning secondary language (English) in school.
So this activity of teaching language to the students has three elements which are compulsory for the activity to take place during the English language teaching. Firstly, is the information gap. The information gap happens when the student has information which another student does not have, so there is a need to ask questions and exchange information. Secondly is called feedback, which the students will answer the questions asked accordingly and to know whether the student have asked the right question. And the last one is choice which referring to the students choice to use language in order to answer the questions.
In completing this task, I have across several obstacles from the beginning. The first problem is to choose a suitable topic for the communicative activity. My group was having the problem because we did not understand what we should do in the first place. So we ask our ELE 3102 subject’s lecturer, Mr Faharol Razi to help us. During the discussion with my group members and from the help of Mr. Faharol we decided to carry out a simple learning activity in the class. In the learning activity, there will be someone to act as a teacher. The teacher will conduct a lesson about writing and the focus of the writing is narrative essay on Hari Raya Aidilfitri topic. Teacher will ask questions to the students and students will answer it. They have to speak up about Hari Raya based on their experiences.
The second problem occurred when we executed this activity in the classroom with our classmate. In our early planning, we thought that only our group member will run the the activity, meaning that we will act but using the whole class to make it like real situations or simulations. But when the activity started, we got participations from the other students which are way out of our plan but because we have to finish the presentation so our group continues and finishes the activity.
After the presentation, Mr. Faharol told us that the activity we have just carried on has to be improved because of several weaknesses. First, the activity that my group had presented was a teacher-centered learning activity. It was because the teacher’s participation has overcome the student’s. This cannot be seen as a communicative language activity. Furthermore, there were not many opportunities given to the students to speak up because the teacher will interrupts the students with questions before the students have the chance to finish.
We took Mr Faharol advice and come up with several corrections to improve the planned communicative activity. First, we changed the teacher-centered learning activities to the student-centered learning activities so they can use this communicative activity to learn English as functional activity. In this activity, the teacher should encourage all students’ participations by dividing the students to several groups. Each student will discuss about the Hari Raya topic in their group where they will speak up freely based on their experience and share information by asking questions. During the discussion, the teacher can monitor the students and provides help if necessary because in communicative activities, teacher’s roles are as a facilitator.
If there were errors during the discussion, they are to be tolerated because the main purpose of the communicative activity is for the students to be able to take part in communication rather than examination. However, teacher should correct them at the end of the session so the students will add new vocabulary in their mind.
As a conclusion, the communicative activity gives other meanings to the secondary students to learn language in social interaction’s context which consist of three important elements which is information gap, feedback and choices. By using this type of activities, teacher should know the best approach to apply such as student-centered approach so that the purpose of studying the English language as functional language is succeded.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010