Background of the study
The purpose of this study is to investigate fourth graders’ learning experiences in using English as foreign language during the learning process in classroom context.
In the process of learning, learners need experience as a result of what they have been involved in that learning. Experience is gained by direct involvement or participation of an event. As stated by Kellough (1998 : 280) when students are involved in direct experiences, they are using more of their sensory input channels, their learning modalities (i.e., auditory, visual, tactile, kinesthetic); and when all the senses are engaged, learning is most effective, meaningful and longest lasting. Moreover, in the context of learning English as foreign language, experience in using English is essential to achieve effective, meaningful, and longest lasting learning. As the results, learners are able to use the language for their daily communication.
Experience will be better to gain when learning is done in early age. Curtain and Pesola (1988:3) stated that when language learning begins earlier, it can go on longer and provide more practice and experience, leading ultimately to greater fluency and effectiveness. This study was employed to pupils who have range age from 7 until 10 years old (concrete stages) (Curtain and Pesola, 1988). It is assumed that when they learn English from Primary School, they have more practice and experience. As supported by Curtain and Pesola (1988:3) the thinking skills of most children in elementary school foreign language programs are at the concrete stage, and experience plays a major role in all learning.
However, children learning English as a foreign language in Indonesian elementary school context face many serious challenges. One challenge relates to lack of social uses of the English language real-life situations which would likely involve children in their daily life (CREST, 2002 :3). The pupils have experience in using English only from classroom context. They are lack to face real English communication. Moon (2001:14) added that in the foreign language situation, the pupils depend almost entirely on the school for input. Consequently, the English learning experience in classroom context is very essential to support pupils’ practice and communication simulation.
For that reason, it is needed to conduct a study which is investigating whether learning experiences in our Primary School has accommodate pupils’ practice and simulation communication. The findings of this investigation are answered by describing learning experience from the classroom observation and categorizing data description.
Learning experience is the experience in using language during the learning time, which is formulated in simulation and practices. The learning experience is developed by practice and communication simulation done by learners. By doing so, they will get a clear picture or discourse understanding about the use of language. The examples of practice and simulation communication are achieved from the physical activities (i.e., hands on experience), as cited by CREST (2002:3) children learn by way of physical activities (i.e., hands on experiences) in the context of doing things embedded in their daily lives, both individually and socially. From that hands on experience Moon (2000:6) also explained that the use of songs, rhymes, poems, drama and classroom routine all help to give children access to ready-made bits of language so they can begin to communicate. Curtain and Pesola (1988:xiv) assumed that successful language learning for children is organized in the term of concrete experience; considerable planning should go into the use of visual, props and realia, and hands-on activities. Concrete experience from the use of visual, props and realia and hands-on activities are able to lead pupils attain their language learning goals. Curtain and Pesola also gives example of concrete experience, those are song, rhymes, finger play, props and Concrete Materials (dialogs, role play, small-group or pair work). In addition from previous study conducted by Ririt (2004) said that various learning experiences in English program will be developed through various kinds of material, activities, such as song, stories, games, reading text, and media.
It can be concluded that in this study by having practice (sing songs, do classroom routines, read text, play game) and communication simulation (dialog, role play), the pupils will be able to achieve the purpose of learning English as foreign language for young learner which is developing pupils’ communicative competence in language accompanying action in school context and developing pupils’ awareness of the importance of English in global community. It is stated on Standar Isi Kurikulum Muatan Lokal Bahasa Inggris Provinsi DKI Jakarta (2006).
“Mata pelajaran Bahasa Inggris di SD/MI bertujuan agar peserta didik memiliki kemampuan sebagai berikut: 1. Mengembangkan kompetensi berkomunikasi dalam bentuk lisan secara terbatas untuk mengiringi tindakan (language accompanying action) dalam konteks sekolah; 2. Memiliki kesadaraan tentang hakikat dan pentingnya Bahasa Inggris untuk menngkatkan daya saing bangsa dalam masyarakat global”
Standar Isi Kurikulum Muatan Lokal Bahasa Inggris Provinsi DKI Jakarta (2006) is a government policy which is listed the purpose of learning English for primary schools pupils in Jakarta.
However, there are some problems about the implementation of learning experience that the pupils get from the learning. They have unvaried activities; make them bored and not interested to the learning, have the learning activities but does not give experience (it is not hands on activities); and misconception to teach grammatical than convey the meaning of language message to children. Retrieved information from http://www.businessballs.com/experiental learning.htm, there is mentioned the differences between experiential learning and conventional training and teaching. The differences are in how the learning process happens. The example of conventional training, the learning are usually presented by power point presentation, chalk-and-talk classes, reading, attending lectures, exam study, observation, planning and hypothesising, theoretical work, unreal role-play. In other hand, experiential learning presents by physical activity, games, and exercises, drama and role-play which becomes real, actually doing the job or task, ‘outward bound’ activities, teaching others, hobbies, pastimes, and passions. Based on the importance and problems of learning experience, and requirement of government policy, this study is conducted to examine the fourth graders’ learning experiences in using English as foreign language during the learning process in classroom context.
The research questions of this study are:
- What kinds of learning experiences that pupils acquired to support their English practice and simulation?
- To what extend that learning experiences accommodate the pupils’ need?
Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study is to investigate fourth graders’ learning experiences in using English as foreign language during the learning process in classroom context
Method of the study
This study used a case study as its methodology. This study was carried out at four schools, SDN Cipinang Muara 14 Pagi East Jakarta, SDN Pisangan Timur 03 and 05 Pagi East Jakarta, SDN Pesanggrahan 06 Petang South Jakarta. The subjects of the study are fourth grader at each those schools. The research subject is pupils’ learning experiences in English classroom.
This study used classroom observation and teacher’ interview to gain the data. Class observation is used to provide description of learning activities then to be analyzed into what learning experiences. Teacher’ interview is used as the additional data of what in teacher’s plan and how the implementation of learning experiences happen in the classroom.
Significance of the study
This study is mainly to find out pupils’ learning experiences at Primary Schools. It gives a thick description of what kinds of learning experiences that pupils acquired during the learning process of English. This result will be beneficial as an input to the English teacher, school and the researcher itself; it gives the recent data about pupils’ English learning experiences at four grade of primary school.
Thus, it will be an input for those schools in developing their school curriculum and English Department of State University of Jakarta students who are interest in teaching English to young learner.
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