PLANNING LESSONS IN OPTIMIZING THE LISTENING SKILL FOR 7TH GRADE AT THE FIRST SEMESTER IN SMPN 2 TANGERANG
By: Nurbaiti Eka Permanasari
Listening is the first skill that student achieved in the beginning of English lesson because it is naturally the first skill that young learners need to develop before they are ready to speak, read and write. The listening skill can be learnt integrating with others skills in teaching and learning process. The teachers must have strategies in delivering the lesson that relate to their needs, interests, and abilities. By using authentic materials and situation in listening activities encourage their comprehension on the language learning and for their long term communicative goals. The listening lesson is not ended by doing the tasks from books, cassette, or CDs, the students should practice a lot after learning in the classroom and do the listening project to help them be autonomous learners.
English has become a tool of communication these days besides Bahasa Indonesia. It had been learnt from kindergarten level to university level. For English teachers to achieve successful in teaching is to have good planning in teaching the lesson. Planning lesson is an important part in teaching and learning process and it is a key point to have successful in delivering the lesson. Richards and Renandya (2002) while the teachers do planning phase, they have to decide about goals/ objectives, learning activities, resources, timing, grouping and other aspect of the lesson. It can cover the material that is interesting to the students and engages them in learning process. When they are interested and engaged to the lesson, their ability to learn and master new vocabulary and other functions is much higher. The teachers have to plan the lesson in optimizing the learning of EFL. Successful lesson in which students are enjoy and understand in learning with a good lesson plan that helps the teachers. The teachers have to decide what the teachers want to teach, how the teacher teach the lesson or the course and what material and classroom management techniques are needed.
In addition, a good lesson plan should have forms the outcome of the lesson, helps the teacher to be as effective as possible and includes varied activities. However, in making lesson plan sometimes the teachers have to make the syllabus first that contains of numbers of activities and topic of lesson for two semesters in a year. The teachers have to decide what kinds of activities and language focus that are really meaningful for students based on the time that been given to divide as much as the course in a year.
It is impossible for the teachers that teach their students without making preparation especially making lesson plan. The teachers sometimes ask students to open their books and do the task in the book without explaining the course and the language focus that the students must achieve in the end of the lesson, this situation happens in our country these days. The teachers do not optimize their role as a teacher to bring their students to the real world and give their needs when they are studying in the classroom. It can cause many bad things to the students; the teachers seemed do not have responsible to the students what lesson they should receive, what activities they should do in the classroom, what kind of objective that they achieve after learning the lesson. The lesson will be boring and the students are not interested with the lesson. If this situation happens continuously to the students without any warning to the teachers or the school, the worst result is the end of the education in this country.
Listening is the first skill that students have achieved in the first of the English lesson especially to learn new expression or new vocabulary. The students have to know how to pronounce the expression or the vocabulary so they have to concentrate when they are listening them. Sometimes they listen from the teacher voice or from the CD / cassette. Then, they have to exposure what they have learnt inside and outside the classroom because it is not enough if they just depend only on English lesson from a course book or CD that they listen in the classroom. The teachers also must have some effective strategies in delivering the listening lesson.
Based on the issue that always find in the classroom above, the writer try to find out the solution to make the teachers and the students could do their role collaboratively in the classrooms.
The writer will start from the description of the class that wants to teach. It is 7th grade students of SMPN 2 Tangerang that consists of 10 classes and 42 students each class. They belong to large class so the writer tries to find out the teaching strategy and activities that fit with students. The 7th grade students is young learner students or adolescents, before making the lesson plan it is better for us to know their characteristic so we know their needs, interest and abilities. According to Harmer Adolescents is bound up, after all, with a pronounced search for identity and need for self-esteem; adolescents need to feel good about themselves and valued. They are often seen as problem students. Most of them understand the need for learning and, with the right goals, can be responsible enough to do what is asked them. Based on the description of adolescents that the teacher’s job is to engage the students with the materials which relevant and involving to the learning activities. The teachers must encourage them to have the real experience and situation to have communication competence as stated in the curriculum. After knowing their characteristic, the teachers can easily choose what kind materials and activities that fit with them.
The next step is classroom management, it is really important considered in teaching the course. The school has large classes; it can be seen from the number of students in each class. There are some points that the teachers should notice in classroom management: first is arranging the classroom; for the large number class the desk arrangement is not flexible. However, it can be solved by considering the tasks and the goals. The goals that adapted from McIntyre are: promoting attention and minimizing distractions, providing structure, access and orderliness, and making efficient use of limited space. The teacher could arrange the desk based on the activities that are needed. So, the teacher could move around to every student and the students could move without disturbing others. Second is grouping the students; the teacher could use the grouping the students that relates to students’ learning activities which are pair work and group work. It will help teacher if the time is limited. Third is giving instructions; the teachers should give clear instructions to the students whether the instructions are related to the lesson or not. It is to save the time and avoid confusion which the instructions and directions are useful in the real communication. Fourth is eliciting from students; eliciting means getting information, ideas, etc about the topic or the language item that is going to be learned by asking the students questions about the topic and allowing them to share what they already know. The fifth is correction errors; how the teachers give correction from students’ mistake and help them to find the right answer because mistake is part of learning process. The last is managing student behavior; it is an important part in good classroom management, how the teacher could deal with the students’ behavior. If the teacher could handle the students that they can cooperative and in control the whole class will be productive and all students can learn well.
Moreover, in planning lesson the teachers should put the critical thinking skills because teaching is not just about “transfer” the knowledge. The effective lessons are those that cause the students to think. Educational researchers conclude that there are nine categories of effective teaching strategies for increasing students’ critical thinking skills (Marzano, Pickering, and Pollock, 2003). They are identifying similarities and differences, summarizing, reinforcement, focused homework, nonlinguistic presentation, cooperative/collaborative learning, goal-setting and feedback, generating and testing hypotheses and using cues and questions. These categories could be put in the students’ tasks, so they have critical thinking skill while learning the lesson.
The objective of listening skill in 7th grade based on the Curriculum 2006 is the students are able:
- Understand the meaning of simple transactional and interpersonal conversation to interact with the close community.
- Understand the meaning of simple and short functional text to interact with the close community. (Adapted from Standar Kompetensi Bahasa Inggris SMP, Permendiknas No.22 tahun 2006).
Moreover, Tessa Woodward (2001) points out about the objective listening skill; when listening, one has to be able to:
- Recognize sounds, words and phrases
- Get the general idea, remember salient points and predict what’s coming next
- Understand the discourse type or genre you’re listening to
- Get used to listening to different types of people for differing lengths of time
- Screen out what you’re not interested in and focus on what you are interested in
- Deal with accents and dialects
- Interpret a message against a background of expectations and respond accordingly.
From these objectives, the writer could have point of view about what kind materials and activities that students must get and achieve.
English lesson in the 7th grade of SMP has 32 meetings x 40 minutes/ hour. There are four skills that have to teach in English lesson. It means that listening skill has 8 meetings x 40 minutes in one semester. There are four units in the textbooks that students must learn. In these four units, listening skill has to learn integrated with other skills; speaking, reading and writing. Listening skill is useful for students and could be learnt by integrating of learning activities. As Harmer (2007) said skill integration is a major factor in lesson planning. Many general English courses are designed to involve students in all four skills. Moreover, Schwartz (1998) points out that listening is the language modality that is used most frequently. It has been estimated that adults spend almost half their communication time listening, and students may receive as much as 90% of their in-school information through listening to instructors and to one another. Based on the theories, listening could teach and learn integrated with other skills that relate to the topic and contents in every unit.
To optimize the lesson plan of listening skill, the writer has some strategies in teaching listening to the students. The strategies are classroom management that the writer discuss earlier, including critical thinking in the students tasks, using authentic materials and situation to bring the real experience in the classroom, using visual media such as pictures, facial expressions, movements, and mimes to support listening activities, and songs, poems, short story, real objects, etc can be used in the listening activities. Furthermore, in the listening there are three stages; pre-listening, in/while listening and post listening. Based on Woodward (2001) in pre-listening, students are prepared for listening by getting them interested in the topic, discussing what words may come up; in the while-listening students do the listening and work on the allotted tasks that are designed to make the listening easier; in the post-listening the students do evaluation, discussion of the topic of the text or practice the language encountered in the text. These stages could be completed by some activities such as:
- Listening songs to teach new vocabularies and grammars.
- Dictation some words to teach their spelling, sounds, concentrate, and writing.
- Listen and repeat types can be fun while motivating to learn English (Scott and Ytreberg,1990)
- Reading story and repeat then telling the story.
- Responding and commands using TPR
By giving various activities in every meeting of listening course, it will make students feel meaningful and have the real experience, develop their abilities in focusing the information and raising their awareness to the information that they hear so that they can learn to respond appropriately and participate in real conversation. After they learning listening skill, the learning process has not over yet. The students have to continue the process of learning outside the classroom which is they have to be autonomous learners. The teacher could ask them to listen some of English listening genres like radio and television program, announcement in the airport, in the harbour or in the cinema, telephone customer service, etc. These can be their listening project to figure out how they understand the meaning of text that close with their community. After that they can compare their project with their friends to get reflection and feedback what they have done before.
To achieve successful in language teaching and learning not only in Junior high school level but also in all level of education, the teachers must have a good planning in the course. Where the teachers want students bring to, it is the successful or the failure. The teachers have to consider some points and strategies in delivering the lesson. The teachers have to put consideration to students’ characteristics; about their needs, interests and their abilities. After that, classroom management; arranging the classroom, grouping students, giving instruction, eliciting from students, correcting errors and managing students behavior. Listening is crucial subject to learn because the students must develop it before they learn other skills and it can also be integrated with other skills in teaching and learning process. Next, the teachers have to link the materials with their surroundings such as using the authentic materials and situations in listening activities and give them meaningful listening activities. After doing listening activities in the classroom, the students should have listening activities outside the classroom. Therefore, the teachers have to give tasks or listening project to the students. It will encourage them to improve their listening skill and achieve the goal of listening competence. It also helps them to become autonomous learners and have self-esteem in communication.
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