Aptitude and Language Learning

Everybody has an innate ability to master languages. However, one has different aptitude in the process and the progress of that language mastery. This is the fact that everyone speed in catching up language is individually isolated and various. Some pupils master language very fast but others learn language in a normal speed. The other pupils, in fact, learn language very slowly. The latter, accordingly, needs the longer opportunity compared with those having the normal and faster speed in language learning.

In the process of language learning, not all pupils realize that they have different aptitude in the learning process. Most of the pupils assume that everybody has equal aptitude in the learning process. Most of the pupils assume that everybody has equal aptitude in the learning. The assumption becomes more sophisticated when their teachers also have the same assumption to the students’ aptitude. As a result, they will give the same treatment to all students in the class; never mind whether their students are fast or slow learners. And finally, both the students and the teachers agree to vote that ones have excellent aptitude to those who learn very fast and others are stupid or in-aptitude to those who are very slow in language learning.

Usually, the terms aptitude and in-aptitude cause significant effects to language learners. Students who feel aptitude will be well motivated to learn. But on the contrary, those who feel in-aptitude will be less motivated and even become frustrated to study. They will be reluctant to study hard by reasoning that even though they have tried many they will get the same results. This is since they are in-aptitude.

Actually, the slow learner students must have different strategy to study language from those who learn fast. They should be aware that they are different from the fast learners. They may spend the longer times to comprehend language materials; thus they need the longer times too to study. Consequently, they must be more patient than those who fast learn. However, this is very difficult to come into being. The slow learners like to spend the same time as the fast learners. They not stay at school when they finish studying early. They are reluctant to join discussion to sharp their knowledge. They never go to library and more like to gossip or just chat with friends, through they have opportunity to do. This is the fact that house who are active in discussion are the fast learners not the slow ones. Then, when they fail in the study they just say that they are in aptitude to study language. The saying can be true because they are impatient to study not because they are in aptitude.

Since aptitude concerns with language learning processes, student should make a lot efforts. They should do a lot because it can be manipulated. Report in researches say that in aptitude students are able to master language well because they have unmatched patient. They always study hard and consult with their teachers when they find difficulties. they absolutely proactive to confirm to all who are able to solve their problems. finally, they enjoy their efforts in a fairly short time. And they become skillful in using language as the skills of the fast learners.

To understand whether students have good aptitude or not, teachers may conduct an aptitude test. Aptitude test is administered to measure students’ aptitude for learning. In language study it can be used to predict what kind of performance expected to be mastered by students. David P. Harris (1969) suggests that at the time of speaking, the examinees may have little or no knowledge of the language to be studied, and the test is employed to assess their potential. Thus, it can be administered for those or common people who know nothing. And when they have been joining language classes, it is useful to determine the following level of difficulties, materials, and students’ grades.

Harmer (2001) says some students are better at learning languages than others. At least that is the generally held view, and in the 1950s and 1960s it crystallized around the belief that is was possible to predict a student’s future progress on the basis of linguistic aptitude test. But it immediately became apparent that such tests were inconsistent in a number of ways. They did not appear to assess anything than general intellectual capability even though they apparently looked for linguistic talents. Further, they favored analytic type learners over their more ‘holistic’ counterparts, so that the tests were especially suited for people who have little trouble doing grammar focused tasks. Those with a more ‘general’ view of things – whose analytical capabilities are not so highly developed, and who receive and use language in a more message oriented way – appeared to be at a disadvantage. In fact, analytic aptitude is probably not the critical factor in success. Quoting Peter Skehan he says that what distinguishes exceptional students from the rest is that they have unusual memories, particularly for the retention of things that they hear.

Harmer (2001) says that another damning criticism of traditional aptitude tests is that while they may distinguishing between the most and the least ‘intelligent’ students they are less effective at distinguishing between the majority of students who fall between these two extremes. What they do carry out is to influence the way in which both teachers and students behave. It has been suggested that students who score badly on aptitude tests will become de-motivated and that this will then contribute to precisely the failure that the test predicted. And teachers who know that particular students have achieved high scores will be tempted to treat those students differently from students whose score was low. Aptitude tests end up being self-fulfilling prophecies whereas it would be much better for both teacher and students to be optimistic about all of the people in the class.

From the reviews above, it is clear that there is absolutely no aptitude and in aptitude students. All students must be aware that this is their business to be successful in the language learning. But, those who feel slow in learning, in fact, should revitalize their ability to pursue their success by studying a lot. This way may produce optimistic students to achieve the better result in language learning. (F)

Written by : Mr. Ruwandi, MA

Uploaded by : Ms. Marisa Fran Lina , S.PdI

GIVING FEEDBACK

By TPBI Newsletter

Giving Feedback, it’s important for the fostering of good teacher-students relationships

Penny Ur. (1996:242) defines FEEDBACK as “Information … given to the learner about his or her performance of a learning task, usually with the objective of improving this performance”. This definition implies the understanding that consciously the teacher makes some efforts to judge the students’ language and then gives comments for the good of the students’ language production. What is the different then between CORRECTION and FEEDBACK? Correction means to solely give comments on students’ errors while feedback means to give comments on things that are right and also shows a positive attitude to error-making as a useful part of learning.

Giving feedback requires the teacher to first of all realize that it is common for each student to make mistake and students may learn better from the mistakes they make. When the students do not feel threatened by the teacher’s positive attitude toward their mistakes the supportive atmosphere is created and the students are highly motivated to learn language. What kinds of feedback are given after students finish their language tasks?

CONTENT FEEDBACK AND FORM FEEDBAK

The main purpose of a language task is to make the students better able to communicate using the target language. That is why the first thing that the teacher should pay attention to is the information conveyed in the students languages. The teacher should carefully consider whether the contents of the students’ sentences are appropriate to the task. For example when the task is for the students to discuss the Independent Day and one of the students says “well, we had our independent day on the early August 1945” the teacher then says “do you mean in the middle of August” since 17th August is not anymore early August this teacher is said to give content feedback. Meanwhile, when another student says “Mr. Soekarno proclaim the Independent of Indonesia on behalf of the nation …” and the teacher then says “be careful with your verb” this teacher is giving form feedback. This teacher wants the student to produce the correct form of the verb ‘proclaim’ which should be changed to ‘proclaimed’ because it happened in the past.

WHEN AND HOW IS FEEDBACK GIVEN?

Many experts say that the most highly valued classroom activity is giving feedback because many researches show that students expect feedback from teachers. It is recommended that teachers give feedback without delay since students can easily remember the feedback when they are still in the context of the lesson. Even though it is not fruitless to give postponed feedback but it is will take some extra energy for the students to remember what exactly did they say and do in the previous lesson.

The aim of the task is the first consideration on when teachers shall give feedback. If the aim of the task is fluency, or the content of the students’ sentences is more important than the form, teachers should wait until students finished the task. However, if the aim of the task is accuracy, or the form of the students’ sentences is more important than the content, teachers are suggested to give feedback directly after they find some errors in students’ sentences. Some ways of giving content feedback are as follow:

 Acknowledging a correct answer

 The teacher says, e.g.: “Good”, “Yes”, “That’s right”, “Fine”, etc

 Indicating an incorrect answer

 The teacher says, e.g.: “No, that’s not quite right.”

 Praising

 The teacher compliments, e.g.: “Yes, that’s an excellent answer”, etc.

 Expanding or modifying an answer

 The teacher adds more information or rephrases.

 Repeating

 The teacher repeats the student’s answer

 Summarizing

 The teacher gives a summary of what the student or group has said.

 Criticizing

 The teacher openly criticizes what the student has said

(taken from: Richard&Lockhart. Reflective Teaching in Second Language Classroom. 1994. CUP)

Whereas some ways of giving form feedback are as follow:

  • Asking the student to repeat what he/she has said. (When he/she is still unable to process the correct form, stop doing it and directly show the correct form)
  • Pointing out the error and asking the students to self-correct
  • Commenting on the error and explaining why it is wrong
  • Asking another student to correct the error.
  • Using a gesture to indicate that an error has been made.

If teachers think it’s important to do both content and form feedback, content feedback comes before form feedback.

SUGGESTIONS FOR BETTER FEEDBACK

Teacher are expected not to confuse the students when they are giving feedback by:

  • Avoiding imprecise feedback, very often it is not enough just to say the correct version.
  • Being consistent (always correct errors no matter who say it)
  • Only connecting errors made within the limit of the students’ language level (It is not necessary to ask the students to think of something, which they haven’t learnt.
  • Focus on errors that impede communication of meaningful discourse (if students are able to perform the task do not interrupt the activity to correct and praise because it will disrupt the flow of the task.

TOOLS FOR GIVING FEEDBACK

To ease your way to give feedback below are tools that you may use:

  • Pen and Paper: You can just random note or organize what you’ve found during the task monitoring.
  • Tape Recorder: Record the discussion and play it back so that students are able to self-correct their mistakes afterwards.
  • Video: The students are able to watch themselves and may focus on both content and form feedback.

GLOSSARY

to foster (verb) : memperkuat

consciously (adverb) : secara sadar

solely (adv.) : hanya/sekedar

attitude (noun) : sikap

to be conveyed (passive verb) : tercakup

on behalf of … (idiom) : atas nama …

delay (noun) : penundaan

fruitless (adj.) : tidak bermanfaat

fluency (noun) : kefasihan

accuracy (noun) : ketepatan

to acknowledge (verb) : mengakui

to praise (verb) : memuji

imprecise (adj.) : tidak tepat

to impede (verb) : menghalangi

to disrupt (verb) : mengganggu

afterwards (adv.) : sesudahnya

written by : Mr. Ruwandi, MA

uploaded by: Marisa Fran Lina, S.PdI

(F)

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING CULTURE IN STUDYING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE

A foreign student should be familiar with the life, thought, and culture of the native people whose language he is learning, because foreign language learning can help build the spirit of international understanding and friendliness, which is essential to achieving world peace. According to W.M Rivers the foreign language should be learned in a close association as practicable with the culture of the country where it is spoken.

Students should be warned of the exciting differences between the cultures of different nations. They must realize that things familiar to one nation may be unheard of among people of other countries.

The second language learning involves the process of transferring cultural patterns of their source language to the target language. And this is the area where misunderstandings and even helplessness in interpretation occurs.

Culture is the “way of people”. These ways might be highly commended by several people who share that culture; while for others these might be repulsive, or even barbaric. Occasionally, like an Englishman, one might use understatement and say “Well, it’s very nice but it is not my cup of tea”. For others, these ways appear to constitute an area of darkness. Cultural problems in language learning sometimes arise because of this infrastructure of preconceived and hidebound nations. You cannot learn a new language unless you have a sympathetic understanding of the cultural setting of that language.

Cross cultural misunderstanding also arises if a person from an alien culture misinterprets a complex pattern when it has a different meaning across cultures.

Another source of misunderstanding arises, when foreign culture is approaches with preconceived nations, for example with the sort of ideas one get from a film- the result is not only misinformation and misunderstanding but also avoidable stresses and strains.

Simple terms in a friendly letter, such as ‘with love’, ‘ yours ever’ and so on are likely to be completely understood in the light of idea one gets from films and land those whose culture is, essentially different from the culture of a native speaker of English in a very embarrassing situation.

Misunderstanding of the culturally- determined bases for the reaction of the foreign people can develop in the students contempt for and hostility toward the speakers of the language they are learning.

1.      Informality and equality

The visitor to America is often surprised by the easy relationship between parent and children. By some, it’s regarded as weakness, locking firm, authoritarian live of control. But to those who understand the history of the country and how its entire social system developed, the informality is right understood as idealism in practice, or “democracy in actions”, the rights of the individual balanced by his responsibility in the family.

In Indonesian family, on the other hand, the parents-children relationship is formal. Children have to respect their parents in such a way; parents have a full command in family.

2.      Family life

The American family is small-two parents and their children. In Indonesia the family includes many other families under the same roof: grandparents, uncles and aunts, and their long distances relatives. But in America when two people is marry, they form a new unit of family, which is socially and financially independent. And still they have a strong abound to the rest of their big family.

written by : Mr. Ruwandi, MA

uploaded by: Marisa Fran Lina, S.PdI and Ratna Sari, S. PdI

(F)

Literature Appreciation LIVE in Performance

Friday, January 29th 2014, STAIN Salatiga’s meeting hall, Mr. Hanung’s class (Literature Appreciation) had an English drama performance instead of written exam in final examination. This became an annual activity. He said that students looked more interested and cheerful in performing drama than doing a written test :D. The three foreigners also watched this performance, they are David and Alex from German and John from USA. The lecturers also came; Mr. Benny Ridwan, Mr. Gufron and his wife, Mr. Hanung’s wife and daughter, staffs and students of STAIN Salatiga.

There are 2 dramas performed. The first was about Siti Masyitoh’s story in Musa prophet and Fir’aun era. Siti Masyitoh had to face Fir’aun’s cruelty that he finally decided to throw her husband and children into a very-hot water. She was still tough and did not admit that Fir’aun is a GOD, although eventually, he also threw her into a very-hot water but she believed that she died in her true faith.

The second performance entitled “Noona”, a Moslem family who lived happily until there was a strike from soldiers who killed everybody, only remained some people included Noona. This drama was more touched and dramatic because of the effect of sound and the acting of characters. Finally, both of the main characters (Noona and the head of the soldier) died, then that was the end of the story.

The last is a speech from the lecturer, Mr. Hanung who really appreciated with his students’ works. He also said that both of the performances actually described about the song by Dream Theater entitled “Spirit Carries On”, here are some the favorite lyrics to be sang at the end of the performance that everybody turned of the lamp and one people brought one candle:

If I die tomorrow
I’d be all right
Because I believe
That after we’re gone
The spirit carries on

We, as the audiences were touched. this was a different performance which the theme was about religion but it was as awesome as the other dramas performed before. (Marisa Fran Lina(F)

HIde & Seek, Save Your Thing!!!

game: >= 2 people

Aims: Fun Hiding & Seeking, Learning Numbers, Speaking & Listening, Writing & Reading, Vocabulary

Things: 1 precious thing (It can be ball, book, pencil, etc)

1. 1 people as a seeker, others as the hiders

2. the people who keep the precious thing must close the eyes and count from 1 until 20, while the others are looking for a safe place to hide. But before they hide, they have to leave a clue or guidance where they hide (written: I hide only in the house)

3. after 20, the seeker must look for the others but he/she must keep the precious thing. It mustn’t be touched by other players.

4. he/she must find all of the players and safe the precious thing. After he/she found all of the victims, the victims stand (line up) behind the seeker and the seeker should choose randomly who will be the seeker by closing the eyes and mentioning the number of the player in the line. The new seeker found! but if the seeker couldn’t save the precious thing, so he/she must be the seeker again, until 3 times!

5. the winner is who never be the seeker 🙂

It is FUN GAME for ice breaking in learning for kids 🙂

Reference: Source: Hamlyn..2009.The Best-Ever Games for Kids.New York: Hachete.UK.Company

by: Marisa Fran Lina, S. Pd. I (Staff and Lecturer in English Department of STAIN Salatiga)

(F)

Dot to Dot

Game : >1 students

Aims: Fun Drawing, Learning Numbers, Listening, Vocabulary

Things: Board & marker / paper & pencil, eraser

1. Please draw these for the first:

.1            .2            .3            .4            .5            .6

.7            .8            .9            .10          .11          .12

.13          .14          .15          .16          .17          .18

.19          .20          .21          .22          .23          .24

.25          .26          .27          .28          .29          .30

.31          .32          .33          .34          .35          .36

Hints: you can change the numbers into letters, colors, etc.

2. Think about a thing that can be drawn by connecting the dots

3. It can be key, home, ship or boat, etc

4. Instruct your student to draw what thing do you want from 1 dot to other dots (mention the numbers;from the number 20 to 2, 2-21, 19-22, 19, 26, 26-27, the last is 27-22. what is the thing?) You can also add the instructions about shapes of the line; it is straight/it is bend/it is circle/it is curve, etc.

4. E.g.for the thing: a ship/a boat

a ship_dot to dot numbers.

JUST TRY!!! It’s FUN!!

Reference: Source: Hamlyn..2009.The Best-Ever Games for Kids.New York: Hachete.UK.Company

by: Marisa Fran Lina, S. Pd. I (Staff and Lecturer in English Department of STAIN Salatiga)

(F)

 

INTERNATIONAL SUMMER SCHOOL FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS

jalan-jalan ke Jerman di musim panas dan berdiskusi tentang Islam in the West.

The Chair of Islamic Studies at the University of Erfurt is pleased to announce the 13th International Summer School MUSLIMS IN THE WEST which will take place from 13th – 27th August 2014 at the University of Erfurt.

Applications should be submitted in English, by 15 February 2014.

Are you interested? Just click on this link for further informations:

https://www.uni-erfurt.de/religionswissenschaft/islamwissenschaft/summer-school/call-for-applications/

 (F)

https://www.uni-erfurt.de/religionswissenschaft/islamwissenschaft/summer-school/call-for-applications/

Pendaftaran IYD Camps sekarang resmi dibuka!

Ini Acara Resmi Para Alumni SUSI RPA 2013.
Pendaftaran IYD Camps sekarang resmi dibuka!

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