PICTURE DESCRIPTION TASK (PIDETA) METHOD

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Background

This method is actually derived from Task-Based learning, but it focuses only with the use of Picture Description. As we know that Task-based learning has become orthodoxy in contemporary EFL teaching and in recent years has been exported to many countries around the world. However there is little practical discussion of how tasks are actually implemented in school settings, particularly where conditions may be less than ideal, in terms of one or more of the following conditions:

  • Large class sizes
  • Cramped classroom
  • Lack of appropriate resources
  • Teachers not trained in task-based methodologies
  • Teachers with limited language proficiency
  • Traditional examination-based syllabi.

Therefore, to make task-based easy to be applied, Pideta focuses only with the use of picture as a task. Pictures as parts of visual aids are commonly used for learning English. They can be used to teach or reinforce some language learning skills. Mora (1988; 28) states that pictures can be used to give students of English as a foreign language an opportunity to practice the language in real context or in situations in which they can use it to communicate their ideas orally or in written forms.

There are various kinds of pictures that can be used to create activities in learning language. Many educators and researchers have tried to explore and exploit pictures and they have found how to take the best of pictures for language learning.  Finocchiaro and Bonomo (1973:166) propose activities that can be applied involving pictures. Further, they conclude that pictures can be used to teach pronunciation contrast, grammar, and vocabulary. Pictures also can be used to play games and to illustrate stories.

Brown et al (1983:184) sate several results gained from research on still pictures that show positive conclusion. The results are as follows: First, pictures stimulate students’ interest. Pictures contribute to interest and motivation, a sense of context of the language, and specific reference point or stimulus (Wright, 1989:2).

Second, well-selected and adapted pictures help the students understand and remember the content of presented material. According to Ernestova (in Cahyono, 1997:116), students understand and retain the meaning of a word better when they have seen an object associated with it. Pictures extend experiences and their real feature can reduce misinterpretation and verbalism.

Third, simplified pictures or still drawings that contain simple line drawings are more effective as information transmitters than shaded drawings or real life (photograph). Pictures that give the viewer too much visual information may contribute less as learning stimuli than simplified pictures or drawings do. In Pideta method students are asked to make the pictures by themselves, it makes them easier to understand because the pictures are based on their own interest.

From those positive sides, pictures as one of the visual materials can facilitate many instructional events. Many advantages can be gained if pictures are used in teaching and learning process.

 

Approach: Theory of Language and Language Learning

Pideta is easily conducted in speaking lesson than in other English lessons because this method concerns with communication practices, while, for other lessons such as; grammar or writing most of Indonesian students still depend to the teacher guiding.

Conversation is the central focus of language and the keystone of language acquisition

Speaking and trying to communicate with others through the spoken language drawing on the learners’ available linguistics and communicative resource is considered the basic of second language acquisition in Task-Based method (quoted in Richards 2001: 228), including Pideta.

Speaking is the oldest and most universal way for human being to express their thought and feelings.

Speaking has to senses, they are: the usage sense and the use sense. The usage sense involves the manifestation of either phonological system or the grammatical system of the language or both. With reference to usage, speaking is considered as an active or productive skill and makes use of the aural medium system, while speaking in the use sense is part of a reciprocal exchange in which both reception and production play apart. In this sense, the skill of speaking involves both receptive and productive participation (Widdowson, 1978: 58-59). Speaking then is a productive skill of which the development is undertaken after the receptive skill of listening comprehension (Chastai, 1978:333). The act of speaking involves not only the production of sounds but also the use of gesture. The movement of someone is said communicating when he is conveying his ideas, opinion or feeling (Chastain, 1978:334).

All learners of a foreign language must be eager to be able to communicate one another using the target language. Therefore, speaking is perhaps the most demanding skills for the teacher to teach. The students will be able to express their feeling, their like or dislike, etc. In task-based learning, the learners must communicate with each other in order to accomplish a task, and the pedagogical and interactional focus is on the accomplishment of the task rather than on the language used (Seedhouse, 1999).

 

Design

Objective

It is expected that the students will be able to apply Pideta method in speaking class so that they can have better achievement in speaking subject. Meanwhile, for teachers, this method hopefully solves the problem of helping the students so that they can have better performance in their speaking ability.

Syllabus

The syllabus that is used in Pideta method is based on Nunan’s. Nunan (1989) suggests that a syllabus might specify two types of tasks:

  • real-world tasks, which are designed to practice or rehearse, that task that are found to be important in a needs analysis and turn out to be important and useful in the real world.
  • pedagogical tasks, which have a psycholinguistic basis in SLA theory and research but do not necessarily, reflect real-world tasks.

Roles of Learners and Teachers

Pideta method tries to overcome the problem of teacher-centered classroom and the students’ passivity. Therefore, in this method the roles of the teachers are only as a motivator and facilitator. The students themselves who play significant roles.

Learning Activities and Materials

In Pideta method, the communication task which was developed for the purpose of the study is expressing reaction (picture description). In picture description task, students describe the picture to other students (they work in group). The students make the instructional media by themselves. Then, they explain and describe what they have made in front of the class. This activity is done in sequence.

By using picture description students are courage to speak and communicate, it has become an indicator to increase their speaking ability. Moreover, students do this activity in interesting condition, they are free to express their opinion about the picture which has been made. Learning in good and interesting condition is important in this method because in an interesting condition students can create their creativity and are able to speak English more.

 

Procedure

Pretask

Introduction to the topic and the task

  • T helps Ss to understand the theme and the objectives of the task.
  • T may highlight useful words or phrases, but would not preteach new structures.
  • Ss can be given preparation time to think about how to do the task.

Task Activity

  • Ss make the instructional media (pictures) in groups.
  • T walks around and monitors.
  • T helps Ss to formulate what they want to say, but will not intervene to correct errors of forms.
  • T asks Ss to present what they have made to the whole class so others can give comment or add extra points.

Post Task

  • T gives comment to Ss presentation.

 

 

Bibliography and further reading

Carless, D. 2004. Issues in Teachers’ Reinterpretation of a Task-Based Learning in Primary schools. TESOL QUARTERLY, 38, 639-662. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Institute of Education.

Seedhouse, P. 1999. Task-Based Interaction. ELT Journal, 53, 149-156.

Littlewood, W. 2004. The-Task Based Approach: Some questions and suggestions. ELT Journal, 58, 319-326.

Skehan, P. 1996. A Framework for the Implementation of Task-Based Instruction.

Applied Linguistics, 17, 38-62.

Skehan, P. 2003. Task-Based Instruction. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics,

18, 268-286.

Skehan, P. 2003. Task-Based Instruction. Language Teaching, 36, 1-14.

Anthony Bruton. 2002. From Tasking Purposes to Purposing Tasks. ELT Journal,

56, 280-297.

Skehan, p. 2002. The Theory of Cognitive Approach.

Carless, D. 2002. Implementing Task-Based Learning With Young Learners. ELT Journal, 56, 389-415. Oxford University Press.

Thompson, Neil. 2003. Communication and Language. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Garton, Sue. 2002. Learner Initiative in the Language Classroom. ELT Journal, 56, 47-55. Oxford University Press.

Pica, Teresia. 2005. Classroom Learning, Teaching, and Research: A Task-Based Perspective. The Modern Language Journal, 89, 339-392.

Long, Michael and Porter, Patricia. 1985. Group Work, Interlanguage Talj, and Second Language Acquisition. TESOL Quarterly, 207-227.

Shehadeh, Ali. 2001. Self and Other Initiated odified Output During Task-Based Interaction. TESOL Quaarterly.

Celce-Murcia, Marianne. 1979. Teaching English as A Second or Foreign Language. Massachusetts: Newbury House Publisher, Inc.

Richards, Jack C and Rodgers, Theodore S. 2001. Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. Cambridge University Press.

Larsen, Diane and Freeman. 2000. Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching. Oxford University Press.

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