Rabu, 09 Desember 2009

Method Principles


The method we will examine in this chapter advises teachers to consider their students as “whole persons”. Whole-person learning means that the teachers considers not only their students feelings and intellect, but also have some understanding of the relationship among students’ physical reactions, their instinctive protective reactions and their desire to learn. The Community Language Learning Method takes its principle from the more general Counseling-Learning approach developed by Charles A. Curran. Curran studied adult learning for many years. He discovered that adults often feel threatened by a new learning situation.



1. The teacher greets the students, introduces himself, and has the students introduce themselves.

2. The teacher tells the students what they are going to do that evening. He explains the procedure of the first activity and sets a time limit.

3. Students have a conversation.

4. The teacher stands behind the students.

5. The teacher translates what the students want to say in chunks.

6. The teacher tells-them that they have only a few minutes remaining for the conversation.

7. Students are invited to talk about how they felt during the conversation.

8. The teacher accepts what each student says.

9. The teacher understands what the students say.

10. The students listen to the tape and give the Indonesian translation.

11. The teacher asks the students to form a semicircle in front of the blackboard so they can see easily.

12. The teacher reassures the students’ that they will have time later on to copy the sentences.

13. Before the teacher puts in the Indonesian equivalents, he pauses. If no one volunteers the meaning, he writes it himself.

14. The teacher reads the transcript three times. The students relax and listen.
15. In the Human Computer activity, the students choose which phrase they want to practice pronouncing; the teacher, following the student’s lead, repeats the phrase until the learner is satisfied and stops.

16. The students have to listen carefully to see if what they say matches what the teacher is saying.

17. Students work together in groups of three.

18. The teacher corrects by repeating correctly the sentence the students have created.

19. The students read their sentences to the other members of the class.

20. The teacher plays the tape while the students listen.

21. The students are once again invited to talk about the experience they had that evening.

22. Other activities with the transcript of the first conversation occur. Then, the learners have a new conversation. Principles

Building a relationship with and among students is very important.

Any new learning experience can be threatening. When students have an idea of what will happen in each idea of what will happen in each activity, they often feel more secure. People learn best when they feel secure.

Language is for communication.

The superior knowledge and power of the teacher can be threatening. If the teacher does not remain in the front of the classroom, the threat is reduced and the students’ learning is facilitated. Also this fosters interaction among students, rather than from student to teacher.

The teacher should be sensitive to students’ limitations and not over whelm them with more than they can handle.

Students feel more secure when they know the limits of an activity.

Teacher and students are whole persons.

Guided by the knowledge that each learner is unique, the teacher creates an accepting atmosphere. Learners feel free to lower their defenses and the learning experience becomes less threatening.

The teacher “counsels” the students. He shows them he is really listening to them and understands what they are saying. By their learning.

The students’ native language is used to make the meaning clear. Students feel more secure when they understand everything.

The teacher should take the responsibility for clearly structuring activities in the most appropriate way possible for successful completion of an activity.

Learning at the beginning stages is facilitated if students attend to one task at a time.

The teacher encourages student initiative and independence.

Students: need quiet reflection time in order to learn.

Students learn best when they have a choice in what they practice. Students develop an inner wisdom about where they need to work. If students feel in control, they can take more responsibility for their own learning.

Students need to learn to discriminate; for example, in perceiving the similarities and differences among the target language forms.

In groups, students can begin to feel a sense of community and can learn from each other as well as the teacher. Cooperation, not competition, is encouraged.

Teachers should work in a non threatening way with what the learner has produced.

Developing a community among the class members builds trust and can help reduce the threat of the new learning situation.

Learning tends not to take place when the material is too new or, conversely, too familiar. Retention will best take place somewhere in between novelty and familiarity.

In addition to reflecting on the language, students reflect n what they have experienced. In this way, they have an opportunity to learn about their own learning as well as learning about the language.

In the beginning stages, the “syllabus” is designed by the students. Students are more willing to learn when they have created the material themselves.


1. What are the goals of teachers who use the Community Language Learning Method?
Teachers who use the community Language Learning Method want their students to learn how to use the target language communicative. In addition, they want their students to learn about their own learning, to take increasing responsibility for it. Both of these are to be accomplished in a no defensive manner. Non defensive learning can result when teacher and learner treat each other as a whole person, and do not separate each other’s intellect from his or her feelings.
2. What is the role of the teacher? What is the role of the students?
The teacher’s initial role is that of a counselor. Its recognizes how threatening a new learning situation can be for adult learners, so he skillfully understands and supports his students in their struggle to master the target language. Initially the learner is very dependent upon the teacher. Community Language Learning methodologists have identified five stages in this movement from dependency to independency. The student no longer needs the teacher’s encouragement and absolute sense of security. It is the teacher who needs the understanding and acceptance if he is to continue to give further information.
3. What are some characteristics of the teaching/learning process?
In a Stage I class, which is what we observed, students typically have a conversation in their native language. The teacher helps them express what they want to say by giving them the target language translation in chunks. A transcript is made of the conversation, and mother tongue equivalents are written beneath the target language words. During the course of the lesson, students are invited to say how they feel, and in return the teacher understands them.
According to Curran, there are six elements necessary for non defensive learning. The first of these is security. Next is aggression; by which Curran means that students should be given an opportunity to assert themselves, be actively involved, and invest themselves in the learning experience. The third element is attention; at a beginning level, students must directly focus on or attend to one task at a time. Recall that the teacher in our lesson asks the students not to copy the transcript while he was writing it on the blackboard. The fourth element, reflection, occurred in two different ways in our lesson. The first was when the students reflected on the language as the teacher read the transcript three times. The second was when students were invited to stop and consider the active experience they were having. Retention is the fifth element, the integration of the new material that takes place within your whole self. The last element is discrimination, sorting out the differences among target language forms.

4. What is the nature of student-teacher interaction? What is the nature of student-student interaction?
The nature of student-teacher interaction in the Community Language Learning Method changes within the lesson and overtime.
Building a relationship with and among students is very important. In a trusting relationship, the threat that students feel is reduced, and therefore, nondefensive learning is promoted.
5. How are the feelings of the students dealt with?
One regular activity is inviting students to comment on how they feel while the teacher understands. By showing students he understands how they feel, the teacher can help them overcome negative feelings that might otherwise block their learning.
6. How is language viewed? How is culture viewed?
Language is for communication. Curran writes that “learning is persons”, that both teacher and student agree to trust one another and the learning process. Curran also believes that language is for developing creative thinking. Culture is integrated with language.
7. What areas of language are emphasized? What language skills are emphasize?
Particular grammar points, pronunciation patterns, and vocabulary are worked with, based on the language the students have generated. The most important skills are understanding and speaking the language. Reading and writing are also worked on, however, based upon what the students have already understood.
8. What is the role of the students’ native language?
Students’ security is initially enhanced by using their native language. This makes their meaning clear and allows students to combine the target language and sessions during which students express their feelings and are understood are conducted in the native language. Conversations in the target language can, for example, replace native language conversations. In a class where the students speak a variety of native languages, conversations take place right from the start in the target language. Meaning is made clear in other ways, with pantomime, for example.
9. How is evaluation accomplished?
Evaluation is conducted should be in keeping with the principles of the method. If, for example, the school requires that the students take a test at the end of a course, then the teacher would see to it that the students are adequately prepared for taking it. Finally, it is likely that teachers would encourage their students to self-evaluate-to look at their own learning and to become aware of their own progress.
10. How does the teacher respond to student errors?
Teachers should work with what the learner has produced in a nonthreatening way. One way of doing this is for the teacher to repeat correctly what the student has said incorrectly, without calling further attention to the error.

Tape-recording Student Conversation
This is technique used to record student-generated language as well as give the opportunity for community learning to come about. By giving students the choice about what to say and when to say it, students are in a good position to take responsibility for their own learning.
The teacher gives the students the target language translation in appropriate sized chunks. Each chunk is recorded, giving students a final tape recording with only the target language on it.
Since the students had a choice in what they wanted to say in the original conversation, it is easier for them to associate meaning with a particular target language utterance. The recording can also be used to simply listen to their voices in the target language. Recording student conversation works best with twelve or fewer students.
The teacher transcribes the students’ tape-recorded target language conversation. Each student is given the opportunity to translate his utterance and the teacher writes the mother tongue equivalent beneath the target language words.
Reflection on Experience
The teacher takes time during and/or after the various activities to give the students the opportunity to reflect on how they feel about the language learning experience, themselves as learners, and their relationship with one another. As students give their reactions, the teacher understands them-shows that he has listened carefully by giving an appropriate understanding response to what the student has said. Such responses can encourage students to think about their unique engagement with the language, the activities, the teacher, and the other students, strengthening their independent learning.
Reflective Listening
The students relax and listen to their own voices speaking the target language on the tape. Another possible technique is for the teacher to read the transcript while the students simply listen.
Human Computer
A student chooses some part of the transcript to practice pronouncing. The teacher following the student’s lead repeats the phrase as often as the student wants to practice it. The teacher does not correct the student’s mispronunciation in any way.
Small Group Tasks
The small groups in the class we observed were asked to make new sentences with the words on the transcript. Afterward, the groups shared the sentences they made with the rest of the class. Later in the week, students working in pairs made sentences with the different verb conjunctions.


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