Posts Tagged ‘improve students’ skills’

Using Mind Mapping and Five Reviewing Patterns to Improve Senior High School Students’ Vocabulary Mastery

by Dian Fadhilawati

Islamic University of Balitar, Blitar, East Java, Indonesia


This reported research was a collaborative action research to improve the vocabulary achievement of high school students using mind mapping and five reviewing patterns proposed by Buzan (2009). The subjects were 35 students of X-B class of MAN Kota Blitar, East Java, Indonesia, in 2011/2012 academic years. The data of the research included qualitative data (observation result and field note) and quantitative data (test result). This research was conducted in one cycle which included 2 meetings. The first meeting was done at Tuesday, 7 February 2012. It was for teaching vocabulary about newspaper and publishing using mind mapping and review 1. The second meeting was done at Wednesday, 8 February 2012. It was for teaching vocabulary about radio and television as well as for the review 2 at the beginning of the meeting. At the end of the meeting, the teacher gave take home tasks for review 2 of meeting 2. Further, the third review (1 week after the first learning) was given at Wednesday, 15 February 2012. It was intended for reviewing both the materials in meeting 1 and 2. The forth review was a take home reviewing tasks given 1 month after the first learning and the fifth review was a take home review assigned 3 months after the first learning. After all of the five reviews, a vocabulary test was administered. The finding showed that the implementation of mind mapping and 5 reviewing patterns could improve the students’ vocabulary achievement, from the mean score of 55.66 to 80.57. The students also gave positive responses toward the strategies applied as reflected from the result of the questionnaire given.


Key words: mind-mapping, reviewing, vocabulary achievement

Based on the researcher’ preliminary observation at the first of February 2012, it was found the following weaknesses. First, teachers lacked of media in teaching and learning process (the teacher only used an exercise book called “LKS Aspirasi”). He did not use the language laboratory, chart, mind mapping, game, song pictures, or other media/facilities. Second, the students were lazy and unmotivated. Third, the students were passive in the classroom. Fourth, in teaching vocabulary the teacher only wrote down the vocabulary list on the white board and asked the students to find the meaning of the word in Indonesian. Therefore, the researcher assumed that instruction absolutely must be changed by the teacher by using appropriate method in order the students take apart to the lesson and got better achievement at the end of teaching learning process.

In addition, based on the result of the vocabulary test which administered to the students before the action, it could be said that the students’ English ability of X-B class was low, especially in understanding the meaning of words in context. The students’ mean score for the vocabulary test was 55.66, that was below the minimum school standard criterion of English mastery that required them at least have mean score 70.00.

Actually, there are a lot of interactive media or strategies to encourage students to take apart in the lesson especially in vocabulary teaching and learning. Since vocabulary teaching and learning aimed at enabling learners to understand the concepts of unfamiliar words, to gain a greater number of words, and to use words successfully for communicative purpose, it is necessary for the teacher to select and apply appropriate strategies in teaching vocabulary for the students which could improve their motivation to take apart in the lesson.

Mind mapping and five reviewing patterns proposed by Buzan (2009) can be applied by the teacher in teaching vocabulary. There are some reasons why the teacher may use mind mapping in teaching vocabulary, for example: (1) mind mapping is very appropriate and flexible to be applied for different levels of age, theme, subject, and situation either for whole class, group or individual, (2) mind mapping is a very good tool for creative thinking and problem solving, (3) in foreign language teaching and learning, mind mapping can improve memory recall of facts, words or images, (4) mind mapping is creative note taking method, which eases us to remember much information, and (5) mind mapping is colorful, uses pictures or symbols which leads the students’ interest to the subject (Deporter, Readon, and Nourie, 1997: 175). From the statement above, it can be concluded that mind mapping is potentially a good way to teach vocabulary to the students in senior high school.

In line with the previous statements, Buzan (1993:1) adds that mind mapping is a powerful graphic technique which provides a universal key to unlock the potential of brain. It imitates the thinking process, recording information through symbol, pictures, emotional meaning and colors, exactly the same like our brain process it. It means that mind mapping is very useful media for creating attractive, and enjoyable learning that lead the successfulness of the students in learning English vocabulary

In addition Buzan (2009: 39) also states that by using a mind mapping we can see what we are going to do and what we have done. It means, mind mapping may be used by the teacher or the students for planning the lesson, summarizing the lesson or recall to the lesson that the students have learnt. Moreover, Buzan (2009) also argues that mind mapping and 5 reviewing patterns will lead the students to achieve good scores in their examination test.

Talking about the success of the students’ in gaining good vocabulary achievement, it is crucial for the teacher to think deeply about how to implant vocabulary in the students’ mind for long term memory. In this case, the teacher may apply reviewing to facilitate the students with better memory to what they have learnt. It could be done at school or at home by giving tasks as a mean for reviewing the lesson that the students have learnt.

Usually many students are confused in deciding when they should start to review their school lessons, and most of them tend to postpone the reviews. As a result, in the time of final test, they often panic and study for their test immediately at the night before the examination with less sleep. As a result, at the examination day they lost concentration, were sleepy and, therefore, they failed or got poor scores. Actually, the best way to review lessons is step by step, little by little, day by day, and gradually until it becomes a habit in life (Buzan, 2009:38).

Furthermore, a good reviewing model was proposed by Buzan (2009) which is called 5 reviewing patterns. Buzan (2009:125) states that if students review the lesson 5 times such as: (1) 1 hour after the first learning, (2) 1 day after the first learning, (3) I week after the first learning, (4) 1 month after the first learning, and (5) 3 months up to 6 months after the first learning), they would have permanent memory of the lesson.

Therefore, the researcher and her collaborator assumed that the use of mind mapping and 5 reviewing patterns proposed by Buzan (2009) could improve the students’ vocabulary achievement and facilitate the students’ memory of the words or phrases they have learnt.

The studies on the use of mind mapping in teaching English have been performed by some researchers such as: Indah (2010), Effendi (2004), and Helmasari (2008). In this case, Indah (2010) proved that mind mapping was an effective medium to teach vocabulary to the tenth grade students of SMU Negeri 15 Palembang. Besides that, Effendi (2004) also found that mind mapping was effective to increase the second year students’ reading comprehension at SLTPN 43 Palembang. Further, Helmasari (2008) reported that mind mapping was effective to teach paragraph writing to the eleventh year students of SMA Negeri 14 Palembang.



Research Objective

The objective of this research is to use mind mapping and five reviewing patterns to improve the tenth year students’ vocabulary achievement at MAN Kota Blitar.


Research Design

In this research, the researcher employed collaborative classroom action research through mind mapping and Buzan’s 5 reviewing patterns to improve the students’ vocabulary achievement of X-B class of MAN Kota Blitar. In this case, the researcher’s collaborator was involved from the beginning up to the end of the research process. The action of teaching vocabulary through mind mapping and Buzan’s 5 times reviewing patterns is done by the researcher, and her collaborator acted as an observer of the teaching learning process. This idea is based on Calhoun’s principle (in Kasbollah, 2002:43) that argued “in collaborative action research, the researcher makes collaboration with the school teacher investigated as the researcher’s collaborator to do the research activities.”


Research Setting

The Research was conducted in MAN Kota Blitar starting from February to May 2012. The school is located at Jl. Jati 78 Sukorejo Blitar. This school was chosen because of some reasons such as: there are problems which need solution dealing English teaching learning process mainly on vocabulary achievement of X-B class which considered need to improve, and of course the permission from headmaster of MAN Kota Blitar.


Research Subjects

The research subjects of this research were the students of Class X-B of MAN Kota Blitar, consisting of 35 students (11 boys and 14 girls). The class was chosen as the subject because: (1) the class of X-B got the lowest achievement among the others class at the first semester (2) the students’ low vocabulary achievement (with the mean score of 55.66).


Research Procedure

The procedure of this Classroom Action Research was a modified version of Kemmis and Taggart (1997:27) model which covered some steps, namely preliminary study, planning of action, action, observing the action, and reflecting on the observation. This research was held from February to May 2012. The researchers conducted this study for one cycle that planning the action, implementing the action followed by 5 times reviewing, observation and evaluation, and analysis and reflection. This was only one cycle because the purpose has been achieved with only one cycle. Further, the description of the research procedures was presented on the following figure.


Figure1: The Procedures of Classroom Action Research (CAR)


Research Instruments

1. Test

Vocabulary test was given after the implementation of the action. It was used to know the students’ development. The test consisted of 50 words about newspaper and publishing as well as radio and television in which it distributed as follows: (1) questions numbers 1-15 were in the form of multiple choice, (2) questions number 16-30 were in the form matching test, (3) question number 31-40 were in the form guided completion and (5) question number 49-50 were in form of rearranging the scrambled words into good sentences. To make the test administered valid and reliable, in this research the researcher and her collaborator conducted validity test to another class of the tenth grade students at MAN Kota Blitar (X-C) class. Furthermore, the researcher used content validity, the evidence based on content of the test’s and its relationship to the construct it was intended to measure. In this case, the researcher looked for evidence that the test represented a balanced and adequate sampling of vocabulary mastery. Moreover, the content validity of the test was based on the basic competence in the tenth grade of Senior High School’s curriculum.

Before the post test was given to the respondent. It was tried out first to other group of students who had the same level with the respondent to know the test items were too difficult or too easy, whether the time is enough or not and the respondents understood the instruction or not. It was tried out on 2nd May 2012 at the class X-C of MAN Kota Blitar consisting 35 students. The following is the vocabulary test that was given to the students either in preliminary test or after the action test.


2. Observations Checklist

            Observation checklist was used to get the data about the students’ activities during the teaching learning process. In this case the researcher provided 2 observations checklist; the first to observe the teacher’ preparation, presentation, teaching method, personal characteristic, and teacher-students interaction in the classroom. The second observation checklist was intended as media in observing the students’ activities in the classroom.


3. Questionnaire

            A questionnaire was used to collect the data about the students’ reaction toward mind mapping and Buzan’s 5 times reviewing patterns in learning vocabulary. The Questionnaire contained 10 items with Likert scale options: Absolutely Agree (AA), Agree (A), Not Sure (NS), Not Agree (NA), and Absolutely Not Agree (ANA). It was adopted from Kristiana (2011).


4. Field note

            To get the rich data, this research also used field notes to write down the activities of teacher and students in the classroom which are not covered in observation checklist. Further, field notes composed of the descriptions of what was being heard, seen, experienced and thought in the classroom. The recorded data dealt with the phenomenon such as: time allotment, classroom atmosphere, tasks organization, and teacher’s feedback.


Criteria of Success

            The criterion of success in this research was designed on the basis of the school criterion: the students are considered good or successful in their vocabulary achievement if they achieve at least 70 of the optimal score competence level of 100. It means that the students’ mean score of the post-test should equal to or is higher than 70. Moreover, beside the students’ score in vocabulary achievement, the result of questionnaire was used to support the explanation of the criteria of success.


Kinds of Data and Data Sources


There were two kinds of data in this research, namely quantitative data and qualitative data. Quantitative data in the research refer to the data acquired from the test and questionnaire. Moreover qualitative data refer to the result from observation, questionnaire and field notes.


Techniques of Data Collection

The data were collected by (a) conducting an observation, (b) making field note, (c) administering test, (d) distributing questionnaire.


Data Analysis

The data analysis was used by researcher in this research followed some procedure such as: classifying the data, presenting the data and the last was concluding the data.


1. Data Classification

In this research, the data were classified into two categories, the first was quantitative data and the second was qualitative data. The quantitative data referred to the data which was taken from the students score as well as the questionnaire. However, the qualitative data were taken from the observation and check list as well as field note.


2. Data Display

The classified data from observation result and field note were described qualitatively using categories of achievement such as: very poor, poor, fair, good, and very good. Moreover, the data taken from the test was presented in tables, and the data from the questionnaire was calculated in percentage.

Furthermore, the use of quantitative data analysis was classified as follow:

1. The rule to decide the accomplishment degree and the mean score

  • Rule to find an individual degree of mastery



(Adopted from Petunjuk Guru Bahasa Inggris for the Senior high school).

  • Rule to find mean score


M       =      Mean score

SX      =      the total scores of the students’ vocabulary test

N        =      the numbers of students

(Adapted from Beast, 1981). 

2. The rule of calculating the percentage of students’ questionnaires responses





Concluding the Data

Data conclusion was done after the researcher evaluated and interpreted the data. It is important to conclude the data to know whether another cycle was necessary. In this research, researcher stopped the action at cycle 1 because the students had achieved mean score 88.57. That result was higher than the minimum mastery criterion stated in that school (70.00). Moreover, that result was supported by the results of observations which indicated the improvement of the teaching learning process from teacher and students’ part and the result of questionnaire dealing the implementation of teaching learning vocabulary using mind mapping.



Reflection is the most important part in Classroom Action Research, it is needed to evaluate whether another cycle to solve the problems is necessary or not. The number of cycles cannot be predicted in advance. A classroom action research may take only one cycle if after the first cycle, all the targeted criteria of success have been achieved. The researchers, in fact, have to do their best to plan their classroom action research as few cycles as possible.

If all of the problems in teaching vocabulary are solved, there is no need to conduct the second cycle. In reflection, the researchers consult the result of data analysis and compare it with the criteria of success. If the result of our first action fulfills the criteria of success, the action is stopped. If it does not fulfill the criteria of success, the researchers should continue to the second cycle by revising the lesson plan (Latief, 2010:87).

Furthermore, Mistar (2010:31) states that “reflection in a classroom action research is an effort to evaluate whether the teaching learning process succeeds or fails based on the criteria of succeed that have been decided before”.

The reflection in this research was done by the researcher and her collaborator after accomplishing each of the research steps in order to know whether we could stop the research or should continue to another cycle. In this case, they decide to stop this research in the first cycle, because the criterion of succeed of the research has been achieved by the students. The student’s mean score was 80.56; it was higher than the criterion of success of the research (70.00).


The Result of Teaching Learning Process Analysis

The analysis of the teaching-learning process was done based on the result of field notes and the observation checklist. Some findings show improvement from both the student and teachers’ parts. On the part of the students’ attitude towards the task, it was found that the students were actively involved and participated actively in the lesson. Further, the teacher’ ability in conducting teaching and learning process was observed and categorized as excellent and above average. Mostly, the indicators in observation checklist were rated 4 (excellent) and 3 (above average) by the collaborator researcher. In this case, the teacher was evaluated in the five points namely: (1) preparation, (2) presentation, (3) execution/method, (4) personal characteristics, teacher-students inter­action. Dealing with preparation, the teacher was well prepared and the lesson execution was good.

Further related to presentation, the teacher explained the materials well, smoothly, in sequence, and logically. Moreover the teacher also paced the lesson well, gave the lesson direction to the students clearly, for example in asking them to do the tasks, to play mind map, to do homework etc. Besides that, the teacher always tried to make the students talk or write for example by asking question, asking them to write the sentences, etc. Further, she also realized if there were some students who were having trouble in understanding the lesson. In this case, she asked the students the points they didn’t understand and she explained it again carefully. Further, in presenting the materials the teacher was very encouraging, full of enthusiasm, and showed the interest in the lesson,

Furthermore, dealing with execution or method, the teacher used various activities in during the class, reinforced the material, walked around the class, made eyes contact with the students, and knew the student’s name well. She also distributed the questions appropriately and used media in teaching. Contextual learning was used with clear example and illustration of the materials through mind mapping.

On the teacher’s personal characteristics, the teacher was patient in answering the students’ questions. She had audible voice for all students in the class. She also had a good appearance, initiative and was resourceful. She had appropriate and acceptable use of English while she is teaching the students.

The last point is related to teacher – student interaction in the classroom. Dealing with that point, the teacher tried to set the class into a student-centered class. She encouraged students’ participation in classroom by asking them to do activities or to raise or answer questions. Further, she was able to control and direct the class well; she sometime relaxed the students and made students work in group or individual. In conclusion teacher and the students had excellent interaction for enjoyable learning in the classroom.

An analysis of the result of the test given at the end of cycle 1 showed that an improvement of learning result was achieved. In this case, the mean score of the student’s in the vocabulary test after the action increased significantly after the implementation of mind mapping and 5 reviewing patterns proposed by Buzan (2009). The mean score of the students was 80.57. The students’ mean score was higher than the students’ mean score in vocabulary test before the action (55.66) and the minimum criterion mastery stated in the school (70.00).


The Students’ Questionnaire Result

The data on students’ opinion towards learning vocabulary using mind mapping and Buzan’s 5 reviewing patterns was obtained through a questionnaire with 10 statements given to 35 students of the tenth year of students in X-B class of MAN Kota Blitar. The questionnaire contained four variables to measure: (1) learning motivation, (2) learning result, (3) tasks accomplishment and (4) social relationship. The result showed that on the first variable “learning motivation”, the students are motivated to learn vocabulary using mind mapping and Buzan’s five reviewing patterns strategy. It can be seen from the result of the four statements given related to it. For the first statement (item no. 1) “I am very eager to learn vocabulary using mind mapping and Buzan’s 5 reviewing patterns”, 30 (85.7%) students chose “absolutely agree” and 5 (14.3%) students “agree”.

Moreover, 29 (82.9%) students state “absolutely agree” and the rest 6 (17.1%) students state “agree” for the statement (item no. 2): “Learning vocabulary using mind mapping and Buzan’s 5 reviewing patterns is an interesting and enjoyable activity”. On the other hand, in the third statement for this variable, statement no. 6, “It is difficult for me to learn vocabulary by mind mapping and Buzan’s five reviewing patterns”, 2 (5.7%) students state “not sure”. Moreover, 4 (11.4%) students state “not agree”, and the rest 29 (82.9%) students state “absolutely not agree”. Meanwhile, for the next statement (item no 7), “Learning vocabulary using mind mapping and Buzan’s 5 reviewing patterns strategy is a worthless and time consuming activity”, 6 (17.1%) students state “not agree” while the rest 29 (82.9%) students state “absolutely not agree”.

The data on the second variable “learning result” also showed satisfactory response. There are 4 indicators representing this variable. The first indicator is statement (item no. 3) “In my opinion learning vocabulary using mind mapping and Buzan’s reviewing patterns can increase my vocabulary”. 29 (82.9%) students chose “absolutely agree”, 6(17.1%) students chose “agree”. Second is statement no. 4, “Mind mapping and Buzan’s 5 reviewing patterns help me learn and memorize new words”.  30 (85.7%) students’ state “absolutely agree” and 5 (14.3%) state “agree”. The next is statement no. 5, “Learning vocabulary using mind mapping and Buzan’s five reviewing patterns enabled me to learn words and their meaning in comprehensible way”. 28 (80%) students state “absolutely agree” while the rest 7 (20%) students state “not sure”. And the last indicator is statement (item no 10), “Learning vocabulary through mind mapping makes me brave to express idea or asking and answering the question”. For this 29 (82.9%) students state “absolutely agree” and 6 (17.1%) students state “agree.”

The third variable “task achievement” also showed good response. As it can be seen in statement no. 8, “Using mind mapping and Buzan’s 5 reviewing patterns makes me motivated to do the class tasks or take-home tasks“, 30 (85.7%) students state “absolutely agree” and 5 (14.3%) students sate “agree”

The last variable “social relationship” also showed acceptable response. It can be seen from the result of statement no. 9, “Learning vocabulary using mind mapping and Buzan’s 5 reviewing patterns promotes the togetherness among students”. 29 (82.9%) students choose “absolutely agree”, and 3 (8.6%) students state “agree”, while 3 (8.6%) students state “not sure”.



Based on the result of the analysis both the teacher teaching-learning process and students’ learning result in cycle I, it was shown that the students made an improvement in learning vocabulary. This improvement could be seen from indicator of success achieved as follows. The obtained mean score was 80.57 was higher than the standard minimum mean score (70.00). Therefore, it was decided that the next cycle was not necessary. In addition, that result was supported by the result of teaching learning process which was derived from observation checklists and field note in which the teaching learning process in that class was very good/ excellent and it was also supported by the students’ positive responses toward the use of mind mapping and five reviewing patterns in learning vocabulary as presented previously. The following figure is the description of students’ improvement in learning vocabulary by using mind mapping and 5 reviewing patterns












Figure 2: Students’ Improvements


The result of the research that was presented above was in line with Indah ‘s experimental research result on the use of mind mapping to teach vocabulary, in which she reported that the vocabulary achievement of the students of IKIP PGRI Palembang increased after being taught using mind mapping. She recorded that the calculation result of the matched t-test formula was 2.396. It indicated that the calculated t obtained was greater than the critical value (1.725). The finding of her study showed that mind mapping is effective in teaching vocabulary to the tenth year of SMUN 15 Palembang.

Moreover, the researchers’ result was also in line with Yusuf’s experimental research result entitled “The Effectiveness of Mind Mapping Technique In Increasing the Second Year Students’ Reading Comprehension at SLTPN 43 Palembang” The result of the calculation of the t-test formula was 4.19. It indicated that the t value was higher than the critical value (02.021). The findings of his research showed that mind mapping is significantly effective in teaching reading comprehension to the subject of SLTP Negeri 43 Palembang.

In addition, the researchers’ result was in line with experimental research result by Hermalasari entitled “Teaching Writing Paragraphs by Using Mind Mapping to The Eleventh Year Students of SMA Negeri 14 Palembang in which she reported that the students’ average score in pre-test was 59.68 and the average score of post-test was 67.85. It indicated that calculated t value was higher than the t value on the table (1.684). It means that mind mapping is effective to teach writing paragraphs at the eleventh grade in that school. And now, with this current research mind mapping is also proved effective to teach vocabulary


The Strength and the Weaknesses of Mind Mapping and 5 Reviewing Patterns

There is no perfect thing. Besides having some strengths mind mapping and 5 reviewing patterns also have some weaknesses. The strengths include (1) leading the students to have better memory, (2) easy to apply in the classroom as media to present the material, media to do the task, media to review the lesson, and media to assess the students’ achievement, (3) interesting, and attractive media to teach all themes or sub-theme.

Further, mind mapping and 5 Buzan’s reviewing patterns were a pairs of strategies which support each other. As Buzan (2009:39) argue the best way to review the lesson is using mind mapping. With mind mapping to review the lesson, students will have better memory of the materials they have learnt. Better memory will make them easier in doing the test. It was proved by the students’ vocabulary mean score after applied with those strategies in this research.

However, mind mapping and five reviewing patterns also have weaknesses such as: (a) Mind mapping and 5 reviewing patterns need consistency as well as continuity of implementation either in the for of classroom implementation by teachers or at home reviews by students following the procedures given. Especially for the strategy of reviewing the lesson, it must be done seriously based on Buzan’s 5 reviewing patterns. Buzan’s 5 reviewing required teachers and students to review the lesson until 5 times based on these following rules: (a) one hour after the first learning, (b) one day after the first learning, (c) one week after the first learning, (d) one month after the first learning and, (e) three up to six months after the first learning. Those reviewing procedures may be difficult to do for students at the first time. Besides, with five time review, the teacher must provide and prepare more tasks, and of course it needs additional cost to prepare them as well as need additional time to do. In addition, it is not easy to change the habitual linear note writing in preparing teachers’ teaching materials or presentation. While with mind map, teachers need to be creative in making mind maps and present them in the class. If they don not have creativity and a good understanding about the material, the teachers would have problems in translating the materials into mind maps. Mind map reflects the materials to teach in the class. Therefore, before teachers make mind maps, they must understand the materials well so that they can generate the good key words. Otherwise, the mind map would be confusing for the students. Further, some teachers may not have a good ability to use multimedia or technology in teaching and learning such as in operating computer, laptop or internet applications. Or it can be said that mind map is still difficult to make for some teachers who did not have computer mastery or creativity to draw it.

In mind maps, everything is supposed to be provided on a single page. This is a tough challenge for teachers who have comprehensive and complex topic to deal with in the classroom. A mind map which is made carelessly or which is too ambitious to cover all aspect would look so crowded and this might cause students difficult to understand.



Conclusion and Suggestions

Mind mapping and 5 reviewing patterns proposed by Buzan (2009) can improve the tenth year students’ vocabulary achievement. Therefore, the English teachers are recommended to apply this model as one of alternatives teaching technique to teach vocabulary in the classroom. Besides that, the English teachers are also suggested to inform or discuss this model of vocabulary teaching through teachers’ forum such as workshop and seminar.

It is suggested that parents with elementary, junior or senior high school sons or daughters practice Buzan’s 5 reviewing patterns as strategy to review their lesson in order to improve their learning achievement. Furthermore, the students are also recommended to make mind map of their lessons at home after school and do the review 5 times based on the certain procedures as Buzan proposed. So, the students must be active both in the classroom and outside of the classroom for reviewing their lessons, for example, by summarizing, mapping, re-reading the material by themselves or by reviewing them in peer learning, and group learning at home.

In addition, this research is an action research in which the result cannot be generalized. It is advisable or recommended that future researchers would conduct the research with different design for example experimental research to know the effectiveness of Buzan’s 5 reviewing patterns on certain skills or subjects. Such research would be useful to strengthen or reject this research result.







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Enhancing Students’ Listening Skill Through Podcasts

by Oktavia Widiastuti

State Polytechnic of Malang (Polinema)


Applying podcast as an appropriate multimedia can be very potential and practical as a tool to enhance listeningskill.Students and teachers can download podscast easily and freely as source of their listening materials. Listening materials presented through Podcast is possible to increase students’ listening skill as Podcast provides students with authentic and contextual material. Podcast offers an ideal tool for the creative expression of knowledge preferred by today’s students, and provides an exciting way for students and teachers to explore and discover listening content or material.

Podcasts are particularly suited for extensive listening, for the purpose of motivating students’ interest in listening to English and providing them with exposure to native speakers’ speech (Rost, 1991). Stanley (2006) points out that podcasts offer students a wide range of possibilities for extra listening both inside and outside of the classrooms. The outside classroom listening activity effectively bridges the gap between the formal English which dominates most English language classrooms and the informal English used in real-life communication events.Podcast as a new technology has huge potential in enhancing students’ listening skill.The ease of downloading podcasts to MP3 players and iPods means that students can now engage in plenty of listening practice in any condition.


Key words: Listening skills, podcast, Information technology in ELT


Listening in language learning has undergone several important stages, from being assumed “acquired through exposure but not really taught” (Richard, 2002) to be viewed as “a primary vehicle for language learning” (Rost, 2001). During the decades, developments in education, linguistics and sociology have led to the powerful theories of the nature of language comprehension and the active interest in the role of listening comprehension in second language acquisition.

In daily communication, listening plays an important role. Research has demonstrated that adults spend 40-50% of communication time listening, 25-30% speaking, 11-16% reading, and about 9% writing (Vandergrift, 1999). Listening, the most widely used language skill, is often used in conjunction with the other skills of speaking, reading and writing. It is not only a skill area in language performance, but also a critical means of acquiring a second and foreign language.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, applied linguistics recognized that listening was the primary channel by which the learner gained access to L2 data, and that it therefore served as the trigger for acquisition (Rost, 2001). Krashen (1982) claimed that “comprehensible input” was a necessary condition for language learning. In his input hypothesis, Krashen said further development from the learner’s current stage of language knowledge could only be achieved by the learner’s comprehending language that contained linguistic items (lexis, syntax, morphology) at a level slightly above the learner’s current knowledge (Rost, 2001). According to this theory, the more language we expose students to, the more they will acquire, and the better they get in listening activities

In general, provided the listening materialappropriate to their level is a very significant point. However, the reality of the teaching of listening in Indonesian’s classrooms is that students have only one hour to learn listening in the language laboratory every week, which is far from satisfactory. Hence, extensive listening must go along with intensive listening. Extensive listening, where a teacher encourages students to choose for themselves what they listen to and to do so for pleasure or for general language improvement can also have a dramatic effect on a student’s language proficiency (Harmer, 2001).

Applying appropriate multimedia in Extensive Listening activity can be one of the solutions to improve students’ listening skill and their motivation (Juniardi, 2008). By using multimedia students not only hear the sound but also can capture the pictures, moreover by using multimedia students can download native voices as source of their listening materials. One of the programs that can be applied is podcast program. By using Podcast, the students can listen to music, news, TV program etc. Podcast has two files audio (MP3) and video (MP4). These files can be down loaded free of charge from One of the Podcast examples which can be free down loaded is, CNN Larry King Live Podcast (Paul, 2007).

Another example, which is also interesting to be used as the listening material, is taken from . There are many videos which can be downloaded by subscribing to the website using iTunes (Stanley, 2006).

These two examples are few of many others materials that can be freely downloaded from the internet by subscribing to the website using iTunes. The capacity of each file is varied (about 3 to 100 Mb) according to duration of the podcast. For instance, it takes at least one and a half hour to download a 15 minutes Larry King Live Podcast (McCarty, 2005).

Based on the explanation above, listening materials presented through Podcast is possible to increase student listening comprehension as Podcast provide students with authentic and contextual material and it can improve students’ knowledge because students are able to share their Podcast. Podcasting offers an ideal tool for the creative expression of knowledge preferred by today’s students, and provides an exciting way for students and educators to explore and discover listening content or material (McCarty, 2005). Podcasts are audio or video files that are automatically delivered over a network, and then played back on any Mac, PC, or iPod. When students create a Podcast for class, they not only learn the content in a creative way, they learn 21st-century communication skills at the same time.



Language learning depends on listening since it provides the aural input that serves as the basis for language acquisition and enables learners to interact in spoken communication. Listening is the first language mode that children acquire. It provides the foundation for all aspects of language and cognitive development, and it plays a life-long role in the processes of communication. A study by Wilt (1950), found that people listen 45 % of the time they spend communicating.

Since listening is, according to Wang Shouyuan (2003), the most important component in the five aspects of overall English competence he suggests as listening, speaking, reading, writing and translation, it deserves particular attention. Teachers must actively explore the nature and process of listening comprehension and study the theory and methodology of listening comprehension in order to improve listening teaching outcomes and make students recognize that listening comprehension is the crucial aspect of English learning.

From the point of view of constructivist linguistics, foreign language teaching should focus on language form and structure, thus, listening teaching is undertaken in each of the four aspects of language form. When students are taught to understand a passage of text, teachers first let them discriminate between the pronunciation of vowels and consonants, then understand vocabulary, sentences and discourses. The goals of this listening teaching model from the “bottom-up” is to help students understand the meaning of vocabulary by discriminating sounds, to understand sentence meaning, and to monitor and control the meaning of discourses by understanding sentence meaning (Feyten, 1991).

Since the 1970s, with the development of functional language theory, there has been an emphasis on the research of language function in society. Functional linguistic experts recognize language as a communicative tool, but not an isolated structure system. Consequently the teaching of listening is not simply intended to make students hear a sound, a word or a sentence, rather, the goal is to cultivate students’ abilities to understand speakers’ intentions accurately and communicate with each other effectively (Lihua, 2002).

Different from the traditional theory that listening is a passive activity, now we have realized that listening is a complicated process that involves many factors. Rost (2002) suggests that “listening is a process involving a continuum of active processes which are under the control of the listener.” It is different from hearing which is “the primary physiological system that allows for reception and conversion of sound waves that surround the listener” (Rost, 2002).

A thorough definition of listening, thus, should include at least four factors: receptive, constructive, collaborative, or transformative (Rost, 2002). Receptive means receiving what the speaker actually says while constructive suggests constructing and representing meaning. Collaborative, on the other hand, shows negotiating meaning with the speaker and responding while transformative requires creating meaning through involvement, imagination and empathy.

            In summary, effective listening involves the listener taking an active role in constructing meaning with the speaker. Speaker must be aware of the deixis, speaker intention, implicit meaning and strategy use. In addition, effective listening will involve attention to cooperative social interaction, as that is where conversational meaning is monitored and negotiated (Rost, 2002).

The notion of involvement, engagement, and negotiation is related to pragmatic approach to listening. The pragmatic point of view of listening is an intention to complete a communication process. In order to occur this pragmatic completion, there must be engagement, in which a listener switches from becoming a mere ‘presence’ to an interpreter (Verschueren, 1999 in Rost, 2002).


Listening and Technologies

A prominent artefact of older beliefs concerning the role of listening in language learning is the language laboratory. The rationale for language laboratories is tied to the belief that individual listening practice with audiotape can help build a learner’s overall ability in the target language through self instructed comprehension practice. Technology continues to be perceived as an enhancement to the process of language acquisition. The large-scale infusion of computers in language instruction programs in the past decade attests to this belief. The rationale behind what is now growing support for Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) is not unlike earlier enthusiasm for audiotape-based technologies. That is, individualized access to target language material under learner control provides needed exposure to and practice in the target language (Meskill, 1993).

Enthusiasm for CALL in general and multimedia in particular, however, differs from that of the audiotape laboratory as regards the breadth of expectations concerning technology’s role and potential. Fast and powerful computational capacity in conjunction with the orchestrated video, text and graphics of today’s multimedia learning systems would predict more sophisticated paradigms for interaction with the target language and, consequently, more effective learning (Jung, 1990).

Arguments supporting multimedia for education of this kind have rung loud and clear over the past decade. Praises for the medium are, however, based largely on intuition: learning a language via individualized instruction with the computer especially when audio and video are involved is an extremely appealing proposition, one that has sold to many an administrator in search of instructional panaceas (Jonassen, 1993). Thus far, however, the extent of multimedia’s impact on the language acquisition process remains an open issue. Is there evidence to suggest that listening skills development can be enhanced through this medium? The following section treats this question by examining potential correspondence between multi modal processing opportunities for language learners and how these can interact to complement listening skills acquisition (Garza, 1991).

Puspitasari (2010) in Cahyono (2010) in her article “Using Podcast as a Source of Material for Teaching English” informed what a podcast is. By the guidance of the teacher, the students can experience learning authentically through podcasts. The strategy described in this article is how to use podcast as a source material. Having listened to podcast, students are assigned to do several tasks in worksheets. Then, they can finish their final project by submitting the worksheets and a written recount text.

Other sources of the use of technology in English language learning and teaching are Murtado (2010) in Cahyono (2010), he used mailing lists in the English classroom where students can read other people’s questions and comments, and they can also give their comments. Samsuli (2010) in Cahyono (2010) proposed teaching English in a virtual classroom. As a teaching environment, virtual classroom provides a set of tools and features to facilitate teachers for delivering course materials and structuring learning experiences. The virtual learning gives teachers an experience in the new teaching atmosphere and environment and makes them change the way to teach. It will improve their face to face interaction with more effective questioning techniques.



Podcasts are audio (sometimes video) programs on the Web which are usually updated at regular intervals. New episodes can be listened to on the computer, or downloaded to an MP3 player or iPod for later listening. Although audio programs have existed on the Web for a few years already, what makes podcasting unique is its capacity for subscription through an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed, listeners can subscribe to their favorite Podcasts. Their computer will then receive alerts when new episodes have been posted. Podcatcher software programs, such as iTunes, will even download the latest episodes automatically once the program is opened. In other words, instead of having to visit individual Websites regularly for updated episodes, listeners can now have the latest episodes of their favoriteprograms delivered to their computer (Stanley, 2006)


Types of Podcast

Podcasts available on the Web fall broadly into two types: “radio Podcasts” and “independent Podcasts.” Radio Podcasts are existing radio programs turned into Podcasts, such as those produced by BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) and RTHK (Radio Television Hong Kong). “Independent Podcasts” are Web-based Podcasts produced by individuals and organizations (Lee, 2007).

It is the second type of Podcast which has huge potential for ELT because these can be perfect to suit the needs of different learners. They can be created by learners themselves with utmost ease.


ELT Podcasts

The first Podcasts appeared in early 2005. ELT educators soon joined the movement, and since the second half of 2005, there has been an upsurge in the number of ELT Podcasts on the Web. Teachers have three ways to look for suitable ELT Podcasts for their students. They can start with general Podcast directories. A Podcast directory is a searchable database which is linked to the Podcast sites. Teachers can type in a search term like “English,” “ELT,” “ESL,” and “TESOL,” and they will be given a list of ELT Podcasts. An example of a general Podcast directory is (Lee, 2007).

To narrow down their search, teachers may go directly to directories of educational Podcasts. One well-known educational Podcast directory is the Education Podcast Network: A recent new directory is, which claims to be the first U.K directory of educational Podcasts (Lee, 2007).

There is now such an abundance of ELT Podcasts on the Web that Podcast directories specializing in ELT are also available. These are directories which cover ELT podcasts only. One example is maintained by the Internet TESL Journal (McCarty, 2005).


Contents of ELT Podcast

ELT podcasts cover a wide range of subject matter. A brief survey of ELT podcasts reveals the following content types:

  • Comprehensive (e.g.,

These are Podcasts that cover a wide range of content types, such as traditional listening comprehension activities, interviews, and vocabulary. A well-known comprehensive Podcast is the one quoted above, created by “Teacher John,” who teaches ESL in Japan.

  • Whole lessons (e.g.,

These are whole lessons based on a Podcast. The Podcast quoted above, for example, makes use of a news story in each episode. The text of the news story is provided, and is accompanied by the audio file. There is then a lesson plan with accompanying worksheet materials. In effect, these are ready-made lessons based on Podcasts which teachers can use in the classroom directly.

  • Vocabulary, idioms, etc. (e.g.,

This is a popular type of Podcast, probably because it is easy to produce. In this kind of Podcast, the host chooses some vocabulary items and explains their usage. The example presents a few idioms in each episode.

These Podcasts contain conversations between native speakers to help less proficient learners, each episode is accompanied by the script, for learners to refer to while listening to the conversation.

These are Podcasts containing jokes because they usually play on language, they encourage careful listening by the learner.

  • Songs (e.g.,

These Podcasts contain songs for ESL learners. The songs are either traditional children’s songs, or authentic popular songs for teenagers. They are also often accompanied by the text of the lyrics.

  • Phonetics, pronunciation (e.g.,

Podcasts are obviously highly suited for teaching phonetics and pronunciation. These Podcasts are lessons which focus on specific phonemes and pronunciation problems in English.

  • Stories (e.g,

These are usually reading aloud story. They may or may not be followed by listening comprehension questions.

  • Listening comprehension (e.g.,

These Podcasts provide conventional listening comprehension practice.

In conclusion, computerized media and a multimedia environment can be helpful for English language learning and teaching and it has been asserted that internet sources and internet-based teaching are an excellent medium and strategies for generating social construction of knowledge. Information and communication technology can be used by adopting variant methods that could encourage students in developing independent learning strategies. In this study, the use of webblog and internet mail (e-mail) as learning medium and the use of podcast as a listening source material hopefully can make the students improve their listening skill and motivation.


Podcasts and Listening Activities

Teaching listening by using Podcast is possible to increase student listening comprehension as Podcast provide students with authentic and contextual material and it can improve students’ knowledge because they share their Podcast (Earp, 1998). Podcasting offers an ideal tool for the creative expression of knowledge preferred by today’s students, and provides an exciting way for students and teachers to explore and discover listening content or material. Podcasts are audio or video files that are automatically delivered over a network, and then played back on any Mac, PC, or iPod. When students create a Podcast for class, they not only learn the content in a creative way, they learn 21st-century communications skills at the same time (McCarty, 2005).  Podcasting allows teachers to take their students beyond traditional assignments by allowing them to include voice recordings, photos, movies, and sound effects to share their knowledge. For example, students can draft and perform scripts as a writing assignment, create a visual progress report for an ongoing project, or submit a recorded version of a science presentation (Ge, 2005).

Podcasting is also a great way for teachers to deliver listening content to their students. They can distribute homework assignments, record book narration for beginning readers to read along with, or create foreign language lessons that students can review at their own pace (Lee, 2007).

ELT Podcasts can be used for intensive and extensive listening activities. However, ELT Podcasts are particularly suited for extensive listening, for the purpose of motivating student interest in listening to English, and providing them with exposure to native speakers’ speech (Rost, 1991). Stanley (2006) points out that Podcasts offer students a wide range of possibilities for extra listening both inside and outside of the classroom:

 “Supplementing the (often) scripted and stilted textbook listening with the real life authentic conversations we can find on many Podcasts is an attractive option for language teachers chosen carefully, extracts can bring a range of different voices and varieties of English into the classroom.”

More advanced learners can be encouraged to listen to authentic podcast. This activity effectively bridges the gap between the formal English which dominates most second language classrooms and the informal English used in most real-life communication events.

The key to help students improve their listening skills is to convince them that they can finish the job. This is more of an attitude adjustment than anything else, and it is easier for some students to accept than others. Another important point is that teachers should convince their students to listen to English as often as possible. As to the listening material, the more material they get touch with, the more progress they will make (Nunan and Miller, 1995).

In conclusion, as we all know, for the students of English as a foreign language, there are usually intervals between the perceptions of sounds by their ears and understanding the words, phrases and sentences. This kind of intervals often makes students have more troubles in listening comprehension. So it is essential for them to have more chances to contact with different kinds of listening materials and let their ears be familiar with different sounds of English words. In classroom activities, teachers can also give students some advice about improving listening competency, one of the useful suggestions, that is, extensive listening. The best source for extensive listening is podcast material from the internet.



Having observed all the results of the studies mentioned above, it can be concluded that internet podcast is a great multimedia to improve students’ listening skill. Podcast allows students to download or subscribe to audio programs in the form of MP3 files which is very easy to apply and they can select appropriate podcast materials which they need and like. The material is then easily be transferred to a portable MP3 player. Moreover, Intensive and Extensive Listening Activity using podcast is able to overcome students’ low ability in listening comprehension and is able to fulfill their need to have extra time to improve their listening skill with appropriate and interesting listening materials.



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Earp, S. 1998. More Than Just the Internet: Technology for Language Teaching. ERIC Digest .

Garza, T. 1991. Evaluating the Use of Captioned Video Materials in Advanced     Foreign Language Learning.Foreign Language Annals, 24, 3, 239-258.

Harmer, J. 2001.The Practice of English Language Teaching (3rd Edition). Harlow: Longman

Jung, U. 1990. The Challenge of Broadcast Video Text to Applied Linguistics.IRAL, 28, 3.

Juniardi, Y. 2008. Improving Students Listening Skill through Podcasting Program. Paper presented in Asia TEFL Conference Bali, 23rd August.

Krashen, S. D. 1982. The Input Hypothesis. London: Longman

Lee, B. 2007.Podcasts Transforming Campus Life.The Monterey County Herald.

McCarty, S. 2005. Spoken Internet To Go: Popularization through Podcasting. JALT CALL, 1(2), 67-74.

Meskill, C. 1993. ESL and Multimedia: A Study of the Dynamics of Paired Student Discourse. System, 21, 3, 323-341.

Meskill, C. & Shea, P. 1994. Multimedia and Language Learning: Integrating the Technology Into Existing Curricula. Proceedings of the Third Conference on   Instructional Technologies. State University of New York: FACT.

Nunan, D. 1999. Second Language Teaching and Learning.Boston: Heinle&Heinle.

Nunan, D. and Miller, L. 1995. New Ways in Teaching Listening. Washington DC: TESOL.

Richards, J.C. 2002. Listening Comprehension: Approach, Design, Procedure. ESOL Quarterly, 17 (2): 29-240.

Rost, M. 1991. Listening in Action: Activities for DevelopingLlistening in Language Teaching. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Rost, M. 2002. Teaching and Researching Listening. London: Pearson Education.

Stanley, G. 2006. Podcasting: Audio on the Internet Comes of Age.TESL-EJ, 9(4).

Stoks, G. 2005. Podcasts: New Materials for Teaching Listening Comprehension. Retrieved from 26 April 2006.

Thorne, S. and Payne, J. 2005.Evolutionary Trajectories, Internetmediated Expression, and Language Education.CALICO, 22(3), 371-397.

Vandergrift. 1999. Facilitating Second Language Listening Comprehension: Acquiring Successful Strategies.

Wills, R. 2002.An Investigation of Factors Influencing English Listening

Comprehension and Possible Measures for Improvement. Australia: University of Tasmania.

Yumarnamto. 2008. Podcasts and Videocasts from the Internet to Improve Students’ Listening Skill. Paper presented in Asia TEFL Conference Bali, 1st-3rd August.


Lia Agustina

State Polytechnic of Malang



Comprehending passages, developing vocabularies into dialogues, creating scenes and plays, and its picturing of an approximate real communication provide a dynamic format in which language skills can be introduced and reinforced. The article is a report of the writer’s experience in using of drama in EFL classes. It is aimed at giving an alternative technique in teaching EFL in Indonesian context. It describes (a) the benefits of implementing drama that performing the integrated language skills in EFL classroom b) how to set it up, and c) how to do it. It was proofed that creating and performing a script-based on improvisation can be a highly successful learning experience for ESL students. While it motivates them to generate imaginative and detailed ideas, greatly expand and mobilize their vocabularies, actively practice language skills and attain far greater fluency. It also provides a setting in which they can explore the social values of a different unique characters among students. Participating in this kind of activity strengthens students’ confidence in their academic ability, an essential component of successful language acquisition. Finally, it develops cultural and social awareness, an effective and delightful way to personalize a principle or illustrate a correct thought pattern of live that should be known and implemented by the students.


 Key-words: drama, EFL class, refresh students’ mind, improve students’ skills




Drama activities are a valuable tool in the language teacher’s tool belt. The activities can give students and teachers alike a break from the daily routine of worksheets, grammar drills, and tests. While maintaining limits, teachers can add the learning by discussing and performing about human characters, social value, culture and art that would develop students’ knowledge, sensitivity, responsibility, attitude, emotion that bring to the mature of the students ‘character while at the same time control a sense of language use.

Many teachers are most comfortable with a teacher fronted classroom and in their role as dispenser of knowledge; drama activities call for the teachers to model language which involving learning about human characters. Rather than merely concentrating on grammatical structures, drama activities serve and explore on releasing emotion, eliciting, acting using physic and expression that incorporate students’ feelings, intellect, and bodies for a truly creative and social language learning experience. Drama activities can also foster self-motivation among students who may find other forms of language learning boring. Although teachers still set up activities by pre-teaching vocabulary or modeling grammatical structures, drama tasks aren’t seen as chores one has to do, but as likable activities that students look forward to. Because students enjoy drama activities and have some controls over the content, students start to take control of their own language learning. In addition, drama activities have a direct correlation to real world activities. By seeing and participating in familiar events being carried out in the target language, students start to see the target language as a living, meaningful part of their world, rather than dead print on a page or meaningless memorized responses to a teachers prompt. Through the tools used in learning language through drama, students can discover new ways to experience the target language that is not only fun but it is also an effective teaching method.



Students sometimes need a refreshment to avoid boring but still keeping the learning by using a methodology which is not the same as students faced for every meeting students have, a learning methodologies that can make students feel fun and enjoy the atmosphere. Games can be chosen as one of methodologies to be used to fun students (for once in a while) since it can make students happy but generally it doesn’t increase a lot on the knowledge or the experience of the students’ learning, it is used to amuse the students ‘atmosphere. Then drama activities would be a choice which has a complete meaningful of senses, one of the meaningful sense meant is anxiety, Anxiety plays an important affective role in SLA along with other psychological factors such as self-esteem, inhibition and risk-taking (Brown, 1994). MacIntyre, 2002; describes how language anxiety occurs when a student associates anxiety with the second language. Students doing well in other courses may find language-learning to be very different, possibly because of personality, specific problems with language acquisition, or specific reactions to a language learning context.

The notion of facilitative anxiety has been identified as a positive factor by some researchers. The determination to complete a task spurs students to success. Bailey in MacIntyre, 2002, states that facilitative anxiety was one of the keys to success. In Brown, 1994, it is closely related to competitiveness which causes learners to work harder. “Both too much and too little anxiety may hinder the process of successful second language learning.” While Holden, 1981 indicates “the aim of using drama is to bridge a gap between the classroom and outside world; students have learnt English in the overprotected world of the classroom, and are unprepared for the ‘coughs and hesitations’ of the outside world. It is up to the teachers to prepare them for this element of the unexpected and, as we shall see, this can often be done through drama.” …The teacher can provide situations in which his students can experience the emotions and impulses from which communication develops. Drama is a useful medium in the communicative language classroom where the 80 percentage focus is placed on the meaning of the language rather than the form.



According to Charlyn Wessels (1987) “Drama is doing. Drama is being. Drama is such a normal thing. It is something that we engage in daily when faced with difficult situations. We get up in the morning with a bad headache or an attack of depression, yet we face the day and cope with other people, pretending that nothing is wrong [….] getting on with our day-to-day lives requires a series of civilized masks if we are to maintain our dignity and live in harmony with others.” Drama is actually an intrinsic part of everyone’s life – not something that demands special talent.


Dramatizing is not the same as drama

The word drama may produce the image of an end-of – term play, staged by nervous children, organized by overwrought teacher and watcher by fond parents. But drama is not only about the product (the performance) it is also part of the process of language learning (LiubovDesiatova, 2011). Drama allows students to own the simple and mechanical language students use by involving their personalities. It gives students, who are shy when speaking foreign language, another character to “hide behind “. “Dramatizing” is a better word for this than drama. Dramatizing means that the students become actively involved in a text. This personalization makes language more meaningful and memorable than drilling or mechanical repetition.


The benefit of implementing drama in the EFL classroom

Using drama activities has clear advantages for language learning. It encourages students to give them the chance to communicate, even with limited language, using non-verbal communication, such as body movements and facial expression (Jill Hadfield , 1992). There are also a number of other factors which makes drama a very powerful tool in the language classroom. Besides having educational, physical, linguistic, emotional and intellectual benefits, drama in the classroom also has own pedagogical objectives which are the following:  (1) to break the routine of teaching English frontally and traditionally, (2) to have fun and a pleasant teaching practice experience, (3) to provide opportunities for experiencing innovative ideas that could be used in the future, (4) to have a first hand experience in witnessing the language improvement among the participants, and (5) to create an atmosphere of cooperation between student teachers.

According to LiubovDesiatova, (2011) implementing drama in the classroom has a lot of benefits. The benefits are described below.

First, it is to give learners an experience (dry-run) of using the language for genuine communication and real-life purposes; and by generating a need to speak.  In the classrooms, teachers usually expose students to small bits of language such as individual words, rather than whole phrases or “chunks”. Drama is an ideal way to encourage students to guess the meaning of unknown language in a context. Students will need to use a mixture of language structures and functions (“chunks”) if students want to communicate successfully.

Second, it can make language learning an active, motivating experience. In addition same activity can be done at different levels at the same time, which means that all the students can do it successfully.

Third, it can help students gain the confidence and self-esteem needed to use the language spontaneously. By taking a role, students can escape from their everyday identity and “hide behind “another character. When teacher give students special roles, it encourages them to be that character and abandon their shyness. Teacher can use roles to encourage children who would otherwise hold back, and control children who dominate the weaker ones.

Fourth, it can bring the real world into the classroom (problem-solving, research, consulting dictionaries, real time & pace, cross-curricular content). When using drama, the aims can be more than linguistic. Teachers can use topics from other subjects: students can act out scenes from history, work on ideas and issues that run through the curriculum, such as respect for the environment. Drama can also be used to introduce the culture of the new language, through stories and customs, and with a context for working on different kinds of behavior.

Fifth, it can be used to emulate the way children naturally acquire language through play, make-believe and meaningful interaction. Dramatizing is part of students’ life from an early age. Students try out different roles in make-believe play, in day-to-day situations (shopping, visiting doctors). Students rehearse the language and the “script” of the situation and experience the emotions involved, knowing that students can switch back to reality whenever students want to.

Next, it can be used to make what is learned memorable through direct experience and affect (emotions) for learners with different learning styles. Dramatizing appeals to all kinds of learners. When students dramatize they use all the channels (sight, hearing, and physical bodies) and each student will draw to on the one that suits them best. This means students will all be actively involved in the activity and the language will “enter” through the cannel most appropriate for them. Dramatizing allow students to add emotion and personality to a text that they have read or listened to. This makes language memorable.

Seventh, it can be used to stimulate students’ intellect and imagination. Make-believe play encourages students’ creativity and develops their imagination, and at the same time gives them the opportunity to use language that is outside their daily needs. Language teachers can use this natural desire to act out situations.

Further, it can be used to develop students’ ability to empathize with others and thus become better communicators. Students often work in a group or pairs when dramatizing. students have to make decisions as a group, listen to each other, and value each other’s suggestions. Students have to co-operate to achieve their aims.

Ninth, it helps students acquire language by focusing on the message they are conveying, not the form of their utterances. Important messages can be conveyed and explored.  Finally, it helps students imitate and improve their characters by focusing on the actors ‘characters they are learning on the story/drama performed

Drama is picturing of a part human-being’s life from an early age. Students try out to see, to learn and to consider, the bad and the good characters from the actors on the story or drama performed and then students rehearse and perform the characters on the stage, meaning the characters they learnt would describe the picture of human life should be or what they have seen in the real life and although it is only a little but it could influence and keep in their mind and perform on their behavior, because one of the human characters’ has is imitating..


Drama Reveals Aspects of the Human Condition

Drama is a method to reveal aspects of the human condition; life is nothing more than a grand series of improvisations (Price 1980). Through the games, students begin to realize the importance of shared space, time, attention, information and ideas. The games spark spontaneity and minimize self-consciousness which often inhibits learning. The games are also good for developing concentration and trust in the classroom. While students are having all this fun, they are developing skills of coordination, imitating, focusing on the task at hand. The improvisation enables students to flex their emotional, mental as well as physical muscles in a safe and controlled setting. A good example of this was a role-play one group performed where student displayed their displeasure with the school principal. There was no harm done and all the students were feeling the same.


Class Experience

Below is a report on the writer has done with her students in the class using drama.  The student-made script can be seen in the appendix.

How to Set It Up

For a class of about 25 students, this activity requires about a half hour of class time twice a week for approximately four weeks. The amount of time can be increased or decreased according to the length of the script, the degree of participation and the level of performance desired by the students. The class and the teacher (writer):

  1. Choose a dramatic life situation, such as: an immigration interview, the first day of school, a bank loan, a college interview, a first date, a new job, a new neighborhood, the school bully, work problems, trouble in a foreign country, a frightening experience, getting lost, finding something valuable, writes of passage, getting married, winning the lottery.
  2. Create two characters basic to the situation. Ask for volunteer actors.
  3. Using chairs, the desk and a few props, create a simple set. Block actors in place, elicit the opening dialogue from the class, and introduce new and familiar vocabulary, sentence structure and verb tense. Write the opening script on the board or overhead projector. Have everyone copy it.
  4. Using simple stage directions have the two characters read and rehearse the script. As students read, have the class create new characters one at a time. As each is created, elicit an opening dialogue, write the script on the screen, and have the class copy it.
  5. Rehearse the play from the beginning as often as possible for three to four weeks. Be sure the scripted dialogue is repeated before the actors are allowed to improvise.
  6. Integrate writing assignments as the play evolves that analyze plot, characters and themes, as well as reinforce vocabulary, grammar and sentence structure.
  7. If possible, perform and videotape the completed play in an audio-visual studio before invited guests.

Tips for Avoiding Pitfalls

Be flexible. This encourages improvisation as well as language expression and experimentation. By allowing for variation, the play can more closely simulate real life communication:

  1. Be flexible about roles in case students do not work out. Allow students to try each others roles until they find comfortable ones. This also enables creative ideas to germinate.
  2. Be flexible about the script. Include various choices if the students suggest them.
  3. Don’t rehearse scenes excessively. Keep the momentums of the play going.
  4. While assignments can be precise, let the improvisation stimulate expression, variation and fluency.


How We Did It

Our class chose “Job Interview,” a write of passage that everyone had either anticipated or already experienced. This situation possessed the key elements that would stimulate self-generated, adaptive language: the flexibility to include a range of characters, and the need to refer to all time planes: past, present and future.

The “kernel” plot consisted of the president of an important manufacturing company, and Mr. Jose Martinez, a job applicant. Scripting the beginning of the interview, the class immediately created a third character, the president’s secretary. The scene opened with the president seated at our desk, the secretary standing nearby, and Mr. Martinez waiting outside in the hall. The class wrote the initial introductions and the questions the president would ask Mr. Martinez about his education, work experience, present circumstances, and future expectations, along with Mr. Martinez’s responses. Inevitably, the script required different types of sentences, varying syntactical patterns and shifting verb tenses. To describe the position, the president required a greatly expanded vocabulary to cover its responsibilities and salary; the company’s benefits (health insurance, expense accounts, bonuses, sick days and vacation time); the working environment (physical facilities, colleagues and office hierarchy); and possibilities for advancement (promotion, lateral moves, travel). After Mr. Martinez departed, the president interviewed a competing applicant. This conversation was not scripted but entirely improvised based on the previous dialogue.

Dividing the class into groups, the class then brainstormed for potential conflicts. After discussing their ideas, crises erupted in rapid succession: an unexpected visit from the president’s angry wife whose birthday had been forgotten; desperate phone calls from their two children after a high school suspension and car accident at college; an emergency phone call from the president’s brother in the company’s South American factory about a violent workers’ strike; a disturbing phone call from a scheming cousin demanding a share of the family business; an emotional phone call from the president’s mistress, threatening to call his wife; various phone calls from meddling neighbors, concerned friends, anxious relatives and pressured business associates. At the end of the improvisation, all the characters arrived at the president’s office for a climactic, full-scale confrontation.

Every student participated in the play, volunteering for roles with increasing confidence. As the plot developed, students improvised dialogue that recalled prior vocabulary and sentence patterns, and experimented with new variations. Significantly, as the drama evolved, the class began to address issues other than language; under the “cover” of their roles, students debated American social and cultural norms that differed from those of their native cultures. This aspect of the experience became an added stimulus to expression. After several weeks of rehearsal, the class videotaped the entire play in the audio-visual studio where unexpected expression on the president’s part spontaneously produced a surprising end to the conflict.

During the weeks that the improvisation evolved, the class also read about jobs and working, reviewed grammar that pertained to the dialogue and wrote a variety of papers including a full “master” script of their own improvised scenes, character analyses, imagined conversations between characters, interpretations of the social, psychological and moral issues of the story from their own and their character’s point of view, and descriptions of actual employment experiences that had happened to them and others students interviewed, all of which enriched their contributions to the play.

The role of the teacher

In this technique, students have more responsibility for their own learning. However, this does not diminish the importance of the teacher in the instructional process. It is the responsibility of the teacher to guide the language learning process by:  (a) modeling pronunciation, intonation, stress, rhythm, and oral expression, (b) facilitating comprehension of vocabulary, idioms, cultural aspects, and plot, (c) stimulating interest and conversation, and interacting with the students, (d) establishing an acting workshop atmosphere, and (e) creating a student-participatory language learning experience.


Creating and performing a script-based improvisation can be a highly successful learning experience for ESL students. While it motivates students to generate imaginative and detailed ideas, greatly expand their vocabulary, actively practice language skills and attain far greater fluency, it also provides a setting in which students can explore the social values of a different culture. Finally, participating in this kind of activity strengthens students’ confidence in their academic ability, an essential component of successful language acquisition.

If teacher could plan it carefully, students will take it seriously and perform better, therefore benefiting more and wanting to do more. Some important points to consider in preparation for an English lesson using drama are presented below.

First, choose the right activity. When teacher plan a drama activity teacher need to know our aims. There can be activity for different purposes. The students’ age affects the kind of activity teacher plan. The more dramatizations the students do and the more students reflect on what they have done, the better students will become.

Second, start in small steps. Not all students are good at acting, especially if drama isn’t part of their curriculum. Introduce drama into our classroom in small steps. Start with easy guided activities and move on to less-controlled ones.

Third, give feedback. Teacher are not training professional actors and actresses but giving students an enjoyable way of practicing and using their English. Teacher need to give feedback on what  students have done, not only the end product and language, but also the process that students went through, the way students co-operated with each other and how students came to decisions. Find something positive to comment on. There will be areas of students’ work that can be improved and this should be part of teacher feedback to students. While students are doing the activities, teacher watch and listen to them, try not to interfere, and take notes on what are observing. The process is teacher main aim, but students will see that “the performance” as the most important part of the lesson. Teacher need to value students’ performance. When teacher have finished give students feedback. There are many ways of doing this in oral or written forms. If constructive feedback becomes a regular part of dramatization activities, the students will gradually improve their dramatizing abilities and their language.




Brown, H.D. 1994. Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. U.S.A.: Prentice Hall

Charlyn, Wessel. 1987, Drama, Oxford; OUP, Resource Books for Teachers

Jill Hadfield , 1992, Classroom Dynamics ,Oxford; OUP Resource Books for Teachers

MacIntyre, P.D. 2002. Motivation, Anxiety, and Emotion in Second Language Acquisition. in P. Robinson. (Ed.) Individual Differences and Instructed Language Learning.Philadelphia: John Benjamin’s PublishingCo.

LiubovDesiatova, Russian Federation– humanizing language teaching- in association with Pilgrim, Retrieved August 20, 2011,

Price, Pamela (1980). Creative Play Production in the Classroom. Yale, Yale Publishers


Students’ drama-script (already performed in the classroom)

D3- Semester 4-Accounting students – 2010/2011 – State Polytechnic of Malang

Kartika as Timus Mas

Agus Rudi as ButoIjo

Vita Wardha as Mother

Oki as Herbal Seller

Fajar as Hermit

Riska as Sylph



Act. 1

Once upon a time, in a place deep inside the forest, there were a green giant named ButoIjo and a sacred hermit. They were best friends since toddlers. One day, the hermit came to the grotto to see his best friend.

Hermit : Is anyone inside? [Walks inside the grotto]

ButoIjo : I’m here.

Hermit : There you are Hermit,  what are you doing?

ButoIjo : Eating. Can’t you see it?

Hermit : Oh… I see. What are you eating?

ButoIjo : [No response, just continue eating]

Hermit : You’re so annoying! Can I have some?

ButoIjo : [Turns his body away, not willing to share his foods with the hermit]

Hermit : [Little bit angry] As usual, you never share me your foods though I always shared mine with you! You stingy giant! I loathe you!

ButoIjo : Hah.. As if I care! [Continue eating]

Hermit : Someday your greed will get its return! Don’t regret it! I’m leaving! [Gets out of the grotto with anger]



One day, there was a widow. She lived in a village near the forest. Unfortunately, she didn’t has any children yet. Everyday she prayed to God for a child. The widow has a friend, the herb seller.

Mother : Oh God… please give us a child. I promise I will always protect my child. Please answer our prayer. Thank you God.

Herb Seller : [Comes to the widow] don’t be sad. I have heard that there is a giant in grotto that can help you to fulfill your request.

Mother : Really?! Would you accompany me to there?

Herb Seller : ha?! Now? To the grotto?

Mother : yes.

Herb seller : Okay. 5 thousand!

Mother : Come on… we are best friend, aren’t we?

Herb Seller : Hmmm. Okay, Let’s go.

Act. 3

[In front of the grotto]

Herb Seller : spadaaaaa~ anybody here?

Mother : Hi stop shout please! Oh, that’s him. He is seemingly sleeping. Let’s we wake him up.

Herb Seller : Buto, buto..

Butoijo : [angry] I’m still sleepy. Grrr. Why do you wake me up ha? You’re so annoying me. grrr

Mother : I’m sorry if I wake you up, but I need your help now. I have been desired this so long. I believe that you can help me. Please buto..

Butoijo : ah you are so fussy. What do you want?


Mother : ooh thank you ButoIjo, thank you so much. I want.. I want.. emmm I forgot it!

Herb Seller : You want have a baby, don’t you?

Mother : oh yes, I remember. Please give me a baby.

Butoijo : oooo that’s easy, I can manage it. But…

Mother : I will do everything that you want if you grant my wish.

Butoijo : hmmmmmmm. I will grant your wish if you give your daughter to me after she is 17 years old.

Mother : okay.

Butoijo : [giving some cucumber seeds] Plant this seeds behind your house till it has results and the color’s gold.

Mother : Thank you ButoIjo.

Act. 4

In heaven, Sylph and Sacred hermit met. They have been best friend since they were child. With ButoIjo of course. Hermit looked sad and confused.

Sylph : Hi Hermit. What are you thinking about?

Hermit : I’m thinking about how’s the way to protect Timun Mas. Any idea?

Sylph : hmmmm. We should work together before she was hurt by ButoIjo. You have to prevent ButoIjo when he will hurt Timun Mas. And I will give an incantation to her so she will be guarded. Do you agree?

Hermit : That’s good idea. I hope it can be success.

Act. 5

One day in widow mother’s house, mother found out the seed that she have plant before has result.

Mother : [Farming] Woaa this cucumber has had golden. But, I’m still afraid to pick its. I have to call Herb Seller to help me.

[Mother met Herb Seller on the way to the Herb Seller’s house coincidentally]

Herb Seller : What happened miss? You look panic.

Mother : Come on follow me. Help me to pick the golden cucumber. Hurry up!

[Herb seller and mother run into the garden so fast. Then pick the golden cucumber and bring it to the mother’s house]

[Mother and Herb Seller split the golden cucumber and find a baby out.]

Mother : hah?! Why is this baby inside this cucumber? [she’s shocked]

Herb Seller : hmmm. Maybe this was the promise of Butoijo long time ago.

Mother : oooooooh yes, I remember it. Aihh she’s so funny. Hmmmm I will call her Timun Mas, because she was born from golden cucumber. Is it good ha?

Herb Seller : How a unique name it is! Good.

[Hermit and Sylph appear between them suddenly]

Mother : Hei, Who are you?

Sylph : I am a fairy and I will protect your daughter by my incantation. When she’s 17 years old, ButoIjo can’t hurt her. And beside me, he’s Hermit, my friend whose help me in protecting Timun Mas.

Hermit : Hi all.

Mother : Thank you. You have been protecting my daughter from ButoIjo. Thank you.

[Sylph’s spelling]

Hermit : I give you this necklace. Later, if Timun Mas has 17 years old, put this around her neck. When she’s threatened, this necklace gives a signal to us to help her as soon as possible. [while giving the necklace]

Mother : Okay, thank you hermit. I will put this necklace away well.

Act. 6

17 years later, Timun Mas has growth. One day, she went to the forest to looking for some fresh flowers. In there, she met ButoIjo.

Butoijo : hahahahahaha . . . . .

Timun Mas : [frightened] wh who are you?

ButoIjo : I will eat you Timun Mas. hahahahahhahahahahahahaha . . . .

Timun mas : Don’t hurt me please.. Don’t hurt me..

[Timun Mas run to her house and shouted]

Timun Mas : Help! Help! Help me!

ButoIjo : Don’t run away!!

[Timun Mas still runs]



Act. 7

Timun Mas was frightened because there was a giant want to eat her. Then she runs, came home to keep save.

Timun Mas : Mom..Mom.. help me!

Mother : What happened? What happened?

Timun Mas : There is a giant who want to eat me when I went to the forest just now. I’m so fear mom. Huuuuhuuu~ [ crying ]

Mother : What? ButoIjo comes back. You must be careful dear.

Timun mas : Who’s ButoIjo mom? Why did he want to eat me?

Mother : Timun,, I must tell you about a thing honestly. A long time ago, I requested a baby to a giant, ButoIjo. He will grant my request if I give you to him when you are 17 years old.

Timun Mas : No! Then, what must I do mom?

Mother : Calm down please. I remember something, wait a minutes. [goes to the room to looking for the necklace]

Timun Mas : Okay mom.

[few minutes later…]

Mother : Timun, take this necklace and don’t ever you put this out. Remember this! This necklace will help you in danger. [put the necklace to TimunMas’s neck]

Timun Mas : Yes mom, I will remember it. Thank you

[The following day, ButoIjo goes to the Mother’s house to dun her promise]


ButoIjo : Open the door! Open the door! Where’s my Timun Mas?!

[Mother and Timun Mas are frightened]

Timun Mas : That’s him! The giant.

[Mother and Timun Mas are panic]

[Sylph comes between them suddenly]


Sylph : Go far away from here, Timun. I will replace you here. And mother, open the door please and don’t be panic!

[Timun Mas and Mother keep nodding. Then, Timun Mas go away to the forest]

ButoIjo : Hoi, open the door!!!!! [angry]

Mother : Why do you here?

ButoIjo : Give your daughter now! Where’s she? [still angry]

[Sylph as Timun Mas meet ButoIjo]

Sylph : I’m here Buto. I know you want me to be your food but, please give me one day to life. I want spend my time with my beloved mother just a day.. Please Buto..Please..What a pity I am..Please..

ButoIjo : [after thinking] hmmm. Okay. I give you a chance to alive. But remember, just a day! Then, the following day I will back to eat you.

Sylph : Thank You Buto.

[Buto comes back to the forest and goes home]

Act. 8

On the way to the forest, Timun Mas met The Herb Seller.

Herb Seller : Timun mas! [shouted] Timun Mas!!

Herb Seller : Why you look so frightened? What happened?

Timun Mas : Help me. ButoIjo is looking for me now. I want to be his food by him. Where I must go? Help me. [in a hurry and panic]

Herb Seller : What? ButoIjo’s coming back to eat you?! Okay, calm down. I have something for you. [She’s looking for a package in her pocket]. [gives the package to Timun Mas] Use these if ButoIjo chase after you. Throw these one by one to the ButoIjo’s body. Go far away now! Hurry!

Timun Mas : Okay, I’ll do what you say miss. Thank you. Bye.

[ButoIjo meets Timun Mas in the forest]

ButoIjo : She is Timun Mas, isn’t she?! So, who have been in that house just now? [Thinking]

[after few minutes]

ButoIjo : Timun Mas!!!! Come back to me!!

[Timun Mas runs away]

ButoIjo : Don’t go! Comes here!! Hei!! [angry]

Timun Mas : Help!! Help!!!!

[throw few salt, some needles, and shrimp paste to ButoIjo]

Timun Mas : Go away!! Go far away from me!!!

ButoIjo : Arrrrgh! Stop it! Stop it!

[Timun Mas still throw few salt, some needles, and shrimp paste. Its make ButoIjo drown to the mud river ]

[Hermit appears between them suddenly]


ButoIjo : Help!! Help me!!!

Hermit : How pity you are. That’s your consequent of your greed.

ButoIjo : Help me hermit, please..

Hermit : I will save you if you promise that you won’t disturb Timun Mas again. Will you?

ButoIjo : Yes, I will. I promise, I won’t disturb Timun Mas again.

[Hermit reads the incantation and ButoIjo saved from the mud flood. Then, ButoIjo apologizes to Timun Mas]

ButoIjo : Thank you Hermit

[Sylph comes close to Timun Mas who’s running away]

Sylph : Timun..Timun..

Timun : Oh..You.. Sylph!

Sylph : Calm down, Timun.. ButoIjo will not bother you again. So, follow me. I will deliver you to your mother.

Timun : Thank you Sylph. You’ve helped me. Thank you so much.

[in front of the house]

Mother : Oh Timun.. My daughter. [hold Timun] Thankfully, you’re survived. Don’t cry Timun. So, how about ButoIjo?

Sylph : ButoIjo promised, he will not bother you again. So, from now, live together in peace and happiness.

[ButoIjo comes back to the grotto with Hermit. Timun Mas and her mother live happily ever after]