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International Journal of English Language

& Translation Studies


Journal homepage: http://www.eltsjournal.org

The Utilization of Authentic Materials in Indonesian EFL Contexts: An Exploratory Study on


Learners Perceptions
[PP: 197-210]
Heri Mudra
English Language Education Department
Islamic State College of Kerinci
(STAIN Kerinci), Indonesia
ARTICLE INFO

ABSTRACT

Article History
The paper received
on: 06/04/2014
Accepted after
peer-review on:
15/05/2014
Published on:
01/06/2014

The aims of this study were to find out the kinds of preferred authentic
materials (AMs) utilized by EFL learners at Islamic State College of Kerinci
(STAIN Kerinci), Indonesia; and, to explore the learners` perceptions on the
utilization of preferred AMs in EFL classrooms. This study was carried out of
focus-group interviews towards seven learners selected by using snowball
sampling technique. The findings of the study show that the EFL learners
utilize various kinds of AMs including internet-mediated AMs, printed AMs,
audiovisual (video) AMs, and audio AMs. It was reported that each kind of
materials has either advantages or disadvantages. The advantages of AMs
included: improving and developing skills or abilities on listening, reading,
speaking, writing, vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. The materials also
make the learners aware of the importance of native-speaker cultures through
which real English is learnt. However, the disadvantages of AMs included:
unlimited in length and lack of academic instructions. It is recommended that
EFL teachers should provide various AMs in EFL classrooms. The AMs
should be selected and balanced with EFL learners English abilities or levels.

Keywords:
Authentic Materials,
EFL learners,
EFL classroom,
Indonesian EFL Learners,
Snowball Sampling
Technique

Suggested Citation:
Mudra, Heri. (2014) The Utilization of Authentic Materials in Indonesian EFL Contexts: An Exploratory
Study on Learners Perceptions. International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies. 2(2), 197210 Retrieved from http://www.eltsjournal.org

IJ-ELTS

Volume: 2

Issue: 2

1. Introduction
The importance of Authentic
Materials (AMs) in EFL/ESL contexts has
been revealed in several studies. AMs
provide real cultural exposure and discourse
(Kilickaya, 2004; Martinez, 2002; Morrison,
1989; Peacock, 1997), and become
appropriate sources for learning since AMs
bring EFL learners into real contexts
(Spelleri, 2002; Swan, 1985; Kilickaya, 2004;
Vigil, 1987; Wong, Kwok, & Choi, 1995).
EFL learners are able to figure out the kinds
of AMs for their learning. The kinds of AMs
are selected based on learners need and
learning goals. In this case, EFL teachers are
to select appropriate AMs for learning.
Having selected and provided AMs, the EFL
teachers can either directly use the selected
AMs or adapt AMs based on EFL learners
abilities. If EFL teachers select AMs
accurately, then EFL classrooms will be, of
course, influenced and make the classroom
successful.
Lecturers creativity and ability in
utilizing selected AMs have been a part of
responsibility in EFL classrooms at Islamic
State College of Kerinci (STAIN Kerinci),
Indonesia. The English lecturers at STAIN
are to write a syllabus and enclose kinds of
AMs for EFL learners to find. In the teaching
process, the lecturers ensure that each EFL
learners are ready with their AMs since they
are asked to select themselves. However, the
use of AMs in the EFL classrooms is always
as successful as is expected. Several problems
in EFL classrooms still remain, though
advantages of AMs are more dominant. One
of the problems is whether or not the
selected AMs meet the EFL learners needs
and interests. This problem is a background
of why this study was done. As the EFL
learners attend classes for many subjects and
use AMs for learning, the study focused on

April-June, 2014

analyzing any possible answers out of the


following questions:
1) What kinds of authentic materials are
preferable to Indonesian EFL learners?
2) What are the advantages and the
disadvantages of authentic materials for
Indonesian EFL learners?
2. Literature review
Authentic materials (AMs) are any
product or thing designed or produced by
native speakers for native speakers daily
activities. In ESL or EFL contexts, they are
called authentic materials consisting of highly
qualified or well-designed authenticity.
However, authentic materials are not
designed and produced for English Language
Teaching (ELT) contexts. The materials,
consisting of texts or audios, are intended for
being used by native speakers (Martinez,
2005; Nunan, 1989; Young, 1993). Authentic
texts are written by native speakers and to be
used by native speakers as a daily
consumption. They are especially designed
for native speakers or community (Peacock,
1997; Widdowson, 1990, Sanderson, 1999;
Rogers & Medley, 1988). AMs are materials
that are attested, actual, and have real
authentic instances of use (Stubb, 1996).
Morrow (1977) states that an authentic text
is a stretch of real language, produced by a
real speaker or writer for a real audience and
designed to convey a real message of some
sort (p.13). The definitions summarize that
AMs are designed and created by native
speakers for native speakers. In this case,
AMs are created based on native cultures
which include languages, ways of life,
lifestyles, economy, politics, education,
custom, technology, and the like. AMs
designed have either advantages or
disadvantages.
2.1 Advantages of the use of Authentic
Materials

Cite this article as: Mudra, Heri. (2014) The Utilization of Authentic Materials in Indonesian EFL Contexts: An
Exploratory Study on Learners` Perceptions. International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies. 2(2),
197-210 Retrieved from http://www.eltsjournal.org
Page | 198

IJ-ELTS

Volume: 2

Issue: 2

The use of AMs in EFL classrooms


can
be
both
advantageous
and
disadvantageous. One of the advantageous of
AMs is that AMs expose cultures of native
speakers that will directly influence on EFL
learners knowledge on how the native
speakers behave and use English language
contextually (Gebhard, 1996; Hwang, 2005;
Peacock, 1997; Martinez, 2002). The use of
AMs in EFL classrooms is useful for
increasing EFL learners abilities on real
English usage. The materials like English
newspapers, magazines, online news, and
movies provide real practices of native
cultures and habits in using English language.
EFL teachers are to choose the materials that
are directly related to English skills such as
speaking, listening, reading and writing. AMs
which consist of materials can be directly use
or adapted by EFL teachers based teaching
and learning goals.
Another advantage of AMs is that
AMs provide various natural, authentic,
applicable, and ready-to-use materials for use
in EFL classrooms (Hwang, 2005; Chase,
2002). AMs are said to be natural since AMs
reflect on what has really happened, what is
really happening, or what will happen. Since
AMs are not designed for any language
learning and are especially designed as parts
of peoples daily activities, AMs are authentic
and applicable. By using AMs in teaching
and learning English, EFL learners are
exposed to direct contact of real English
discourses and real practice of genuine
communication in the target language (Breen,
1985; Geddes & White, 1978).
Even though AMs are considered to
be used by advanced learners (Swinscoe,
1992; Huizenga & Thomas-Ruzic, 1994),
AMs can be selected based on EFL learners
level and needs (Huizenga & Thomas-Ruzic,
1994; Mejia & O`Connor, 1994). AMs are
not only used by advanced learners, but also

April-June, 2014

by lower-level learners. The strategy for using


AMs for different levels of learners is by
determining EFL learners level and selecting
appropriate AMs that fit with learners level.
2.2 Disadvantages of the use of Authentic
Materials
The use of AMs also has some
disadvantages. AMs can cause lower-level
EFL learners lack of motivation in learning
English as AMs consist of complex, difficult
texts, vocabularies, sentences, and language
varieties ( Peacock, 1997; Martinez, 2002).
Lower-level learners become stressful when
they are introduced with AMs for the first
time (Nunan, 1989). This problem is not, of
course, faced by advanced EFL learners.
They have high abilities to understand
complex structures and difficult words of
AMs. If so, the focus of enhancing lowerlevel learners English abilities is by
employing good learning strategies (Rubin
1975; Oxford, 1990; Wenden, 1991; Stern,
1975). Employing learning strategies when
using AMs for lower-level EFL learners are
believed to be a good strategy for preventing
this problem.
Another disadvantage of AMs is that
since AMs are not designed for language
learning purposes, then EFL learners of
different levels are not able to understand
and catch meaning of AMs which are not
edited, rewritten, and redesigned based on
EFL learners level or abilities (Kilickaya,
2004; Rogers, 1988, Dumitrescu, 2000;
Petraglia, 1998). EFL teachers find AMs
difficult to adapt or select as AMs are not
rewritten and redesigned for language
learning purpose. Fortunately, teachers can
adapt AMs based on the levels of EFL
learners (Westwood, 2005; Deschenes,
Ebeling, &Sprague, 1999; Lovitt & Horton,
1994). Adapting and rewriting AMs mean
that teachers are able to select appropriate
AMs and adjust AMs for a purpose of EFL

Cite this article as: Mudra, Heri. (2014) The Utilization of Authentic Materials in Indonesian EFL Contexts: An
Exploratory Study on Learners` Perceptions. International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies. 2(2),
197-210 Retrieved from http://www.eltsjournal.org
Page | 199

IJ-ELTS

Volume: 2

Issue: 2

classrooms. For Lower-level EFL learners, it


will be easier to understand AMs if the
materials are adapted. Therefore, these
problems can be overcome.
3. The Present Study
3.1 Methodology
This study focused on exploring
Indonesian EFL learners point of views,
experiences, and suggestions towards the use
of AMs in learning English skills which
include listening, reading, speaking, writing,
grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. The
study was exploratory and took place in
Islamic State College of Kerinci (STAIN
Kerinci) in order to gather detailed
information concerning the use of AMs
qualitatively. The researcher, in exploring the
learners perceptions, sought to study their
entire experiences on utilizing the AMs. To
get the clear, detailed data, the exploration on
their thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, and
assumptive worlds (Marshal & Rossmans,
1999, p.57) towards the utilization of AMs
was done accurately. Having gathered the
information, an interpretive analysis of the
learners perceptions was used in order to
discuss their views, experiences, and
suggestions towards the AMs.
3.2 Participants
The participants of the study were
seven EFL learners at Islamic State College
of Kerinci (STAIN Kerinci), who were
selected through a purposeful sampling. This
kind of sampling was used, because through
the qualitative sampling technique, a
researcher selects individuals or groups to
learn
or
understand
the
central
phenomenon (Creswell, 2012, p.206) and
the groups or individuals are information
rich (Patton, 1990, p.169). The participants
of the study studied English subjects such as
Teaching English as a Foreign Language
(TEFL), Reading, Speaking, Listening,

April-June, 2014

Writing, Sociolinguistics, Pronunciation


Practice, and English for Specific Purposes
(ESP). The learners were believed to be
highly active in finding out the effectiveness
of using AMs for learning English. They were
using both print and online AMs as sources
of learning for four years. Therefore, they
had more experiences on the use of AMs for
their learning sources. They were also
believed to have utilized the AMs for learning
the English subjects. In line with this study,
the participants were expected groups for
gathering information on the use of AMs in
EFL classrooms.
3.3 Data Collection Instruments and
Procedures
In order to gather more detailed
information, semi-structured interviews were
employed as the instrument of this
exploratory study. The reasons for choosing
the interview were two folds. First, it gave the
participants a chance to think of answer
deeply as it was not static on one type of
question only. Second, the interviewer was
able to explore the participants answers to
other possible responses or explanations.
This enabled the interviewer in collecting
detailed, specific data on the use of AMs in
EFL contexts. The semi-structured interviews
were administered through focus-groups
interviews. Creswell (2012) states that Focus
groups are advantageous when the interaction
among interviewees will likely yield the best
information and when interviewees are
similar to and cooperative with each other
(p, 218). In this study, the selected
participants were asked to answer several
questions related to their views, experiences,
and suggestions on the use of AMs at STAIN
Kerinci, Indonesia. Such number of learners
were optimal and normal as Creswell noted
that the number of interviewees in a focusgroup is typically from four to six
interviewees (p, 218). In this case, the

Cite this article as: Mudra, Heri. (2014) The Utilization of Authentic Materials in Indonesian EFL Contexts: An
Exploratory Study on Learners` Perceptions. International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies. 2(2),
197-210 Retrieved from http://www.eltsjournal.org
Page | 200

IJ-ELTS

Volume: 2

Issue: 2

researcher selected 7 learners as the


interviewees because more responses yielded
in a variety in possible answers. The analysis
became more comprehensive when more
possibilities of responses were employed.
4. Data Analysis, Findings and Discussions
In analyzing the data of the study, the
researcher used content analysis approach.
The reason of using such type of data analysis
was that it enabled some interpretation of
personal experiences (Smith, 1995). Smith
also states that content analysis is also used
for exploratory research. Content analysis is a
technique for explaining what verbal
materials contain in details (Stone, Dunphy,
Smith, & Ogilve, 1966; Holsti, 1969). In
analyzing the contents of qualitative data, the
researcher used interpretation by thinking of
an object deeply, making sense of data, and
describing
major
concepts
of
the
phenomenon based on personal views,
comparisons with past studies, or both
(Wolcott, 1983; Lincoln & Guba, 1985;
Tierney, 1993; Creswell, 2012).
The data of the study, in forms of
interview results on the use of AMs, were
categorized and then analyzed based on what
the participants have responded during the
interview. The analysis was accomplished by
views of related references or previous
studies in order to meet a qualified analysis
on the data. The data analyzed were grouped
into three points namely, views, experiences,
and suggestions of the learners studying at
STAIN Kerinci towards the use of AMs in
their EFL classrooms.
4.1 Findings
The findings of the study are divided
into the following parts: the kinds of AMs
preferable to Indonesian EFL learners at
STAIN Kerinci; and, the advantages and
disadvantages of AMs among Indonesian
EFL learners at STAIN Kerinci. Each part is

April-June, 2014

followed by an analysis which focuses on the


content of the interview results on the use of
AMs among Indonesian EFL learners at
STAIN Kerinci.
4.1.1 Kinds of AMs preferable to Indonesian
EFL learners
Based on the results of the interviews,
each participant (P) tended to choose
different types of AMs for different subjects
or courses. P1 responded:
I like many kinds of authentic materials when I
study many classes at campus. From all kinds of
the materials, I do prefer BBC news, CNN, and
VOA for listening class. For speaking class, those
sources of materials are also possible. That is
because we can study listening integrated with
speaking. I like an integrated learning since I think
it is enjoyable, especially if we listen to online radio
stations. I want to say that I always like online
broadcasts.

Based on the interview results, the


kinds of AMs that P1 preferred were
categorized into those used for listening,
speaking, and integrated ones. For listening
and speaking skills, the preferable AMs were
BBC news, CNN channel, and VOA. These
radio stations were used as media for
improving listening skill. Besides, the stations
can also improve speaking as the listener
retells some topic or main idea of what is
broadcasted. CNN channel, as one of the
news channels, provides both pictures and
voices. It is another kind of AMs that P1
preferred. Both TV channel and online radio
stations are used for an integrated learning.
P2 had another opinion about the kinds of
AMs he preferred
As I began thinking about reading, I used to read
anything beside me. Now, when I am about read
something, it must be English magazines and
newspapers. I read them one by one every month,
find the points of the articles, and finally write the
summary. Those steps are what I usually do every
month. I have lots of articles collected from
English newspapers and magazines. Beside reading
them, I also listen to English news on TV channels
such as CNN, NHK world, and Al Jazeera. I

Cite this article as: Mudra, Heri. (2014) The Utilization of Authentic Materials in Indonesian EFL Contexts: An
Exploratory Study on Learners` Perceptions. International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies. 2(2),
197-210 Retrieved from http://www.eltsjournal.org
Page | 201

IJ-ELTS

Volume: 2

Issue: 2

always do that thing all the time because it really


helps.

The most preferable AMs that P2


preferred were English magazines and
newspapers. P2 used both print and online
materials for the learning of reading skill.
The reading, which is done every month, is
done by finding out the main ideas of each
article of the materials. Since that was P2s
hobby, P2 collected the materials that have
been read. Besides, reading is not the only
skill that P2 was used to doing, but P2 also
listened to English news on TV channels
such as CNN, NHK world, and Al Jazeera.
These AMs are all broadcasted in English.
P3s views were not much different from
P1s:
In my mind, learning sources taken from the
internet are really helpful. What I like to use for
my sources is some sort of materials from internets
such as BBC news and VOA. They are good for
me to listen. I do not only listen to the stations, but
I also read some articles from the internet and
write some important points from each article I
read.

P3s preferences for AMs were not


different from P1s. P3 preferred the internet
from which P3 can browse and listen to
online BBC news and online VOA news.
The focused skill was not only limited on
listening, but also reading and writing. P3
browsed and read some articles from the
internet. P3 also wrote main ideas from the
articles read.
P4 had another views:
I do not want to say that I am a diligent learner,
but I always browse academic websites and
download more books and journals. That is not a
mere hobby, but I read them every time. I want to
be honest that I do prefer books and journals from
the internet. They are really up-to-date materials. I
can find the newest today, and I can probably
other newest ones the next days. I read them and
figure out what the books and articles are about. I
do not feel bored to do it.

The kinds of AMs that P4 preferred


were the internet-mediated materials such as

April-June, 2014

books and journals. It can be said that the


skill focused is reading. The materials were
browsed and downloaded from some
academic websites such as international
journals websites, educational organization
websites, and university websites. One of the
reasons given by P4 was that these AMs were
up-to-date.
P5 also had different views:
My hobby is chatting on the internet. I do not
only chat with my friends from Indonesia, but also
those from other countries whose languages are
English. Some of my friends are not native
speakers, but they do master good English as I
expect. In doing this, I catch some point. One of
the points is that I can improve my written English
and my grammar as I continue chatting with
foreigners. Well, I might not like reading, but at
least I can read what I see during the chatting time.
I can learn how to read and understand the
sentences.

P5 preferred online chat as the AMs


with the aim of improving speaking, reading,
grammar, and writing abilities. Chatting with
native speakers or foreign acquaintances
forced P5 to use English. P5 did not chat
without reason. Both native speakers and
non-native speakers have good English. That
is why P5 preferred such online materials.
P6 give different opinion:
I prefer reading articles either taken from the
internet or print articles. The articles I prefer are
about soccer and health. When I open the
internet, I prefer reading English news on soccer. I
also listen to English songs. I prefer slow-rock
songs. They are really enjoyable.

The kinds of AMs P6 preferred were


both internet-mediated materials and print
materials. The articles preferred were those
related to soccer and health. Besides, P6
listened to English songs. So, the focused
abilities P6 preferred were reading, listening,
and vocabulary.
P7 responded that:
Listening to music is my hobby. I listen to English
songs before sleeping and in my relaxed time. I
also like watching English movies, especially those
with British accent such as Harry Potter, Lords of

Cite this article as: Mudra, Heri. (2014) The Utilization of Authentic Materials in Indonesian EFL Contexts: An
Exploratory Study on Learners` Perceptions. International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies. 2(2),
197-210 Retrieved from http://www.eltsjournal.org
Page | 202

IJ-ELTS

Volume: 2

Issue: 2

the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Hobbits. I


do not only like the plots of the movies, but also
the way they speak using the accent. Beside
watching the movies, I also read their Englishversion books. I think I just want to learn English
through that way.

The kinds of AMs P7 preferred were


internet-mediated materials, audio-visual
materials and print materials. The materials
taken from the internet were English songs
and books. P7 also watched British movies
such as Harry Potter, Lords of the Rings,
Pirates of the Caribbean, and Hobbits. So,

April-June, 2014

the focused skills P7 preferred were listening,


reading, speaking, and pronunciation.
The interview results above show that
the participants preferred different AMs for
learning English. Each kind of AMs consists
of various forms such audio, visual, audio
visual, and print. The skills or abilities such
as reading, writing, listening, speaking,
vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation
follow the kinds of AMs that the participants
preferred. The following table presents the
summary of the kinds of AMs used by EFL
learners at STAIN Kerinci, Indonesia.

Table: 1 The kinds of preferable AMs among Indonesian EFL learners


No
Kinds of AMs
Sources (Examples)
1
Internet-mediated AMs
Radio stations (BBC news, VOA news), ebooks, online newspaper, online journals,
online magazines
2
Print AMs
Books, newspapers, journals, magazines

Audio-visual (video) AMs

Audio AMs

English movies (Harry Potter, Lords of the


Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Hobbits),
English news (CNN, NHK world, Al Jazeera)
English songs (slow-rock songs)

The table 1 above shows the four


kinds of AMs that were preferable to EFL
learners at STAIN Kerinci, Indonesia,
namely, internet-mediated AMs, print AMs,
audio-visual AMs, and audio AMs. The
sources of AMs, together with several
examples of the materials, are qualitatively
adapted from the participants whose choices
of AMs were different one another. Some
participants preferred listening to online
radio stations such as BBC news, while the
others preferred listening and watching
English movies or English songs. There were
also participants whose hobbies were reading
books or journals from the internet, while the
others preferred the print ones. Such
differences are contextual since each

Skills or Abilities
Listening, reading, speaking,
writing, pronunciation,
vocabulary, and grammar
Reading, writing, vocabulary,
grammar, pronunciation,
speaking
Listening, pronunciation,
speaking, writing, grammar,
vocabulary
Listening, speaking,
vocabulary, grammar, writing,
pronunciation

participant used the preferable materials for


different purposes of learning English skills.
4.1.2 Advantages and disadvantages of AMs
for Indonesian EFL learners
The interview was also conducted in
order to get response to the question- What
are the advantages and disadvantages of AMs
for Indonesian EFL learners?. To this, the
following responses were obtained.
P1 had the experience, opinion, and
suggestion who responded that:
The AMs are both good and bad materials for me
in learning English. Even though I love listening to
online news in the internet, I still face many
problems related to the materials until now. The
first problem is that I cannot understand any topic
discussed as I listen to the news. I think they
sometimes talk about particular areas, habits,
cultures, and discoveries that I have never heard
before. The second problem is that it takes a long

Cite this article as: Mudra, Heri. (2014) The Utilization of Authentic Materials in Indonesian EFL Contexts: An
Exploratory Study on Learners` Perceptions. International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies. 2(2),
197-210 Retrieved from http://www.eltsjournal.org
Page | 203

IJ-ELTS

Volume: 2

Issue: 2

time to listen to the news since they are too long or


even continued. Fortunately, listening to the
stations and channel give me special advantages. I
was not able to pronounce English words correctly
years before, but now I am like a native. I do
pronounce words correctly and I enjoy doing it. I
have been using English like a native speaker since
I can speak very well. My suggestion is listening to
English news should be continued.

P1 believed that online AMs have


disadvantages. The topics broadcasted or
discussed were sometimes difficult to
understand as the speakers were talking
about a specific place or habit which are not
the participants cultures. Another problem
was that the length of the time needed for
listening to the news was unlimited. It means
that the news does not have the end.
P1 asserted that online AMs have
advantages also. The AMs motivated P1 to
practice pronouncing English words every
time until P1 became successful or could
pronounce the words correctly. P1 was also
motivated to practice speaking skill like the
native speakers. P1 was able to use good
English as is expected. So, according to P1,
online news should always be the materials
for learning English.
P2 replied that:
For me, all kinds of AMs have both advantages
and disadvantages. For example, books, articles
either from the internet or the print ones and
movies or news contain natural English and native
cultures that can be the right sources for us to
study the real English and cultures that follow. The
disadvantage of AMs is that it probably wastes time
to select one of those that fit with out lesson or
course.

P2 thought that the advantages of


using AMs for learning English are two folds.
One of the advantages is that AMs present
real, natural English which is suitable and
appropriate for learning English. Besides, the
cultures including the way the express ideas
or talk about a topic are good for enhancing
EFL learners knowledge. However, AMs are
disadvantageous also since AMs are not

April-June, 2014

designed for language teaching. It causes


difficulties to select appropriate ones for EFL
classroom.
P3 stated that:
I think by using AMs in EFL classroom, we can
learn English like native speakers. This is also like
acquiring English in an English country. It is so
natural. However, using AMs might be hard task
for us since the structures are complex and the
diction is not a simple one.

According to P3, the advantage of


AMs is that the materials contain natural
English that helps EFL learners not only in
learning English, but also in acquiring it if the
learners are in an English speaking country in
which language is naturally acquired. The
disadvantage of AMs is that the materials
contain complex sentence structures and
choices of words.
P4 had different views on this:
Based on my experience in using AMs such
books and journals from the internet, I believe that
I have been motivated to improve my English.
That is because using AMs is like learning English
directly from real sources. I do not have to study
basic grammar or memorize words, but I just read
and get a point out of everything I read. I find my
English skills are increasing days to days. I do not
really figure out any bad sides of AMs so far except
the level of signals. My suggestion for this is
teachers should provide various kinds of AMs
such as news podcasts or English movies because I
find myself difficult to access such sources.

P4 focused on the use AMs from the


internet. According to P4, the advantage of
AMs is that the materials directed P4 to get a
gist out of the articles or books read. Reading
and figuring out main ideas and details
increased P4s knowledge in using grammar
and vocabulary. Due to the use of real
English, P4 thought that AMs are appropriate
sources for learning. P4 does not exactly
think that AMs are disadvantageous. The
problem of signal quality is technical that
teachers probably have another solution.
In the opinions of P5:

Online materials motivate me to learn better


English. I am now able to use good English like
Cite this article as: Mudra, Heri. (2014) The Utilization of Authentic Materials in Indonesian EFL Contexts: An
Exploratory Study on Learners` Perceptions. International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies. 2(2),
197-210 Retrieved from http://www.eltsjournal.org
Page | 204

IJ-ELTS

Volume: 2

Issue: 2

other speakers or non-native speakers. I just find it


easy to learn English through online materials
because I can get more stuff such as they way of
expressing
opinions,
asking
questions,
complaining, inviting, and so on. I can also learn
how to understand written speech. They are very
challenging for me. I think AMs are cultural-based.
I cannot understand each idea talked and I do not
want to know all cultures because they are perhaps
unacceptable to ours. A good strategy for using
AMs is teachers should select them carefully.

P5 benefitted from certain advantages


from AMs. One of them is that by using
AMs, P5 was motivated to learn English and
in improving English communication skills
such as how to express ideas, asking
questions, etc. Online chat, as an example of
AMs, enabled P5 to learn grammar, reading,
and writing. Moreover, P5 learnt how to
understand written speech. The disadvantage
of AMs is that some contents are culturalbased and some cultures do not fit with P5s
cultures. Teachers are expected to select
appropriate AMs which could be used for
learning and are not contrary to cultures.
P6 had another views:
My point in using AMs is that I can learn English
the way good learners learn. The good learners
usually use AMs for learning English because AMs
have good contents such as vocabulary, grammar
and pronunciation. The disadvantage is that it
takes time to understand the materials. So, what I
want to say is teachers` guidance is really expected
to help us using AMs.

April-June, 2014

P6 believed that the use of AMs


reflects the way good language learners learn
English. AMs provide native vocabulary,
grammar, and pronunciation for which good
language learners expect. In order to
recognize the contents of AMs, P6 believed
that time needed was too long. So, teachers
have to participate in each activity in which
AMs are used.
P7 reported that:
The advantage of AMs for me and all of us as
EFL learners is AMs from the internet are up-todate. The materials are really enjoyable that I can
find the variety easily in the internet. Other
materials such as movies and songs do not only
entertain me, but also give me chance to learn real
English from native speakers. For me, AMs are
not always disadvantageous. I just do not have
enough materials. I think the more we use AMs,
the more we know how English is really used.

P7 believed that online AMs are


advantageous as the materials are always
published in latest versions and forms.
English movies and songs were also
advantageous for P7 because P7 could learn
English like native speakers through the
materials. The disadvantage of AMs is that
the availability of AMs can be a problem.
Based on the interview results above,
it can be concluded that there advantages and
disadvantages of using AMs in EFL
classrooms. The participants also give their
suggestions on using the materials. These can
be best summarized in the following table.

Table: 2 EFL learners` views (advantages, disadvantages, and strategies) on AMs


No Kinds of AMs Advantages
Disadvantages
1
Internet- Improvement in pronunciation,
- Not intended for EFL
mediated
vocabulary, and grammar
learners
AMs
- Improvement in listening,
- No version for different
speaking, reading, and writing
level of EFL learners
skills
- The length of materials
- Knowledge on native cultures
- Time-consuming tracks
- Up to date
- Unavailability of guidance
- Easy to access
- Different cultures
- Problem on internet signals
2
Print AMs
- Improvement in pronunciation,
- Not intended for EFL
vocabulary, and grammar
learners

Strategies
- Careful selection
- Teachers`
guidance
- Adapted
materials

- Careful selection
- Teachers`

Cite this article as: Mudra, Heri. (2014) The Utilization of Authentic Materials in Indonesian EFL Contexts: An
Exploratory Study on Learners` Perceptions. International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies. 2(2),
197-210 Retrieved from http://www.eltsjournal.org
Page | 205

IJ-ELTS

Volume: 2

Issue: 2

- Improvement in speaking, reading,


and writing skills
- Knowledge on native cultures

Audio-visual
AMs

- Improvement in pronunciation,
vocabulary, and grammar
- Improvement in listening,
speaking, and writing skills
- Knowledge on native cultures

Audio AMs

- Improvement in listening,
speaking skills
- Improvement in pronunciation
and vocabulary
- Knowledge on native cultures

The table 2 above shows that there


are advantages, disadvantages, and strategies
towards the utilization of AMs among EFL
learners at STAIN Kerinci, Indonesia. Each
kind of materials has similar or different
advantages, disadvantages, or strategies for
using them. The advantages of AMs are
mostly related with the improvement in
listening,
speaking,
reading,
writing,
vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation
abilities. Besides, knowledge on native
cultures is also an advantage. The
disadvantages of AMs are related to the
versions of AMs available either in internet,
print, audio-visual, or audio forms. The
versions are not designed for EFL learners
unless the learners use them for learning
English. Different cultures are also a problem
since the participants cultures may be
different from the natives. Another problem,
a technical one, is on the quality of signals.
The strategies of the problems are selecting
AMs carefully and appropriately, adapting
the materials, and providing guidance for
each materials used.
4.2 Discussion

April-June, 2014
- No version for different
level of EFL learners
- The length of materials
- Time-consuming materials
- Unavailability of guidance
- Different cultures
- Not intended for EFL
learners
- No version for different
level of EFL learners
- The length of materials
- Time-consuming tracks
- Unavailability of guidance
- Different cultures
- Time-consuming tracks
- Mostly presented in long
versions
- Different cultures

guidance
- Adapted
materials

- Careful
selection
- Teachers`
guidance
- Adapted
materials

- Careful
selection
- Teachers`
guidance
- Adapted
materials

The utilization of AMs among EFL


learners at STAIN Kerinci, Indonesia has
been developed through the use of several
kinds of AMs. Each kind has advantages,
disadvantages, and solutions towards the
problems. Even though AMs are designed in
long formats and can be really difficult for
EFL learners to comprehend (Rogers, 1988;
Lund, 1990), the problem is described along
with the advantages and strategies of utilizing
AMs in EFL classrooms. AMs are created for
public use such as news, entertainment,
games, talk show, experience, etc. Each
material has communicative contents through
which English abilities are trained. The use of
AMs is useful for increasing EFL learners
ability in English since the materials are
communicative in purpose (Hwang, 2005;
Filice & Sturino, 2002). Communicative
purposes enhance EFL learners abilities in
using English either for listening, reading,
writing, or speaking. Abilities in grammar,
vocabulary, and pronunciation are no
exception. In order to get the abilities
improved, EFL learners are to use different
kinds of AMs such as internet-mediated

Cite this article as: Mudra, Heri. (2014) The Utilization of Authentic Materials in Indonesian EFL Contexts: An
Exploratory Study on Learners` Perceptions. International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies. 2(2),
197-210 Retrieved from http://www.eltsjournal.org
Page | 206

IJ-ELTS

Volume: 2

Issue: 2

materials, print materials, audio-visual


materials, and audio materials.
Internet-mediated
AMs
are
appropriate and interesting materials for
ESL/EFL classrooms (Miller, 2003). One
reason to prove this is that the materials
enable learners to access communication
sources in order to improve their English
language abilities and enhance their
motivation to learn English (Scarcella &
Oxford, 1992; Szendeffy, 2005; Blake, 1997;
Lafer, 1997; Hare, 1998). The materials from
the internet are presented in various versions;
EFL learners can find past, new, or even the
newest issues or materials.
There are various materials taken
from the internet such as- e-books, journals,
newspapers, online broadcasts, and podcasts.
Each kind can be easily found, browsed,
downloaded in the internet. One of them is
podcast. The availability of online audio
materials or podcasts on the internet has
given valuable opportunities for EFL learners
to access global listening, new language, and
different voices or accents along with the
reading of transcripts available (Constantine,
2005). The importance of using transcripts in
listening skill has been promoted (Lynch,
2007; Constantine, 2005). A good way to
utilize internet-mediated materials such as
podcasts is by providing transcripts that can
make an integrated learning.
EFL learners are enthusiastic to use
the oral texts in learning English. Authentic
oral texts show that EFL learners as listeners
achieve positive results when they are tested
by using the materials (Shrum & Glisan,
1999). A study proved that EFL learners
whose learning used authentic radio tapes
showed significant improvement in listening
skill compared to those whose learning did
not use the materials (Herron & Seay, 1991).
Video materials such as Television can be
used for helping learners in improving their

April-June, 2014

pronunciation and intonation (Manning,


1988) and for teaching native speakers
cultures in natural way (Saito, 1994; Bacon,
1992; Nostrand, 1989; Herron & Seay,
1991). Movies as video materials are helpful
for EFL learners since the materials provide
sound effects, pictures, and emotion that
reflect real input (Wood, 1999).
The use of audio and video materials
either via online or offline access in EFL
classrooms may vary depending on teachers
choices. There are several principles to
follow when the materials are used. The first
principle is to setting a goal of learning
materials through which teachers write a
purpose of teaching and learning that can be
exploited (Jacobson et.al, 2003; Nuttall,
1996; Brown, 2001; Berardo, 2006) and
make a context out of a task that will be
achieved either for a short-term period or a
long-term one. The second principle is that
since audio and video materials are designed
for native speakers, the languages and
contexts used must be based on the native
speakers cultures which are difficult for most
EFL learners. In this case, teachers should
pay attention on the language level of each
material (Jacobson et.al. 2003; Kelly et.al,
2003). Both audio and video materials
should be adjusted based on EFL learners
abilities. In doing this, explanation and
tutorials throughout doing tasks are
necessary. The teachers intervention is
needed for determining input quality (Rost,
2007). The third principle is that the tasks
must be achievable or must not be too
difficult for the learners to accomplish. The
fourth principle is that EFL learners are
involved in guessing meaning and predicting
what is happening or what will happen inside
the audio and video materials.
5. Conclusion

Cite this article as: Mudra, Heri. (2014) The Utilization of Authentic Materials in Indonesian EFL Contexts: An
Exploratory Study on Learners` Perceptions. International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies. 2(2),
197-210 Retrieved from http://www.eltsjournal.org
Page | 207

IJ-ELTS

Volume: 2

Issue: 2

To sum up, the utilization of


preferred AMs for learning English at
STAIN Kerinci, Indonesia varies depending
on learning goals and EFL learners interests.
AMs are advantageous for EFL learners
whose goal is to improve English abilities.
However, AMs are also disadvantageous that
the materials are specific and have higher
difficulties for EFL learners. Though there
are certain problems while using various
materials which are helpful for EFL
classrooms, the solution of the problems can
be found by the teachers and learners by
using AMs as main sources of materials.
Wise and tactful EFL teachers and learners
can accomplish every task and materials
provided. Therefore, both teachers and
learners have their own roles in the
classrooms. Based on the roles on utilizing
AMs, an important point to note as the
conclusion of this paper is that EFL teachers
should provide various kinds of AMs in EFL
classrooms and ensure that all EFL learners
are able to utilize the materials for their .
The study has certain limitations also
which need to be acknowledged. This study
was limited on describing the views,
experiences, and suggestions of Indonesian
EFL learners studying at STAIN Kerinci
towards the utilization of AMs in EFL
classrooms. Therefore, the researcher
focused only on that topic because of two
reasons. First, the limited topic enabled the
researcher to explore the findings more
deeply and appropriately. Second, it enabled
the analysis to be more accurate and the
interpretation to be more comprehensive.
However, the study has its own
significance and can make certainly make a
noticeable contribution in the research field
investigated in the context on Indonesia. The
results of this study are useful for: 1)
stakeholders in Indonesia, to provide the use
of AMs for EFL curriculum; 2) learners, to

April-June, 2014

select and use the appropriate AMs based on


needs, importance, and purpose; 3) other
researcher, to conduct similar or other
studies on AMs; and 4) readers, to use the
results of the study in increasing knowledge
on the use of AMs in EFL classrooms; and 5)
teachers, to select, provide, and use
appropriate AMs as main sources of EFL
classrooms.
About the Author:
Heri Mudra is a faculty member at Islamic State
College of Kerinci (STAIN Kerinci), Indonesia.
He holds an M. Ed (Master of Education) degree
in TESOL from State University of Padang
(UNP), Indonesia. His research interests include:
ELT methods, learning strategies, teaching
English with technology, and Classroom Action
Research (CAR).
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Cite this article as: Mudra, Heri. (2014) The Utilization of Authentic Materials in Indonesian EFL Contexts: An
Exploratory Study on Learners` Perceptions. International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies. 2(2),
197-210 Retrieved from http://www.eltsjournal.org
Page | 210