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Folktales: Media to

transfer national cultural


knowledge in EFL
classroom
Muhammad Fadhli

ABSTRACT
Indonesia has a lot of folktales as one of precious cultural heritages. A
folktale as one kind of literary texts contains cultural information and moral
lessons. Indonesian government through 2013 curriculum wants to integrate
moral values into all subjects including English to produce school
graduates who are not only good in academic but also in character. Using
Indonesian folktales as a teaching aid (material) in English as foreign
language (EFL) classroom may give a lot of contributions in expanding
students language skills, national cultural knowledge, and sensitivity. This
paper focuses on some advantages and considerations of using Indonesian
traditional folktales as a teaching aid in EFL classroom.
Keywords: folktales; teaching language; culture knowledge

INTRODUCTION
Bascom (1965) as cited in Jamaludin
(2013, p.5) expounded that folktale,
alongside myth and legend forms three
very basic terms of folklore. Folktale
exists in a form of stories that carry
meaningful message and embedded
cultural identity.

According to Citraningtyas (2012) as


cited in Prastiwi (2013, p. 509), local
content, particularly in the form of
folktales such as Malin Kundang,
might support the formation of
national identity and develop
students national culture
knowledge.

Anderson (1991) as cited in


Prastiwi (2013) stated that
national cultural identity is a
significant element to the
existence of a nation.

Cigay (2009) pointed that folktales,


myths and legends need to be
preserved in this digital age to avoid
from extinction as an outcome of
globalization and commercial
entertainments.

According to Alim (2011, P. 1),


"language teaching by using
folktales as the media
(material) will be more
profitable compared to the
conventional (change) way."

Stern (1983) as cited in Alim


(2011) stated that the benefit of
using literature in language
learning can be fully realized
through an integrative approach
to language teaching by
integrating literature into the
curriculum.

Folktales and national cultural


knowledge
By exploring their own culture, i.e., by
discussing the very values, expectations,
traditions, customs, and rituals learners
unconsciously take part in, they are ready to
reflect upon the values, expectations, and
traditions of others with a higher degree of
intellectual objectivity (Straub, 1999).

Folktales and language


aspects
Through folktales a learner can get the
chance to learn vocabulary, discover
question answers, evaluate evidence
individually and in group discussion,
grow analytical power and learn many
grammatical aspects (Alim, 2011)

Peck (1998) as cited in


Thanasoulas (2001) stated
that culture should be our
message to learners and
language our medium.

Some considerations
1. Language skills
2. The level of learners
comprehension
3. Cultural content (example: the real
folktale)
4. Text size

Conclusion
In a cultural perspective, learning English
through folktale will give a wider cultural
perspective to learners.
In language domain, folktales can develop
learners language skills by giving chance
to the learners to learn vocabulary,
discover question answer, evaluate
evidence individually and in group
discussion, grow analytical power and
learn many grammatical aspects.