Improving Speaking and Writing Skill by using Power Point
Writing is the most difficult skill to develop among my students. It is most likely the most difficult activities among the four basic language skills. It needs basic knowledge which enables students to cover all necessary things to communicative and understandable writing such as grammar, vocabulary coherence, cohesion, idiom, expression etc. That’s why it’s quite hard to improve.
Among English teachers themselves, especially English teachers in Indonesia, we still find a lot of difficulties. What should we write? We need not to write anything because the government has already facilitated with the books and materials for teaching. We have no problem. So we just come to the class by using the book. We are satisfied enough with what we have done and reached so far.
I could not stop asking why J.K.Rawling can write a tremendous book ‘Harry Potter’ in seven volumes or more? What about Danielle Steel? Maybe it’s not only me who ask such question but also others. The next big question is if English teachers themselves are still confused about writing, so what about the students? And what are the obstacles that hamper us to do so?
According to my opinion, writing is part of culture. What I mean is a nation which has a long tradition in writing will find its people have great capability in writing. England has William Shakespeare for example. It’s not only in literature but also in various field of life. What about Indonesia? Of course there are many great writers too here, but if we compare to the number of population we have, it’s not equal. So why?
The culture we have has shaped us not to be a writer, but mostly to be someone who loves talking. In my childhood, I used to spend my time to listen to my grandma telling fairy tale or a legend or her imaginative story before I went to sleep.
In our past, the writing capability belonged to a specific group in palace who was needed by the king to write a kind of monument or agenda or something like that as a remembrance for the people. Although Dutch government had tried to deliver an education in the end of 19th century, but that was too late. People had devoted their life into speaking.
Although now we come into information technology when many publishers as well as newspaper and magazine, I think writing is still dominated by a small group of people. They who teach in university, but it’s still limited to lecturers who have a very good skill, or authors, or novelists, get a very good benefit from writing. What about teachers? It is still uninteresting thing to do or just a burden? However, there is a rule for teachers in Indonesia which stated that every teacher who wants to upgrade his position or title or salary from rank 4A must write a book. Only a few teachers from around the country who succeeded. What about the rest? They still do nothing. How they can write a book if they write an article or even a material for teaching in the class is considered a hard thing?
Among us, we still think: Why write? The same question asked by Paul Robinson, a professor of intellectual history at Stanford University, USA, in Dialogue, Vol. 12 1979 No. 2. He argues that the impulse to write books is ‘hedged about with insanity’. Most books have few readers and even fewer careful readers; they earn a pathetic amount of money; they add little to one’s status or reputation; they end up unread in dusty library stacks.
If teachers still think like that don’t hope that we will get a good writer in the future. That’s why I try to do something related to improving writing skill. According to my opinion, teachers must try to find the suitable method which is applicable to their students.
Here is what I am trying to develop in my school. The objectives:
1. Students are able to write well about their ideas on certain topic they like most
2. Students are able to write sentences which are in accordance with right tenses.
3. Students are able to put their creativities on computer by using Power Point.
4. Students are able to express their ideas, opinion, and feeling orally.
The method of presentation is a method of how a presenter expresses his/her ideas, feeling, or thought in front of public by providing paper or not. This method requires the presenter to make a summary of the presentation.
The goal of applying presentation method in school is to train students to develop writing and speaking skill as well as analytical and critical thinking. We use two aids to conduct this, OHP or LCD connected to computer.
To carry out this method, teachers must consider things as follow:
1. To prepare list of topics or discuss first with students about title of presentation and about what kind of information they want to put on the document
2. To provide dictionaries to use in the process of writing paper and point of talks and explain or give examples how to present a presentation
3. To divide the class into groups and explain what the roles of each member of the group to develop controls
4. To prepare tools for examples OHP, or LCD connected to computer. Using MS Power Point means teachers need to discuss how many frame students plan, the segment of each frame, multimedia material to be included on each frame, etc. Concerning the condition in Indonesia, presentation done in a specific room, because not all the classes facilitated by the tools.
Steps teachers must do in detail as follow:
1. Divide the class into groups consisting 4 – 5 students
2. Discuss the topic which will be presented, will be based on the research or reference studies
3. Guide students to write a complete paper. Each member of the group has his own role, who must write background, problems, goals, the content and the conclusion
4. Guide students to create point of talks, the main idea of presentation
5. Guide students to create slide in MS Power Point
6. Presentation. Do it in turn, if a group present, other groups must analyze their presentation to give valuable feed back.
7. Discussion, question and answer
8. Evaluation, teacher must keep evaluating them in order to give them encouragement and scores.
Note: If there is no LCD in school, we can use a splitter to multiply the content through some monitors. One splitter usually can be used for eight monitors.
During a semester of teaching when I did this method in 2003 at 11th grade of public senior high school number 8 in Yogyakarta Indonesia, I got 32 titles of presentations which vary in the competency they reached. Mostly students can develop writing skill significantly compared to traditional method, and the most encouraging result is the significant improvement in speaking skill that happens not only to active students but also to silent ones. As they present the presentation in a group they tried hard to perform their presentation the best they could, this gave good impact to silent students where they trained themselves to defend their opinion and maintain audiences’ attention to their presentation.
After they graduated from the school and continued their studies at university where they got the same method from their lecturers there, they told me that they didn’t get any difficulties to do this method compared to other students from other school where they didn’t get the method. Those facts give me strong drive to continue the method and to improve it better.
Some benefits of conducting this method
– Alive class
– Enthusiastic students
– Students’ pride
– New experience of using technology
– Improvement of writing skill
– Improvement of speaking skill
– Development of critical and analytical thinking
– Students are not interested in presenting topic which far beyond their life. They prefer talking topic closely related to their life.
– This method can not be conducted in passive English class
– Quite difficult to conduct if the facility school has can not support this method