Engaging EFL Learners in Meaningful Communication

Sri Suprapti
English Department, Faculty of Letters and Arts
Semarang State University

This paper attempts to suggest a way to engage EFL learners in meaningful communication by encouraging them to communicate their personally-felt opinions about a given issue presented in a speaking course. It has long been known that textbooks produced by major English- speaking countries mostly present EFL materials that depict western lifestyle, habit and custom which are very much different from their real lives (Bariboon, 2007). The textbooks typically present materials in the form of model dialogues followed by exercises in the form of (mini) role-plays in which EFL learners are assumed to have various projected identities with situations completely unfamiliar to them. Learners are people with their own lives, aspirations, needs, worries, dreams and identities. This means, as van Lier (2007) suggests that they must have something to say that is true to the self to each other and to the teacher in class that goes beyond what are offered by a textbook that lies open on the same page at the same time on every desk. Thus the traditional sequence of the language lesson usually referred to as “PPP” (Present- Practice- Produce) is motivated by a textbook progression that may result in a sort of inert knowledge that cannot be displayed productively in real life situations. To overcome this problem, EFL teachers can employ meaning-focused output activities in their classroom to facilitate learner-oriented discursive construction and meaningful communication.

Keywords: EFL materials, projected identities, meaning-focused output activities, discursive construction. For complete paper, you may download it here