A. Reviews of Related Theories
This chapter discusses the comprehensive references used as foundations of solving problems faced in developing the AELTMs for the 2ndYME students at Politeknik Negeri Padang. In attempting to meet the needs of the theoretical reviews, the researcher provides the related off and online theoretical and empirical references or resources of developing materials for language teaching, authentic learning, ELT approaches, and the quality product of the AELTMs, relevant studies, and theoretical framework.
1. Developing Materials for Language Teaching
a. What are (the developed AELTMs) Materials?
Briefly, the frameworks and principles of developing the AELTMs for the 2ndYME students refer to the Tomlinson’s greatest works of the ELT materials’ development. Brian Tomlinson, who is one of the world leading ELT experts, specifically dedicates his expertise on improving the future for language teaching materials (Tomlinson, 2003, p.9). Conceptually, materials development can be both as a ‘field of study’ which studies the principles and procedures of the design, implementation and evaluation of ELT materials and as a ‘practical undertaking.’ As a practical undertaking, developing materials for language teaching involves the production, evaluation, and adaptation of the ELT materials. The ELT textbooks produced from this practical undertaking are widely traded and used for the purposes of teaching English in primary and secondary educations to higher education. These generic and commercial textbooks, indeed, are not aimed at meeting the specific groups of students or particular educational context but exclusively produced for the worldwide EFL markets (Howard & Major, 2004, p.101; Block, 1991, p. 211–217). In general, this second point is meant for the ELT’s purpose, for sale or distribution. Developing the AELTMs for the 2ndYME students is, therefore, in the realm of a field of study.
As a field of study, the key word in developing the AELTMs for the 2ndYME students is ‘materials.’ The materials, as it is interpreted, are printed materials which are selectively accessed online for teaching’s purposes. These developed materials contain the instructional themes related to the mechanical engineering’s field of study. The language knowledge and skills in these instructional themes, according to Tomlinson (2003, p.2), inform and expose the students about the real language mostly used in the mechanical engineering’s field of study; provide the experience of the language in use; can stimulate the language use or can help the students to make discoveries about the language for themselves. The 2ndYME students at Politeknik Negeri Padang learn these developed materials to support them to augment their receptive and productive skills; to learn the rules of language (grammar) mostly used in the field of mechanical engineering and to enrich their vocabulary knowledge. Most importantly, these materials can aid them to communicate their ideas in English.
To comprehensively understand the meaning of what are the developed ELT ‘materials’, the researcher tries to briefly elaborate the ELT experts’ definitions of the ‘materials’ themselves. Three of them are, firstly, Tomlinson (2001, p.66) defines “materials” as something which can be made use of assisting the students learning a language.” These materials can be in the forms of linguistic, visual, auditory, or kinaesthetic and they can be printed out (hard copy such as book) or can be saved in the forms of softcopies such USB flash memories, CD, DVD, cassette, etc. Secondly, as extracted, Richards (2001: 251) describes that the “instructional materials” generally serve as the basis for much of the language input learners receive and the language practice that occurs in the classroom.” Thirdly, Dudley-Evans ; St. John (1998, p.170-171) put forward that “ESP materials serve as sources of language, learning support, motivation, simulation and reference.” To advocate these roles, the ESP materials are required to be able to expose real language (genres/registers of ESP, EAP, EOP) to back up the teaching and learning processes, stimulate cognitive processes; to provide structure and progression for the students to follow; to motivate through achievable challenges and interesting contents and to provide resource for self-study outside the classroom (1998, p.170-171).
Lastly, Cunningsworth (1995, p.7) elucidates, “The roles of ELT materials particularly the developed ELT course books are to guide, lead and facilitate the students to augment their spoken and written performance (a source for presentation materials); access to practice the language, communicate their ideas or ways of establishing their social interaction (a source of activities); to improve their rules of sentences (grammar); enrich vocabulary; improve pronunciation; and a source of role-playing and ideas (simulation) for classroom learning activities (see also Cunningsworth, 1984).” The three definitions of the developed authentic materials/texts above are naturally different from those created materials (textbooks) used for ELT’s purposes. The followings are the differences.