TEACHING ENGLISH TENSE FOR YOUNG LEARNERS
THROUGH NEUROLINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING (NLP)
Most young learners consider tense as one of the difficult parts of English lesson. It is due to the differences between Indonesian and English. Therefore, teachers need to take an immediate action to overcome this matter. Dealing with this, Jufrizal (2008) suggests some steps to minimize the problem faced by Indonesian Students by strengthening students’ awareness of the nature of English grammar. To achieve the purpose, daily practices must be taken for granted. Since practices will make perfect. The purpose of learning English is used to communicate with international communities. Communication is nonverbal as well as verbal. Neurolinguistic programming (NLP) in English teaching can be used to help the students become aware at a feeling level of the conceptual meaning of a grammatical structure. NLP is a collection of techniques, patterns, and strategies for assisting effective communication, personal growth and change, and learning. It is based on a series of underlying assumptions about how the mind works and how people act and interact.
Keywords: Teaching English, Young Learners, and Neurolinguistics Programming.
Most young learner considers tense as one of the difficult parts of English lesson. This is because tense is difficult to master well by the students. As a simple indicator, students commonly think that there are twelve or maybe sixteen tenses in English. This conceptual confusion leads to low performance to apply tense of English under the right circumstances. Tense has to do with time-relation, so that tense are different forms, which a verb assumes to indicate the time of action or state. Similarly, Comrie (1985) states that tense is a grammaticalized expression in time. Sometimes we find difficulties to differ tense from time, because according to Comrie (1985), the idea of locating situation in time is purely a conceptual notion and independent of the range of distinction made in particular language. In order to avoid this ambiguity, it is important to keep the two concepts of time and tense strictly apart.
English is considered as tenseness language, meanwhile, Indonesian can be categorized as tenseness language. In English, tense belongs to one of grammatical categories indicating the time of the action or state through its verb. Meanwhile, Indonesia does not have grammatical category of tense to locate an event in time. Therefore, in Indonesian, time of the action is realized using adverb of time.
- Teaching English for Young Learners
The Introduction of English in primary school relates to the age factor. One of the basic underlying points is exploiting the greater plasticity of the young child’ brain (Bialystok and Hakuta, 1999). Singleton and Ryan (2001) presented a survey in regarding reasons for teaching English at primarily level that do not rely on the claim of the best time to learn language, they are:
1) Giving more opportunity to children understand foreign cultures to be more tolerant to others, (2) maximizing learning time for important languages-the earlier you start the more time you get, (3) Starting with early foreign language instruction, so that on the text level language can be used as an instructional medium.
It can be concluded that young learner have more changes than adult to learn language since they have more advantageous natures. Other suggestions proposed by Brumfit (1991 ) for better learning are:
v That the brain is more adaptable before puberty than after, and that acquisition of languages is possible without self consciousness at early age.
v That children have fewer negative attitudes to foreign languages and cultures than adults, and that consequently they are better motivated than adults.
v That children’s language learning is more closely integrated with real communication because it depends more on the immediate physical environment than does adult language.
v That children devote vast quantities of time to language learning, compared with adults and they are better they do more of it.
Neurolinguistic programming (NLP) in English teaching can be used to help the students become aware at a feeling level of the conceptual meaning of a grammatical structure. NLP is about communication (Shipman, 2003:5). One of the principles of NLP is that we are always communicating, and most of our communication is other than words. In line with this, Revell and Norman, 1997:14) maintain that
NLP is … a collection of techniques, patterns, and strategies for assisting effective communication, personal growth and change, and learning. It is based on a series of underlying assumption about how the mind works and how people act and interact.
In addition, NLP is about how language affects us. Language affects how we think and respond. The very process of converting experience into language requires that we condense, distort, and summarize how we perceive the world. NLP also provides questions and patterns to make communication more as we intend. Learning language through NLP can also add awareness and consumer protection for your mind. In education, NLP’s practical applications include understanding how we learn and developing strategies for both students and teachers. Through NLP, Teachers and parents gain concrete methods for helping children well in school. Classroom teachers are incorporating key pieces of the NLP approach into their teaching methods and classroom management.
While in learning, Ellis (1985) described a learning styles as the more or less consistent way in which a person perceives, conceptualizes, organizes and recalls information. Your students’ learning styles will be influenced by their genetic make-up, their previous learning experiences, their culture and the society they live in. As teachers, we should be aware that your students have a range of learning styles
There are many ways of looking at learning styles. Here are some of the most widely used classification systems that have been developed. According to Richard Bandler and John Grinder in the field of NLP, there are three kinds of learning styles.
1) Visual learners, these learners need to see the teacher’s body language and facial expression to fully understand the content of a lesson. They tend to prefer sitting at the front of the classroom to avoid visual obstructions (e.g. people’s heads). They may think in pictures and learn best from visual display including diagrams, illustrated handout, whiteboard pictures, demonstrations, flipcharts and hand out. During a classroom discussion, visual learning often prefers to take detailed notes to absorb the information.
2). Auditory Learners, they learn best through verbal information delivery, discussions, talking things through and listening to what others have to say. Auditory learners interpret the underlying meanings of speech through listening to tone of voice, pitch, speed and other nuances. Written information may have little meaning until it is heard.
3). Kinesthetic learners, they learn best through a hands-on approach, actively exploring the physical world around them. They may find it hard to sit still for long periods and may become distracted by their need for activity and exploration.
Berman (1998), cited by Brewster, Ellis and Girard (2008), writes that in an average class of adults, twenty-nine per cent (29%) will be predominantly visual learners, thirty-four percent (34%) auditory and thirty-seven per cent (37%) kinesthetic. Then, he adds that the understanding of children aged five to seven years old comes through the hands, eyes, and ears, so, the physical world is dominant at all times. He also writes that most young children have the ability to store memories by associating them with their senses, and may even have the ability to ‘cross-sense’
- Learning Circle
David Kolb developed this system and first published it in 1984. Kolb’s learning theory sets out four distinct learning styles, which are based on a four-stage learning circle:
a) Do (concrete experience-demonstration, taking to others, observation).
b) Review (Reflect on experience-what do you already know? / teacher assessment/ students self-assessment of their work).
c) Learn (abstract conceptualization-relate experience to theory).
d) Apply (active experimentation-how can I do it better next time).
This learning circle suggests that teachers should plan lessons that follow Kolb’s circle so that learning is well structured and so that all styles are visited. Being aware of sensory elements and ensuring that these also included in your teaching styles will give your courses the most impact.
- Design of Language Learning
Four key principles lie at the heart of NLP (O’connor and McDermott, 1996; revell and Norman, 1997; Richards and Rodgers, 2001).
- Outcomes: the goals or ends. NLP claims that knowing precisely what you want helps you achieve it. This principle can be expressed as “know what you want.”
- Rapport: a factor that is essential for effective communication-maximizing similarities and minimizing differences between people at a nonconscious level. This principle can be expressed as “Establish rapport with yourself and then with others.
- Sensory acuity: noticing what another person is communicating, consciously and nonverbally. This can be expressed as “use your senses. Look at, listening to, and feel what is actually happening.”
- Flexibility: doing things differently if what you are doing is not working: having a range of skills to do something else or something different. This can be expressed as “keep changing what you do until you get what you want.
Revell and Norman (1997) say that presupposition that guide to language teaching is “Communication is nonverbal as well as verbal”- they discuss the 2kinds of nonverbal messages teachers consciously or unconsciously communicate to learners in classroom.
What do NLP language teachers do that make them different from other language teachers? According to NLP, they seek to apply the principles in their teaching and this leads to different responses to many classroom events and processes. For example, one of the four central principles of NLP centers on the need for “rapport”
Rylatt and Lohan (in Richards and Rodgers, 2001) give the following examples of how a teacher might apply rapport in responding to the following statements from students:
a) I hate this stuff. It is such a waste of time.
b) Everyone says that. It makes me sick.
c) I can’t do it.
d) This is all theory
In establishing rapport, the teacher could respond:
a) Is a part of you saying that you want to be sure your time is well spent today?
b) who says that?
c) what, specifically, can’t you do?
d) are you saying you want practical suggestions?
Here is the procedure how to teach present continuous tense through NLP. The lesson begins with a guided fantasy of eating a food item and then reflecting on the experience.
- Students are told that they are going on an inner grammatical experience as you eat a biscuit.
- Check that they understand vocabulary of the experience (smell, taste, chew, swallow, bite, lick, etc).
- Students are asked to relax, close their eyes, and “go inside. “ Once “inside. “ they listen to the teacher-produced fantasy, which is given as the following:
- “Imagine a biscuit. A delicious biscuit. The sort you really like. Pick it up and look at it closely. Notice how crisp and fresh it is. Smell …….etc.
- Ask the students to describe how they are feeling now
- Ask them to say again the sentence that describes what they are feeling now.
- Put a large piece of paper on the wall with the words I am chewing the biscuit.
- Ask them to say the sentence “ I am really enjoying eating this biscuit”
NLP practitioners believe that if language teachers adopt and use the principles of NLP, they will become more effective teachers. In language teaching, the appeal of NLP to some teachers stems from the fact that it offers set of humanistic principles that provide either a new justification for well-known techniques from the communicative or humanistic repertoire or different interpretation of the role of the teacher and the learner, one in harmony with many learner-centered, person-centered views.
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Brewster, Jean, and Gail Ellis with Denis Girard.2008. The Primary English Teacher’s Guide. Edinburgh: Perason Education Limited.
Comrie, B. 1985. Tense. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Hawanti, Santhy. 2011. ‘Teaching English in Indonesia Primary School: The Missing link’. Paper presented in 3rd Conference on TEFL held at UMP.
Jufrizal. 2008. ‘Minimizing Problems faced by Indonesian Students in Learning and Understanding tense and Aspect of English’. Paper presented in 1 st conference on TEFL held at Muhammadiyah University of Purwokerto.
Petty, G .2004 .Teaching Today 3rd Edition, Nelson Thomes Cheltenham.
Shiman, Dee. 2003. A brief Introduction to Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Rainbow Journal Spring.
Richard, Jack C, Theodore S. Rodgers. 2001. Approaches and methods in Language Teaching. Second edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.