Selasa, 12 Desember 2017


            It is always possible that our best theories will be falsified tomorrow and so their status is that of conjectures that have not yet been refuted rather than that of confirmed theories. Popper in Ladyman (2002, p. 71) thought that it is here the intellectual corruption of Marxists and psychoanalysts lies for whether or not their theories are falsifiable-they do not state clearly the conditions under which they would give up their theories. It is this commitment to their theories that Popper thinks is unscientific. In fact, he demands of scientists that they specify in advance under what experimental conditions they would give up their most basic assumptions. For Popper, everything in science is provisional and subject to correction or replacement.
            The view that knowledge must be certain, a matter of proof and not subject to error has a long history in philosophy. However from Popper we learn that we should always have a critical attitude to our best scientific theories. Scientists ought to aim to develop theories that are as falsifiable as possible which means the theories need to be both precise and have a broad content.
            Our scientific knowledge does not seem to be purely negative and if it were it would be hard to see why we have such confidence in certain scientifically informed beliefs. The belief that certain causes do indeed have certain effects and not that they might not is what informs our actions. Of course, just when and how we can be justified on the basis of experience in believing general laws and their consequences for the future behavior of the natural world is the problem of induction. Most philosophers, however think that solving this problem is not a matter of deciding whether it is more rational to take the stairs but why it is more rational to do so.
            Popper’s response to the challenge of is to introduce the notion of corroborations; a theory is corroborated if it was a bold conjecture that made novel predictions that were not falsified. Popper says that it is rational to suppose that the most corroborated theory is true because we have tried to prove it false in various ways and failed. The most corroborated theory is not one we have any reason to think is false, so it is rational to use it in making plans for the future, like leaving a building by the stairs and not by jumping. Popper stresses that the fact that a theory is corroborated only means that it invites further challenges.

            In 2005, I conducted a research under the title “Improving Students’ Speaking Skill by Using Contextual Teaching and Learning in the University of Kanjuruhan Malang”. I conducted the classroom action research because the English syllabus has been revised on 2003 namely School-Based Curriculum to keep up with the globalization era. The objectives of English language teaching are not only used for a set of rules, but it is also emphasized on the use for communication.
Based on my observation for the students on the second semester in Kanjuruhan University, student’s speaking ability was still unsatisfying. They were still passive and unmotivated to speak English. That was supported by results of pre-test that have been done before the research. The average score of pre test was still 10,64 in a 0-24 scale. None of the students reached the passing minimum score.
According to Cahyono, (1997, p.2) the passiveness of the students was caused by internal and external factors. Internal factors cover lack of motivation, lack of vocabularies reluctant to express the ideas, while external factors cover no variation of teaching methods, large class and an interesting topic.
Considering the above condition, I developed the students’ speaking skill through Contextual Teaching and Learning. Contextual teaching and learning, an instructional system, is based on the premise that the meaning emerges from the relationship between content and its context. Context gives the meaning to content. The broader context within which students are able to make connections, the more meaning content will hold for them.  A great part of the teacher’s job, then, is to provide context. The more students are able to connect their academic lessons to this context, the more meaning they will derive from these lessons. To discover meaning in knowledge and skills leads to mastery of knowledge and skills.
According to Johnsons (2002, p.3) Contextual Teaching and Learning engages students in significant activities that help them connect academic studies to their context in real-life situations. By making these connections, students see meaning in school work. When students formulate projects or identify interesting problems, when they make choices and accept responsibility, search out information and reach conclusions, when they actively choose, order, organize, touch, plan, investigate, question and make decisions to reach objectives, they connect academic content and context of life’s situations, and in this way discover meaning. The discovery of meaning is the central characteristics of Contextual Teaching and Learning.
This research was expected to give both theoretical and practical contributions to the teaching of speaking. Theoretical contribution relates to the principle of language learning that Contextual teaching and Learning can promote communicative competence and generate fluency in a second language learning. Practical contribution relates to the advantages of Contextual Teaching and Learning implementation for language learning. For the students, the use of Contextual Teaching and Learning will provide them with a learning atmosphere that encourage the students to be actively involved in the learning activities and improve students’ speaking skill ability in English.
Based on the reflection and data obtained during the action, I concluded the components of Contextual Teaching and Learning have been applied successfully in this research. Those components were Making Connection to Find Meaning, Self Regulated Learning, Collaboration, Creative Thinking and Authentic Assessment. The students were able to make connection to find meaning, learning regulate, collaborate and think creative.
Firstly, based on the reflection in Cycle 2, it could be said that the first indicator for the criteria of success had fulfilled. The result of students’ response toward Contextual Teaching and Learning implementation was satisfying.
Concerning with students’ opinion whether, 18 students (72%) out of 25 students stated that  Contextual Teaching and Learning  really helped to  improve the communication in English, 6 students (24%) answered helped and 1 students (4%) stated did not help. It meant that the first indicator of this study met the criteria of success: the students were active and motivated to communicate after the implementation of  Contextual Teaching and Learning.
Secondly, based on the result of post-test was 16,84. This score has reached the passing minimum score, it was 16 for pronunciation and fluency in a 0-24 scale. It meant that the second indicator of this study fulfilled the criteria of success.
Before the treatment of the action the pre-test average score was 10,64. After the action in Cycle 1 there were an improvement of the average score was 14,92. At last, the average score of post-test in cycle 2 reached 16,84. Thus, during the action in cycle 1 and cycle 2 the students’ speaking achievement had increased.
In short, concerning with the research problem stated in this study, it proved that the implementation of Contextual Teaching and Learning strategy could improve the students’ speaking skill. Although there were some considerations concerning with the implementation of Contextual Teaching and Learning strategy, i.e. group selection, teacher’s and collaborator’s participation, noisy class. Finally, this action had fulfilled the criteria of success and the cycle stopped.

In implementing classroom action research (CAR)  has some weaknesses, CAR cannot be generalized because it only solves the current problems in the class. CAR also spends a lot of time because we cannot decide how many cycles that the research finds the criteria of success. In my previous research I improved the students’ speaking skill by using Contextual Teaching and Learning. I only focused to improve their fluency and pronunciation in the speaking aspect. Meanwhile according to Djiwandono (1996, p.133) there are four aspects in taking the score on the speaking performance, they are grammar, vocabulary, fluency and pronunciation. I did not improve how the students’ communication strategy when they spoke to the interlocutors.
Communication problems occur when the encoded message differs from the decoded message. In other words, the message sent is not the message received. In daily communicative interaction, communication strategies are often used as communication is basically functional. Communication is not just what a message is about but what it wants to achieve.    
Foreign language learners may encounter various communication problems when their inter language is limited. In order to convey their messages and remain in a conversation until their communication goal is achieved, ESL (English as a Second Language) learners need to employ communication strategies, which have been defined generally as devices used by second language learners to overcome perceived barriers to achieving specific communication goals (Faerch & Kasper, 1983).
Miscommunication occurs when one interprets communicative rules of one culture in terms of the rules of another culture. In the process of learning a second language, learners make some errors due to first language interference. By knowing strategies to avoid misinterpretation between different backgrounds of speakers, the problems mentioned before shall be avoided easily.

According to Kuhn in Ladyman (2002, p.98), the evaluation of theories depends on local historical circumstances, and his analysis of the relationship between theory and observation suggests that theories infect data to such an extent that no way of gathering of observations can ever be theory neutral and objective. Hence, the degree of confirmation an experiment gives to hypothesis is not objective, and there is no single logic of theory testing that can be used to determine which theory is most justified by the evidence.
Based on my previous research that still has many weaknesses especially in the communication problem in the next research I would like to measure the effect of topic familiarity on the students’ communication strategy.
Communication strategies are usually associated with spoken language and research has shown that students tend to use various communication strategies when they are unable to express what they want to say because of their lack of resources in their second language (L2) (Hedge, in Lai 2010).
Chang (2006) revealed that while reading comprehension monitoring efforts were motivated by both topic familiarity and linguistic difficulty, inferencing events were primarily facilitated by topic familiarity. Pulido (2007) also found that familiarity of the learners with the topics of the reading tasks leads to better comprehension of the texts. Combs (2008) revealed that neither typographically enhanced text nor the topic familiarity training had a significant impact on the acquisition of form. Schmidt-Rinehart (1994) indicated that the subjects scored considerably higher on the familiar topic than on the new one. In a similar study, Sadighi and Zare (2002) provided some evidence in support of the effect of background knowledge on listening comprehension. Othman and Vanathas (2004) also indicated that topic familiarity has an influence on listening comprehension. Chang & Read (2007) also revealed that providing background knowledge and familiarizing the learners with the listening tasks’ topics is the most effective support for listening comprehension of the EFL learners. Rahimpour and Hazar (2007) revealed that the topic familiarity had a positive effect on accuracy and fluency of participants’ oral output but it had a negative effect on complexity of their oral performance. Hayati (2009) concluded that familiarity of the language learners with culturally-oriented language material promotes the Iranian EFL learners’ listening proficiency.
As it can be concluded from the results of the above mentioned studies that have been done on the effects of topic familiarity or prior knowledge on L2 learners’ reading and listening comprehension, in most of them, it has positive effects on reading and listening proficiency. However, according to Rahimpour and Hazar (2007), it is necessary to consider topic familiarity as a task feature in syllabus design and materials development. So, because of its importance in topic-based language teaching, there is a need to consider the effects of topic familiarity on four language skills.
The significance of the research here, theoretically it will contribute to more understanding of the communication strategy. The result of this study hopefully will enrich the body of knowledge about how topic familiarity influences the students’ communication strategy in EFL context, more specifically in Indonesia. Practically, the finding of this research will give contribution to the ELT teachers and learners in Indonesia about the effect of topic familiarity on communication strategy.

            In the falsification stated by Popper we can conclude that the corroborated theory is important to support the next plan for the research. The previous research that I conducted in 2005 had some weaknesses especially in improving speaking skill therefore I would like to concern with communication strategies. But the theory of contextual teaching and learning supports me to measure the effect of topic familiarity on the students’ communication strategy. Based on the theory on the rationality, Kuhn in Ladyman (2002, p. 121) guides me to have paradigms about theory that should be accurate, consistent, wide in the scope, simple and fruitful.


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Chang, A. C., & Read, J. (2007). Support for Foreign Language Listeners: Its Effectiveness and Limitations. RELC Journal, 38(3), 375-395.

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Lai, Hongling. (2010). Gender Effect on the Use of CSs. English Language Teaching Vol 3 No 4, December 2010.

Othman, J. and Vanathas, C. (2004). Topic Familiarity and Its Influence on Listening Comprehension. The English Teacher, 8, 19-32.

Pulido, D. (2004). The Relationship between Text Comprehension and Second Language Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition: A Matter of Topic Familiarity Language Learning, 54, 469-53.

Rahimpour, M., & Hazar, F. (2007). Topic Familiarity Effect on Accuracy, Complexity, and Fluency of L2 Oral Output. The Journal of Asia TEFL, 4(4), 191-211.

Sadighi, F. & Zare, S. (2002). Is Listening Comprehension Influenced by the Background Knowledge of the Learners? A Case Study of Iranian EFL Learners. The Linguistics Journal, 1(3), 110-126.

Schmidt-Rinehart, B. C. (1994). The Effect of Topic Familiarity on Second Language Listening Comprehension. Modern Language Journal, 78(2), 179-189.

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