Activity-based learning method at elementary school enhance students’ speaking skills

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In responding to the challenges of the world, becoming proficient in English is needed by everyone so that they can compete and excel in various fields at the international levels. Therefore, English must be practiced since early childhood since it is the golden period in which the learning process can effectively take place.

However, the fact shows that English is not obligated at the elementary level in Indonesia. This has led freedom for the schools to compile the curriculum of English including English teachers recruitment. Many English teachers who do not earn a bachelor’s degree in English Education are assigned to teach English. This results in having insufficient knowledge of teaching methods to be applied in the classroom that later affects the students’ ability in speaking English.

President University as a university with an international environment has taken this matter into concern. A team consists of an English lecturer based in the Management Study Program of President University Emilius German, S.S., M.Pd. and an English lecturer based in Primary School Teacher Education Study Program of President University Disa Evawani Lestari, S.S., M.Sc. created a research program named “The Implementation of Activity Based Learning (ABL) Method at Elementary School to Enhance Students’ Speaking Skills”. The program received a grant fund from the Directorate of Research and Community Service, the Directorate General of Higher Education, Ministry of Education and Culture.

Emilius and Disa chose Permata Bangsa Elementary School, Cikarang to be the school for the implementation of the research program. Based on the problems faced by Permata Bangsa Elementary School teachers, they aim to help the English teachers in providing effective and enjoyable English lessons to enhance students’ speaking skills through the implementation of the ABL method. ABL means that the teacher incorporates some types of activities in teaching to make students learn English easier and more efficient.

The first agenda of the program was organizing a workshop for teachers to enable them teaching English using the ABL method (8/10). Here, Emil and Disa introduced the ABL method in the teaching process and did a teaching demo using the ABL method. “Based on previous research, students tend to remember 50% of what they see and hear. On the other hand, they tend to remember 90% of what they say and do. That’s why the ABL method is important in the teaching and learning process as it is more effective,” Emil explained. The second agenda was the ABL implementation in which Emil and Disa held a pre-test, teaching the students using the ABL method, held a post-test for students, and interviewed teachers also the headmistress of the school to evaluate the method.

The method has proven to be more effective than just a usual reading and writing learning method. One of the teachers of Permata Bangsa Elementary School Christina Pakpahan revealed, “The students are very happy and enthusiastic in learning in this new method. The material is easy to understand. There are a lot of games and songs.”

Emil and Disa hope that the ABL method can be applied to all elementary schools in Indonesia to help teachers and students reach their full potential in English.