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STKIP Santa Maria Sibolga


This study deals with a research conducted on applying teacher’s instructional materials in teaching reading comprehension. The objectives were to describe the types, to schematize the procedure and to explain the reasons of using such instructional materials by the English teachers at SMA N 1 MatauliPandan

The materials of the study were obtained from three artifacts: the subjects’ teaching preparation documents, classroom instructions, and responses by employing documentary, participant observation, self-report inventory (questionnaire), and interview technique respectively.

Based on the obtained information, the data were analyzed. It was found that the types of instructional materials in the teaching of reading comprehension used by the subjects were teacher’s designed instructional materials and commercial text book. Of two subjects, the first subject presented the instructional materials effectively and efficiently. The learning process was enjoyable by applying the Top - Down process where a global meaning of the text is obtained through ‘clues’ in the text and the reader’s good schema knowledge. The second subject presented the reading materials which allowed the students to read the whole materials based on the procedure provided in the text book. He tended to organize the class focusing on grammar and vocabulary. The reasons of the first subject using the instructional materials in the teaching of reading comprehensions were through analyzing the materials based on the students’needs which were related to the principle of teaching reading comprehension. On the other side, the second subject who used the commercial text book argued that it was simpler since the instructional materials were arranged by the text book publisher.

The findings show that teacher’s designed instructional material is a suitable one to be used at SMA N 1 MatauliPandan.

Key words : Teacher’s Instructional materials, reading comprehension

This journal is an excerpt of thesis for getting Magister of Education (M.Pd Degree) with the assistant of Prof. Dr. LinceSihombing, M.Pd as the first adviser.



Language as a means of communication is very useful and flexible. It provides people with needs to communicate in any situation. People can express almost everything such as thoughts, emotions, policy, wisdom, actions, affairs, controversies, ideas, etc. by means of language. Language is vested in culture and the origin of spoken language is as old as humanity itself. It could be well imagined then that people from the distant past living in families with a particular spoken tongue clustering together to form a clan. Geographically together in security and subsistence they would harmonize as a culture, protecting it with all their power to survive in a world as it was known to them and not very much different from the same principles philosophized today. Language is a way to communicate ideascomprehensibly from one person to another in such a way that the other will be able to act exactly accordingly. The transportation of such ideas could be acquired by either verbal expression, signing in alphabet (written word) and perhaps it can be imagined that how bad is the condition if two parties with different tongue, signing with gestures and images. Therefore, language is an important thing in people’s life without which they cannot interact with other people. English is replacing the dominant European languages of centuries. Even English has replaced French as the language of diplomacy; it is the official language of international aid organizations such as Oxfam and save the Children as well as of UNESCO, NATO, and the UN. English serves as a common tongue in countries where people speak many different languages. In India, nearly 200 different languages are spoken; only 30 percent speak the official language, Hindi. When Rajiv Gandhi addressed the nation after his mother’s assassination, he spoke in English. The European Free Trade Association works only in English even though it is a foreign tongue for all six member countries. With those English conditions, Indonesian government places English learning as the obligation within educational field. By learning English, students are expected to absorb and keep up with the development of science, technology and art. With this English position, it could be understood then why English is also the most famous foreign language which is taught from primary to tertiary level. That’s why textbooks and other publications are mostly written in English. In order to read them, people must master English. However, mastering English is not easy for people because English is complicated due to the fact that it has components such as phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics which are completely different from Indonesian. The teaching of English emphasizes the four basic language skills and one of the basic language skills is reading. Reading is an interactive process that goes on between the readers and the text, resulting in comprehension. The text presents letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs that encode meaning. The reader should use their knowledge, skills, and strategies to determine meaning the text conveys. Indeed, the teaching of reading is not an easy task. Rohimand Nugroho (2009), who studied research finding of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) of Indonesian students’ reading comprehension achievement found that despite approximately 12 years of studying English their reading


comprehension achievement is generally low. Indonesia is in the 51st position among 57 countries on the five continents. In reading, over 50 percent of students surveyed in Indonesia performed at level 1 - the lowest out of five - or below. Level 1 represents those students who have serious difficulties in using reading as a tool to advance and extend their knowledge and skills in other areas. Level 5 indicates those students who are able to manage information that is presented in unfamiliar texts, show detailed understanding of complex texts and infer information which is relevant to the task, and critically evaluate and build hypotheses with the capacity to draw on specialized knowledge and concepts that may be contrary to expectations. The lowest results were scored in Albania, Indonesia and Peru. PISA 2000 and PISA 2003 also consistently stated the following. Indonesian students had serious difficulty in using reading as a tool to advance and extend their knowledge and skills in other areas, such as daily problem solving. They could not comprehend information when it was presented in an unfamiliar format and showed a difficulty in understanding texts at the highest level of literacy.

This is a deviation to the expectation since in English syllabus’s statement. Senior high school students of English are expected to be competent in reading at the level of informational. This is in line with the currently applied curriculum objective which is oriented at reading comprehension competency. For this purpose, the national examination materials are dominantly reading comprehension questions. These facts lead to the question: “what’s wrong with the student’s reading activities and tasks?”Many factors influence this situation ranging from ineffective governmental regulation on educational system at macro level and low engagement of students in the classroom due to dull learning process at micro level. In fact in order to bridge the gap the teacher’s designed their own instructional materials as an effort to take part in resolving the reading comprehension problems.



The Purpose of Reading

Berardo (2006: 61) argues that the reason for reading depends very much on the purpose for reading. Reading can have three main purposes, for survival, for learning or for pleasure. Reading for survival is considered to be in response to our environment, to find out information and can include street signs, advertising, and timetables. It depends very much on the day-to-day needs of the reader and often involves an immediate response to a situation. In contrast reading for learning is considered to be the type of reading done in the classroom and is goal orientated. While reading for pleasure is something that does not have to be done. He concludes that the central ideas behind reading are:

1. the idea of meaning;

2. the transfer of meaning from one mind to another;

3. the transfer of a message from writer to reader;

4. how we get meaning by reading;

5. how the reader, the writer and the text all contribute to the process

The Process of Reading

Reader’s process texts in two ways either Top-Down or Bottom-Up. Bottom-up processing is when the reader builds up meaning by reading word for word, letter for letter, carefully scrutinizing both vocabulary and syntax. This is often associated with poor or slow readers, but can sometimes occur when the readers own schema knowledge is inadequate. Top- Down processing is the opposite, where a global meaning of the text is obtained, through “clues” in the text and the reader’s good schema knowledge. This is often associated with a good reader, who does not read word for word but quickly and efficiently. The most comprehensive description of the reading process is interactive models, “…in which every component in the reading process can interact with any other component… (Alderson 2000:18)”, combining elements of both bottom-up and top down models. Reading is considered to be an interactive process (a conversation between writer/reader, even though the writer is not present) and for it to occur both processes are necessary, top-down to predict the meaning and bottom-up to check it. The two are therefore complementary ways of processing a text. Our knowledge and experiences of the world around us also influence how a text is read or processed; this is known as schema theory.

The Aspect of Teaching Reading

Teaching reading usually has at least two aspects. First, it can refer to teaching learners who are learning to read for the very first time. A second aspect of teaching reading refers to teaching learners who already have reading skills in their first language. This paper focuses on the second of these aspects. Here, we review pedagogical techniques that second language teachers can use to reach learners who are already literate in at least one other language and are learning how to read in a second (or third) language. The ideas presented here can be adapted for children, teenagers, or adults.


The Principles of Teaching Reading

Day and Bamford (2002) observe that there are top ten principles for teaching extensive reading as the following.

1. The text must be well within the learner’s reading competence in the foreign language. For example, in helping beginning readers, texts should be selected to be well within their reading comfort zone. More than one or two unknown words per page might make the text too difficult for overall reading. Intermediate learners might use the rule of hand-no more than five difficult words per page. In line with this, Hu and Nation (2000) suggest that learners must know at least 98% of the words in a fiction text for an unassisted understanding.

2. A variety of reading material on a wide range of topics must be available. To awaken or encourage a desire to read, the text made available should ideally be as varied as the learners who read them and purposes for which they want to read.

3. Learners choose what they want to read. The principle of freedom of choice means that learners can select text as they do in their own language, that is, they can choose text they expect to understand, to enjoy or to learn from

4. Learners read as much as possible They must critical element in learning to read is the amount of time spent actually reading. There is no upper limit to the amount of reading that can be done. Teachers should give students opportunity or incentive to read, read, and read some more.

5. The purpose of reading is usually relative to pleasure, informative, and general understand. Learners should be encouraged to read for the same kinds of reasons and in the some ways as the general population of first- language readers.

6. Reading is its own reward. The learner’s experience of reading the text is at the center of the extensive reading experience, just as it is in reading in everyday life.

7. Reading speed is usually faster than slower. When learners are reading material that is well within their linguistic ability, for personal interest, and for general rather than academic purposes, it is an incentive to reading fluency.

8. Reading is individual and silent Together with freedom to choose reading material, individual silent reading can be instrumental in students discovering how foreign language reading fits in to their lives.

9. Teachers orient and guide their students Teachers can explain that reading extensively leads not only to gain in reading proficiency but also to overall gains in language learning. The methodology of extensive reading can be introduced, beginning with choice: students’ choosing what to read is an essential part of the approach. Teachers can reassure students that a general, less than 100%, understanding of what they read is appropriate for most reading purposes. It can be emphasized that there will be no test after reading. Instead,


teachers are interested in the student's own personal experience of what was read -- for example, was it enjoyable or interesting, and why? 10. The teacher is a role model of reader "Reading is caught, not taught" . Teachers need to realize how much influence they have on their students. Students do not just learn the subject matter they teach them; they learn their teachers. Teacher attitude, more than technical expertise, is what they will recall when they leave us. In short, effective extensive reading teachers are themselves readers, teaching by example the attitudes and behaviors of a reader.

Instructional Material Educational resources are used to improve students’ knowledge, abilities, and skills, to monitor their assimilation of information, and to contribute to their overall development and upbringing. There are three basic types of instructional materials: concrete objects, including objects from the world of nature; representations of concrete objects and phenomena; and descriptions of such objects and phenomena by means of the signs, words, and sentences of natural and artificial languages. The first type of instructional materials includes such objects and phenomena as minerals, rocks, raw materials,semi finished and finished manufactured articles, and plant and animal specimens. Included among these materials are reagents and apparatus for producing chemical and other reactions and for demonstrating and studying such reactions during laboratory sessions. The second type of educational materials, that of representations of actual objects and phenomena, includes three-dimensional materials (castings, globes, and experimental models), two-dimensional materials (charts, pictures, photographs, maps, diagrams, and drawings), and audiovisual materials (motion pictures, film clips, filmstrips, slide sequences, transparencies, records and tape recordings, and radio and television broadcasts). Audiovisual materials, including the resources of films, radio, and television, help acquaint students with the achievements of modern science, technology, industry, and culture and with phenomena that are inaccessible to direct observation. The third type of instructional materials, that of written descriptions, includes scientific, scholarly, reference, and methodological teaching aids, as well as textbooks, books of problems and exercises, books for recording scientific observations, laboratory manuals, manuals for production training, and programmed textbooks. Another type of instructional materials is technological instructional media. Among these are equipment for the transmission and assimilation of information recorded on film or on phonograph recordings: film projectors, tape recorders, phonographs, and television sets. (S.G.Shapovalenko:2010 in +Materials).

Materials for Teaching Reading Comprehension for Secondary Students

Berardo (2006:21) claims that authentic texts have been defined as “…real-life texts, not written for pedagogic purposes” (Wallace 1992:145) they are therefore written for native speakers and contain “real” language. They are


“…materials that have been produced to fulfill some social purpose in the language community.” (Peacock (1997), in contrast to non-authentic texts that are especially designed for language learning purposes. The language in non-

authentic texts is artificial and unvaried, concentrating on something that has to be taught and often containing a series of “false-text indicators” that include:

1. perfectly formed sentences (all the time);

2. a question using a grammatical structure, gets a full answer;

3. repetition of structures;

4. very often does not “read” well.

The artificial nature of the language and structures used, make them very unlike anything that the learner will encounter in the real world and very often they do not reflect how the language is really used. They are useful for teaching structures but are not very good for improving reading skills (for the simple fact that they read unnaturally). They can be useful for preparing the learner for the eventual reading of “real” texts. If authentic texts have been written not for language learning purposes but for completely different ones, where do they come from and how are they selected? Authentic materials enable learners to interact with the real language and content rather than the form. Learners feel that they are learning a target language as it is used outside the classroom. When choosing materials from the various sources, it is therefore worth taking into consideration that the aim should be to understand meaning and not form, especially when using literary texts with the emphasis being on what is being said and not necessarily on the literary form or stylistics.

The Appropriateness of English Text Book

English textbooks should have correct, natural, recent, and standard English. Since students’ vocabulary is limited, the vocabulary in textbooks should be controlled or the textbooks should provide information to help students understand vocabulary that they may be familiar with. For lower – level students, grammar should also be controlled. Many textbooks use narratives and essays. It would be useful to have a variety of literary forms (for example, newspaper articles, poetry, or letters), so that students can learn to deal with different forms. The culture information included in English textbooks should also be correct and recent. It should not be biased and should reflect background cultures of English. It should include visual aids to help students understand the cultural information itself.

Way of Getting English Materials

In addition to publishers, there are many possible sources of material. There is a lot of material available on the internet. You can search for materials when you have free time, and store them for your future classes. Many teachers go abroad during vacations these days, and they can collect materials in English – speaking countries. TV and radio are good sources. They provide a variety of materials. The information is current and the language is natural, but the content has to be chosen carefully. Newspapers, magazines, advertisements, and other types of printed material are very useful. Teachers can take photos, make video


tapes or record audio tapes. If they make plans before they go overseas, they may be able to make good video or audio programs. Teacher, they can browse the World Wide Web and search for useful materials for classes. There are lots of sources of materials and photos on www. The market of language teaching materials are fairly large and many companies are competing. They produce new materials and promote them with many advertisements and through their salespeople. You need to be careful about what they tell you. You always need to examine their materials carefully from the point of view of what is appropriate for your students and the classes you are teaching. Another concern about materials is that the copyright issue. Many teachers violate the copyright laws every day. We cannot copy any copyrighted materials. Of course, we cannot copy them and distribute them to our students in the class. We need the permission from the publisher to do so (Kitao.1997).

Teachers’ Reasons in Choosing English Materials

Teaching materials form an important part of most English teaching programmes. From textbooks, videotapes and pictures to the Internet, teachers rely heavily on a diverse range of materials to support their teaching and their students’ learning. However, despite the current rich array of English language teaching materials commercially available, many teachers continue to produce their own materials for classroom use. Indeed, most teachers spend considerable time finding, selecting, evaluating, adapting and making materials to use in their teaching. In this paper we synthesis a range of ideas from the literature on materials design. We consider why teachers might want to design their own teaching materials and look at some of the advantages and disadvantages. We examine six factors that teachers need to take into account when consideringdesigning their own materials; and finally we present ten guidelines for designing effective English teaching materials

Advantages of Teacher’s Designed Instructional Materials

Discussions about the advantages and disadvantages of teacher-designed materials usually centre on a comparison with using text or course books. Rather than focusing on course books, we have turned our focus to teacher-produced materials and consider that the disadvantages of course books can become advantages for teacher-produced materials. The key reasons why teachers may wish to produce their own teaching materials can be linked to four themes distilled from recent literature on this topic (Howard and Major 2004:101). 1) Contextualization An important advantage of teacher – produced materials is contextualization. A key criticism of commercial materials, particularly those produced for the world-wide EFL market is that they are necessarily generic and not aimed at any specific group of learners or any particular cultural reducational context. The possible lack of ‘fit’ between teaching context and course book has been expressed thus: “Our modern course books are full of speech acts and functions based on situations which most foreign-language students will never


encounter Another aspect of context is the resources available. Some teaching contexts will be rich in resources such as course books, supplementary texts, readers, computers, audio-visual equipment and consumables such as paper, pens and so on. Other contexts may be extremely impoverished, with little more than an old blackboard and a few pieces of chalk. A lack of commercial materials forces teachers to fall back on their own resources and designing their own teaching materials can enable them to make best use of the resources available in their teaching context. A further aspect that is not often mentioned in the literature is the cost of commercially produced resources. For many schools, teacher- produced materials can be the best option in terms of both school and student budget.

2) Individual Needs. Modern teaching methodology increasingly emphasizes the importance of identifying and teaching to the individual needs of learners. English language classrooms are diverse places not only in terms of where they are situated, but also in terms of the individual learners within each context. Teacher-designed materials can be responsive to the heterogeneity inherent in the classroom. This approach encompasses the learners’ first languages and cultures, their learning needs and their experiences. Few course books deliberately incorporate opportunities for learners to build on the first language skills already acquired, despite research suggesting that bilingual approaches are most successful in developing second language competence . A teacher can develop materials that incorporate elements of the learners’ first language and culture, or at least provide opportunities for acknowledgement and use alongside English. In addition, teacher-prepared materials provide the opportunity to select texts and activities at exactly the right level for particular learners, to ensure appropriate challenge and levels of success. In designing their own materials teachers can also make decisions about the most appropriate organizing principle or focus for the materials and activities. And this can be changed over the course of the program if necessary. Most course books remain organized around grammar elements and the PPP (presentation, practice, production) model of teaching, often with an “unrelenting format” which can be “deeply unengaging” . By taking more control over materials production, teachers can choose from the range of possibilities, including topics, situations, notions, functions, skills etc. or a combination of these principles, as starting points to develop a variety of materials that focus on the developing needs of their particular group of learners.

3) Personalization Another advantage of teacher-designed materials is personalization. In his 1991 article, Block argues in favor of ‘home-made’ materials saying that they add a personal touch to teaching that students appreciate. Tapping into the interests and taking account of the learning styles of students is likely to increase motivation and engagement in learning. Podromou (2002) further suggests that there is also greater choice, freedom and scope for spontaneity when teachers develop their own materials.


4) Timeliness Teachers designing their own materials can respond to local and international events with up-to-date, relevant and high interest topics and tasks. The teachable moment can be more readily seized. In conclusion, the advantages of teacher-designed materials can be summed up in the idea that they avoid the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach of most commercial materials (Block,1991).

Disadvantages of Teacher’s Designed Instructional Materials There are a number of potential pitfalls for teachers who would be materials designers. These can be considered fewer than three headings.

1) Organization. Course books are usually organized around an identifiable principle and follow a discernible pattern throughout. While this can be rather dull and boring (or ‘unrelenting’) it does provide both teachers and students with some security and a coherent body of work to remember and revise from” (Harmer, 2001, p. 7). In contrast, teacher-designed materials may lack overall coherence and a clear progression. Without some overall organizing principle, materials may be piecemeal and can result in poorly focused activities lacking clear direction. This is frustrating and confusing for learners who may not be able to see how their English is developing. A further aspect of organization relates to the physical organization and storage of materials. Without a clearly thought through and well- organized system, teacher-produced materials may be difficult to locate for ongoing use, or may end up damaged or with parts missing. Possibly the most common criticism leveled against teacher – made materials is to do with their quality. At the surface level, teacher-made materials may “seem ragged and unprofessional next to those produced by professionals.” (Block, 1991, p. 212, emphasis in original). They may contain errors, be poorly constructed, lack clarity in layout and print and lack durability. Harmer probably speaks for many when he says, “If the alternative is a collection of scruffy photocopies, give me a well-produced course book any time.” (2001, p. 7). In addition, a lack of experience and understanding on the part of the teacher may result in important elements being left out or inadequately covered. Teacher-made materials may be produced to take advantage of authentic text. However, if not guided by clear criteria and some experience, teachers may make inconsistent or poor choices of texts. A further problem may be a lack of clear instructions about how to make effective use of the materials – particularly instructions designed for students.

2) Time Time is another disadvantage of teacher-made materials, and perhaps the key factor inhibiting many teachers from producing their own teaching materials. However passionately one may believe in the advantages of teacher-designed materials, the reality is that for many teachers, it is simply not viable – at least not all the time.


Guidelines for Designing Effective English Teaching Materials

Teacher designed materials may range from one-off, single use items to extensive programs of work where the tasks and activities build on each other to create a coherent progression of skills, concepts and language items. The guidelines that follow may act as a useful framework for teachers as they navigate the range of factors and variables to develop materials for their own teaching situations. The guidelines are offered as just that – guidelines – not rules to be rigidly applied or adhered to. While not all the guidelines will be relevant or applicable in all materials design scenarios, overall they provide for coherent design and materials which enhance the learning experience.

1) Materials Should be Contextualized Firstly, the materials should be contextualized to the curriculum they are intended to address (Nunan, 1988, pp. 1–2). It is essential during the design stages that the objectives of the curriculum, syllabus or scheme within the designer’s institution are kept to the fore. This is not to suggest that materials design should be solely determined by a list of course specifications or by large inventories of vocabulary that need to be imparted, but these are certainly among the initial considerations. Materials should also be contextualized to the experiences, realities and first languages of the learners. An important part of this involves an awareness on the part of the teacher- designer of the “socio-cultural appropriacy” (Jolly & Bolitho, 1998, p. 111) of things such as the designer’s own style of presenting material, of arranging groups, and so on. It is essential the materials designer is informed about the culture-specific learning processes of the intended learners, and for many groups this may mean adjusting the intended balance of what teachers may regard as more enjoyable activities and those of a more serious nature. Materials should link explicitly to what the learners already know, to their first languages and cultures, and very importantly, should alert learners to any areas of significant cultural difference. In addition, materials should be contextualized to topics and themes that provide meaningful, purposeful uses for the target language.

2) Materials Should Stimulate Interaction and Be Generative in Terms of Language Hall (1995) states that “most people who learn to communicate fluently in a language which is not their L1 do so by spending a lot of time in situations where they have to use the language for some real communicative purpose” (p. 9). Ideally, language-teaching materials should provide situations that demand the same; situations where learners need to interact with each other regularly in a manner that reflects the type of interactions they will engage in outside of the classroom. Hall outlines three conditions he believes are necessary to stimulate real communication: these are the need to “have something we want to communicate”, “someone to communicate with”, and, perhaps most importantly, “some interest in the outcome of the communication” (p. 9). Nunan (1988) refers to this as the “learning by doing philosophy” (p. 8), and suggests procedures such as information gap and information transfer activities, which can be used to ensure that interaction is necessary.


3) Materials Should Develop Learning Skills and Strategies It is impossible for teachers to teach their learners all the language they need to know in the short time that they are in the classroom. In addition to teaching valuable new language skills, it is essential that language teaching materials also teach their target learners how to learn, and that they help them to take advantage of language learning opportunities outside the classroom. Hall (1995) stresses the importance of providing learners with the confidence to persist in their attempts to find solutions when they have initial difficulties in communicating. To this end, strategies such as rewording and using facial expressions and body language effectively can be fine-tuned with well designed materials.

4) Materials Focus on Form and Function Frequently, the initial motivation for designing materials stems from practitioners’ desires to make activities more communicative—often as “an antidote to the profusion of skills- based activities and artificial language use pervasive in the field of ESL instruction” (Demetrion, 1997, p. 5). Sometimes, though, in the desire to steer a wide berth around this more traditional approach, materials are developed which allow absolutely no scope for a focus on language form. The aim of Guideline 3 is to develop active, independent language learners.

5) Materials Should Cover Integrated Language Use Opportunities Language teaching materials can tend to focus on one particular skill in a somewhat unnatural manner. Some courses have a major focus on productive skills, and in these reading and listening become second-rate skills. With other materials, reading or writing may dominate. Bell & Gower (1998) point out that, “at the very least we listen and speak together, and read and write together” (p. 125). Ideally, materials produced should give learners opportunities to integrate all the language skills in an authentic manner and to become competent at integrating extra-linguistic factors also.

6) Materials Should Be Authentic Much space has been devoted in language teaching literature to debating the desirability (and otherwise) of using authentic materials in language teaching classrooms and, indeed, to defining exactly what constitutes genuine versus simulated texts (e.g., Harmer, 1998; Hedge, 2000; Nunan, 1988, 1991). It is the authors’ view that it is imperative for second language learners to be regularly exposed in the classroom to real, unscripted language—to passages that have not been produced specifically for language learning purposes. As Nunan points out, “texts written specifically for the classroom generally distort the language in some way” (1988, p. 6). When the aim for authenticity in terms of the texts presented to learners is discussed, a common tendency is to immediately think of written material such as newspapers and magazines. Materials designers should also aim for authentic spoken and visual texts. Learners need to hear, see and read the way native speakers communicate with each other naturally. Arguably more important than the provision of authentic texts, is authenticity in terms of the tasks which students are required to perform with them.


7) Materials Should Be Interconnected One potential pitfall for teacher-designed materials mentioned in the first part of this article relates to the organization within and between individual tasks. There is a very real danger with self-designed and adapted materials that the result can be a hotchpotch of unconnected activities. Clearly stated objectives at the outset of the design process will help ensure that the resultant materials have coherence, and that they clearly progress specific learning goals while also giving opportunities for repetition and reinforcement of earlier learning.

8) Materials Should Be Attractive Criteria for evaluating English language teaching materials and course books frequently include reference to the ‘look’ and the ‘feel’ of the product (see, for example, Harmer, 1998; Nunan, 1991). Some aspects of these criteria that are particularly pertinent to materials designers are discussed below. Physical: Initial impressions can be as important in the language classroom as they are in many other aspects of life. Put simply, language-teaching materials should be good to look at! Factors to consider include the density of the text on the page, the type size, and the cohesiveness and consistency of the layout. User- Friendliness: Materials should also be attractive in terms of their ‘usability’. Some simple examples: if the activity is a gap-fill exercise, is there enough space for learners to handwrite their responses? If an oral response is required during a tape or video exercise, is the silence long enough to allow for both thinking and responding? Durabilty: If materials need to be used more than once, or if they are to be used by many different students, consideration needs to be given to how they can be made robust enough to last the required distance. Ability to be reproduced:

Language teaching institutions are not renowned for giving their staff unlimited access to colour copying facilities, yet many do-it-yourself materials designers continue to produce eye-catching multi-coloured originals, and suffer frustration and disappointment when what emerges from the photocopier is a class-set of grey blurs.

9) Materials Should Convey Appropriate Instructions This guideline applies as much to the instructions that are provided for other teachers who may use the materials, as it does for the intended learners. It seems to be stating the obvious to say that instructions should be clear, but, often, excellent materials fail in their “pedagogical realisation” (Jolly & Bolitho, 1998, p. 93) because of a lack of clarity in their instructions. For instructions to be effective, they should be written in language that is appropriate for the target learners, and the use of the correct meta language can assist with making instructions more concise and efficient.

10) Materials Should Be Flexible This final guideline is directed primarily at longer series of materials rather than at one-off tasks, but has pertinence to both. Prabhu (cited in Cook, c. 1998) maintains that much of a student’s language learning is “mediated by the materials and course books the teacher uses in terms of both language content and teaching technique” (p. 3). He proposes constructing materials that allow teachers and


students to make choices—at least some of the time. He suggests the materials designer may offer flexibility in terms of content by providing “a range of

possible inputs

Maley, 1998, p. 284), and that teachers or, indeed, students, could then choose which of these to use and which “procedure” (e.g.comprehension exercise, grammar awareness exercise, role play, etc) to apply to them.

[that] are not themselves organized into lesson units” (cited in


This study carried out by applying a qualitative method with a multicase study design intended to describe, schematize, and explain the phenomenon of senior high school English teachers’ teaching of reading using certain instructional materials.


The data of this study were:

1. The types of instructional materials used by the English teachers in the teaching of reading comprehension

2. The procedures of using the instructional materials by the English teachers in the teaching of reading comprehension

3. The reason underlying the use of certain types of instructional materials by the English teachers in the teaching of reading comprehension

4. The reasons underlying the use of instructional materials in such procedure

Data used in this section were obtained from two English teachers(AD) and (FF) through participant observation, self-report inventory, interview and documentation of the teaching preparation documents such as instructional materials, syllabuses and lesson plans used in the teaching of reading comprehension.


Below are prevalent facts and information concerning the types of instructional materials, the procedures of using the instructional materials and the reasons of using of them in the teaching of reading comprehension from the act of scrutinizing the data:

1. Both AD and FF presented the materials based on genres, generic structures and the language features which were suggested by the curriculum of educational department. In spite of the fact, the instructional materials used by the subjects were different. AD used the teacher’s designed instructional materials refer to the form of hand out and FF used the commercial text book which was published by a publisher. It means that the English teachers of Matauli senior high school rely on the content of curriculum of educational department and they are given the freedom to design their instructional materials in the teaching of reading comprehension. In designing the materials, they used the same aspect of teaching reading: teaching the students who already have reading skills in the first language. This aspect is an appropriate one to be applied in the teaching of reading since it reviews pedagogical techniques that the second language


teachers can use to reach learners who are already literate in at least one other language and are learning how to read in a second or third language .This aspect can be adapted for children, teenagers and adults.

2. AD and FF presented different principle of teaching reading. AD presented the reading materials effectively and efficiently. The learning process was enjoyable by applying the Top - Down process where a global meaning of the text is obtained through ‘clues’ in the text and the reader’s good schema knowledge. It is different with the second subject who only presented the reading materials which allow the students to read the whole materials based on the procedure elaborated in the text book. He tended to organize the class focusing on grammar and vocabulary. It means that AD’s teaching procedure as well as the theory used in the teaching of reading is much better than FF’s.

3. AD considered that the teacher designed instructional material is much better than commercial text book. The materials are designed based on the teachers’ analysis on the students need and the materials used in the teaching and learning process are interesting and enjoyable. It is designed in the range of the students’ ability to comprehend so the teaching and learning process is effective and efficient. The materials which are contextualized to the curriculum intended to address, to the experiences, realities and first language of the students and the flexible teaching materials for procedure that can be applied to both teachers and students. It means that AD designed his own teaching materials based on the characteristic of teaching reading to meet the student’s needs. It is quite different with FF’s reasons which considered that using commercial text book makes him simple; it can be used directly without wasting time. It means that FF’s instructional materials were not addressed to the student’s needs in the teaching of reading comprehension.


Based on the findings and discussion in the previous chapters, conclusions are drawn as the following.

1. In the teaching of reading comprehension, the subjects presented two types of instructional materials:

a). Teacher’s designed instructional material. b). Commercial text book which is produced by publisher

2. The procedures used to provide the instructional materials for teaching reading comprehension are:

a) The first subject presented the reading materials effectively and efficiently. The teaching and learning process was enjoyable by applying the Top - Down process where a global meaning of the text is obtained through ‘clues’ in the text and the reader’s good schema knowledge.

b) The second subject presented the reading materials which allow the students to read the whole materials based on the procedure elaborated


in the text book. He tended to organize the class focusing on grammar

and vocabulary.

3. The reasons of the subjects using the instructional materials in the teaching of reading comprehensions are:

a) The first subject used the teacher’s designed instructional material because he designed it by analyzing the materials based on the students’ needs which were related to the principle of teaching reading comprehension.

b) The second subject used the commercial text book because it can be used simply without wasting time.

Implication Realizing the significances of the instructional materials in the teaching of reading comprehension, in order to help the teacher providing and increasing students’ achievement in reading comprehension at the level of informational, the writer insists some considerations due to the conclusion of this research as following. 1. Teacher designed instructional materials is suitable to be applied in Indonesia especially for senior high school because the procedures and the reasons of the teacher in designing his instructional materials met the students needs. It can be seen from the conclusion that the teacher in designing his instructional materials adopted some aspects and principles of teaching reading related to theory.

2. Contents of commercial text book can be applied in the teaching of reading comprehension after they are analyzed by the teachers.

3. The use of commercial text book in Indonesia should be placed in to the second priority. The government should compare the advantages and disadvantages of the teacher’s designed instructional materials so the commercial text book can be applied in schools.

4. Further study can be conducted to the comparison of using both instructional materials viewed by their advantages.


The curriculum for English language education through school based curriculum has implemented reading comprehension for some years. The currently applied curriculum objective is oriented at reading comprehension competency. Instead of teacher- produced materials, text books have been used by most of the English teachers of senior high school in the teaching of reading comprehension. In fact, the student’s achievement in the national examination which is dominantly presented in reading comprehension questions is still low. To overcome the existing problems, some worth considerations are suggested by the following. 1. Government through the National Education Department are advised to facilitate teachers in service of teaching English at secondary level of education with training and upgrading by inviting professionals with credited expertise in the fields of instructional materials design in the teaching of reading comprehension as keynote speakers.


2. English teachers of senior high school are suggested to master the theory of guidelines for designing teaching English language materials. In this case, universities or colleges which prepare English teacher candidates of senior high school should provide Curriculum and Instructional Materials Design courses with the emphasis in the theory of teaching reading comprehension.

3. The principles of senior high school are advised to motivate and facilitate English teachers to enhance their ability in analyzing the instructional materials used in the teaching of reading comprehension.

4. English teachers of secondary level of education are greatly encouraged to establish teacher’s forum through which teachers with better proficiency at instructional material design in teaching reading can do a “brain drain”, and act of disseminating knowledge and skill from the experienced to the inexperienced.



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BIOGRAPHY The writer was born on 6 th February 1966 in Tapanuli Tengah. Besides teaching the Senior High School students, he is also one of the lecturers in College of Teacher Training and Education (STKIP “Santa Maria Sibolga”) in English department. The writer graduated from Postgraduate School Program, English Education Department of HKBP Nommensen University Pematangsiantar on March 22, 2012. Now, he holds the Degree of Magister Education (M.Pd)