VIRTUAL COMMUNICATIVE LANGUAGE TEACHING (VCLT): A NEW ALTERNATIVE FOR FUTURE TEFL

Drs. Promadi, M.A., Ph.D, State Islamic University of Sultan Syarif Kasim Riau, email:promadikarim@hotmail.com

Introduction

Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) approaches language as communications. The goal of language teaching is to develop communicative competence (Hymes, 1972) comprising both knowledge of language and ability of using it in communication (Richards & Rodgers, 1981:70). Teaching principles in CLT is learning language for communication and communicating to learn language. Communicative skills will improve through the process of interaction (Richard & Rodgers, 2nd edition 2001:172).
Design of language teaching to improve communicative competence can be developed by using technology, especially Information and Communication Technology (ICT) like the use of computer and Internet. This technology has a big influence to approach, method and technique of language teaching. The use of multimedia laboratory, computer, and Internet give new dimension to language teaching activities in the classroom. The use of computer in communication causes many changes to the method of language teaching. Nowadays, the trend of language teaching has developed from conventional one to the teaching of language in the cyber context. (Norizan Abdul Razak, 2000:1055). All language teachers, therefore, can communicate and teach online by using computer and Internet.
The use of computer technology in language teaching can help student improve their communicate competence, because a kind of interaction exists between computer and student, although in a limited context. The use of electronic mail in language learning, for example, is a good choice in teaching language for communications, because student have chance to use the target language to interact each other. The development of computer technology, has modernized the distance language teaching. Using ICT facilities, all function in a traditional classroom instructional situation, besides physical contact, may be conducted online. The online teaching itself can be applied either as contributory activities or as a full online teaching or virtual classroom.
By using multimedia technology, student in virtual class may use the target language through interactive activities without meet each other physically. According to Estelita (1999:161) student may use the target language to communicate each other through interactive software, CD-ROM, electronic mail (email) and Internet. ICT gives opportunity to students to “step into” a Virtual Class, where they may meet students from different countries, and communicate with them.
Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) and Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) are two concepts which are popular in the field of language teaching methodology. Using language in the global communication, particularly in a virtual communication, need a new approach, method and technique of teaching which meet the needs for communicating virtually. A new approach of teaching language has ben established based on the combination of these two concepts called Virtual Communicative Language Teaching (VCLT). This approach is proposed to help student develop their communicative competence, particularly by implementing Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The design contains some communicative activities for an online foreign lenguage teaching.
An Interactive Software Program has been created for the purpose of this study based on the VCLT approach. This program was, actually, based on a subject given to the first semester students of the Department of Arabic at the State Islamic University of Sultan Syarif Kasim Riau. This software is called ARABCom1.com and contains the design of VCLT for an Arabic Virtual Class as a case study. An experiment has been done on this program using Pretest-Posttest Design. Questions that have been answered in this study are: “(1) is VCLT approach effective in developing students communicative competence?, (2) what are the strengths and weakness of the program in helping student develop their communicative competence?
Statement of Problem.
There are three problems in the case of learning the Arabic Language online in virtual classroom for the communicative purpose, they are as follows:
1. The effectiveness of program in assisting student has communicative skill in Arab Language.
2. Students’ view on the strengths and weakness of the interactive software ARABCom1.com in assisting student develop their communicative competence.
Objectives of Study.
The aims of this study are (1) to know the effectiveness of the VCLT approach helping students develop their communicative competence, particularly in written language. It is also (2) to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of the program in helping student develop their communicative competence.
Research Questions and Hypothesis
This study looks for answers to the following questions:
1. Is the use of VCLT approach in the teaching of Arabic language, effective in assisting students develop their communicate competence?
2. To what extent the students trust in the VCLT approach in assisting them develop their communicate competence?

To identify the students’ trust in this program, there are three questions have been answered by, they are:
a. What are the strengths of the VCLT approach, according to student view, which are able to assist them improve their communicative competence?
b. What are the weaknesses of the VCLT approach, according to student view, which are able to assist them improve their communicative competence?
c. How is the level of students’ trust in the effectiveness of the use of VCLT approach to improve their communicative competence?
Based on the research problems above, the null hypothesis of this study is there is no significant difference in scores of communicative competence in the Arabic language, especially in writing, between Pre-Test and Post-Test among the students who took the program of ARABCom1.com at the Department of Arabic Language, The Faculty of Education and Teachers Training, The State Islamic University of Sultan Syarif Kasim Riau, Indonesia. The alternative hypothesis is there is significant difference in scores of communicative competence in the Arabic language, especially in writing, between Pre-Test and Post-Test among them.
Importance of Study.
This study may introduce a new alternative for foreign languages teaching especially to develop communicative competence. This study shows that Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) and Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) can be combined to motivate students in learning foreign language for the purpose of communicating and develop their communicative competence. It may give a significant contribution to the use of ICT in foreign language teaching. It may be used to influence and change people’s negative view of the use of computer in foreign language teaching, especially for the purpose of communication. It may be used as additional reference in the field of Applied Linguistics especially Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL). Finally, it may be used as a model to develop any foreign language teaching program.

Area and Definition Study.

This study covers a VCLT-Based Program of Arabic Language Teaching to develop students’ communicative competence, especially in writing, through online communicative activities in a Virtual Class. The program is an Arabic course called Muhadatha (Arabic Conversation) given to the first semester students at the Department of Arabic Education at the Faculty of Education and Teacher Training of the State Islamic University of Sultan Syarif Kasim Riau. It comprises 14 lessons for 14 meeting. Each topic has aspect of recognizing situation of the topic, vocabulary, sentence structure, and reading, practices of interactive communication in writing and testing communicative competence. Practices are given to students in such a way, so they interact each other online in pairs or groups. This program is called ARABCom1.com and is loaded in a CD-ROM and put down in a Local Area Network (LAN) to enabling student learn it online .
This study focused on the aspects of communication and any cases which may assist and hindering the existence of online communication, especially in writing. This study does not analyze the usage of grammar as far as it does not bother communications. This study does not also analyze oral communications, although it is existed in the program. Types of communication analyzed in this study are asynchronous communications, in which sender and receiver are not present in the same time, or they conduct it in different time.

Definition of Term.

There are two terms which need to be clarified here, they are Communicative Approach and Virtual Class. Communicative Approach is one approach in language teaching which emphasizes more on communication or language function than structure or grammar (Furqanul Aziz & Chaedar Alwasilah, 1996:16 is). Theory of Communicative Approach, views language as communications, and learning a language is learning to obtain communicative competence (Richards & Rodgers, 1991:69).
Virtual Class is a type of abstract class that exists in a Website and is run online. It does not have any physical teaching and learning equipments as a traditional one has, such as chairs, tables, black and whiteboard, etc. However, it runs learning and teaching activities as it happens in the traditional classroom, but without any physical face to face interaction. Students in the Virtual Class share idea and interact with their teacher or friends through computer that enabling them to send and receive information (Dabbagh, 2005:21).

Research Assumption.

This study was based on the following assumptions: Combination of CLT and CALL may help student develop their communicative competence. Technology is addressed to assist human being in completing their daily tasks and duties. The use of ICT in the field of foreign language teaching, therefore, is expected to give good contribution in helping teachers and students in the accelerating of language learning. Online communicative activities make pleasant teaching and learning atmosphere. The learning (both process and result) can be better if it is fun. Students who participate in communicative activities using information gap, interact naturally, and this may help them develop their natural communicative competence. Student who has experience in the learning process using interactive program of ARABCom1.com has view to the program, either positive or negative.

Research Method

An experiment has been done on the VCL-based program of ARABCom1.com using Pretest-Posttest Design Forty new students of the Department of Arabic at the Faculty of Education and Teachers Training at the State Islamic University of Sultan Syarif Kasim Riau Pekanbaru were involved in the study as the subject. Object of this research are the effectiveness of VCLT approach in helping students develop their online communicative competence, as well as their responses to the strengths and weaknesses of the approach in helping students develop their online communicative competence. The Pre-Test and Post-Test questions were used to collect data for communicative competence. Diary and Questionnaire were used to collect data related to students’ responses on the approach. The data were analyzed using T-Test statistical method to see the significance of the difference between Pre-Test and Pos-Test scores. SPSS Sofware was used to analyze data. Percentage is used to know the extent of the development of communicative competence. The stuents response on the strengths and weaknesses of the program is also analyzed by percentage. A Likert Scale is also used to measure the students’ view on the effectiveness of the program in helping them develop their communicative competence.

Review of Related Literature and Studies

Communicative Language Taching Basic Concept for VCLT

According to Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) concept, any instructional activities using natural communications may assist learning process and establish communicative competence as the result of learning. There are two processes at once, they are learning a language to communicate, and communicate to learn language. Learning a language in Communicative Approach context is conducting communication in order to learn or to have language skills. It means that student use target language as a means of communication during the process of language learning itself.
Learning a language in the concept CLT covers both process of language acquisition and language learning. Language acquisition represents basic process of language skills development which is needed in developing communicative competence. Acquisition of language, as cited from Richards & Rodgers (1991:72) refers to the unconscious development of language system as result of the usage of language in communication. Language learning, on the other hand, refers to the conscious development to knowledge of grammar as result of instructions. Language acquisition experts, like Krashen, agree that language may develop better through the use of it communicatively than using drill (Richards & Rodgers, 1991:72).
Language teaching program needs a good design, so the teacher can use it to improve students’ communicative competence. By implementing a good design, it is expected that student can use language to communicate. The design should contain a complete aspect of target language. It should clearly defines learning objectives, contents to be taught, language skill to be developed, and type of instructional activities, as well as teaching media for developing language skills, and types of assessment conducted for identifying either students’ communicative competence become better or do not. Referring to Richards & Rodgers (1991:80), the design of instruction for Communicative Language Teaching ( PBK) covers some aspects, they are objective, syllabus, instructional activities, role of teacher, role of student, and role of lesson materials.
The objectives of language teaching in CLT concept is to develop communicative competence covering 4 language skills, namely: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The main objective of foreign language teaching is to assist student obtain communicative competence in any type of social situation as the result of using target language during the process of instruction (Furqanul Aziz & Chaedar Alwasilah, 1996:45).
Syllabus in CLT should be any topics which may use to establish grammatical competence, sociolinguistics competence, discourse competence and strategic competence. Discourse that organizes communications tasks (Furqanul Aziz & Chaedar Alwasilah, 1996:4) is likely the most suitable materials in CLT syllabus. It must have structural component, functional, and instrumental of language. These components should have specific target, focus, control to structure, and discourse of topic or of situational. Content is moderate structures, function, and practice of using language interactively.Teacher should wisely understand, that he will teach language (for communications) and, at the same time, he teaches communications (through language). The two must be given fully integrated and do not apart, because if teacher focuses on aspect of communicative skill, hence he will be dealing with linguistics aspect. On the contrary, if he focuses on linguistics aspect, hence he will fail to handle communicative interest.
Activities selected to be conducted in the classroom, should match the goal of helping students develop their communicative competence. These activities should attract student and involve them in communicative activities, like sharing information, negotiation of meaning, and interacting for completing Information Gap. Communicative activities should be of natural ones. Learning activities starts with pre-communicative activities and then move forward to the communicative ones. At the phase of pre-communicative activities, where students do not yet have desire to communicate, the aim of the lesson is to train students be familiar with and understand the use of structure to form meaningful sentence. Instructional activities usually focused more on specified language form and the drills are controlled by teacher. Alkusyairy (1998:133) explains that at the level of pre-communicative activities, students also practice the language using quasy-communicative activities covering drills and answering questions.
At the phase of communicative activities, student have their owned desire to communicate and the language they use during practice have a meaning and specific objective. Instructional pattern shall no longer control the language student use, but it has developed to contents in all sort of language form. Teacher shall no longer control the activities conducted by students, but they choose any communicative activities in which they will feel free to use target language to complete the task. Teachers give the general guidelines to student especially the task students should complete by using the target language. Lesson only as a basic guidance and must not be followed altogether. The objectives of activities are to give sufficient chances to students to use language they have learned in natural social interaction activities.
If students use the target language during the process of completing the tasks, it can be assumed that they have reached the learning objectives, even tough their answers do not match the questions. The process of using the target language is more important than result. For example, two students are given two different lists of their weekly activities. These students are asked to agree on a specific day and time when they are able to discuss their class work, while they have different activities during the week. To do this task, they must check their friend activities and match to theirs. They have to ask and answer some questions related to day, date, time, and activities they have and times in which they are free able to meet and discuss their task. Even tough both mentioned student may not choose or specify one specific period in which they can meet, hence this case does not represent a failure in learning activities. The main purpose of this task is not finding out agreement of itself, but is to give sufficient free-risk environment for the students to use target language in natural communicative activities, till at level of social interaction activities.
Learning activities in CLT, both non-communicative and communicative activities, consist of three phase learning experience, namely presentation, practice, and production stage. At the presentation phase, teacher gives model or clarification so that student may see clearly and comprehend language form to be mastered. Then, students try to conduct what they have observed in the form of drills. At the final phase, teacher makes a situation where student must use the language they have studied, and meet their choice, decision, and their self deed without any instruction given by teachers. Students conduct pre-communicative activities during the practice stage, and fully communicative activities during the production stage.
Combining CLT and CALL for Communicative Purposes
Establishing language learning program for communicative purposes through a virtual class is based on combining two popular concepts of Language teaching and learning, they are CLT and CALL. Using computer in Language teaching have a potential role to assist student obtain and improve their communicative competence, because computer may communicate with student and may be used as media to student to interact. Types of interaction means that students interact with program in a computer, with other student through computer online like the use of electronic mail (e-mail). The use of e-mail in teaching Language online represents correct choice in CALL for the purpose of communications, because student may interact with other student and use Language they are learning to communicate, even though they do not meet physically. Communicative activities shall not only go into effect between student with computer, student with other student, student with teacher, but also between student and native speakers.
From the above concept, and from the combination of CLT and CALL, a new concept of language teaching has been established the so called Virtual Communicative Language Teaching (VCLT). VCLT is a process of learning language communicatively that goes on in an abstract classroom found in Website, the so called virtual class. Virtual Class is different from traditional class. It has no physical form of class, like room, desk, chair, blackboard, as in traditional class. Virtual Class is a type of class that exists only abstractedly in a Website and is run online. It does not have any physical teaching and learning equipments as a traditional one has, such as chairs, tables, black and whiteboard, etc. However, it runs learning and teaching activities as it happens in the traditional classroom, but without any physical face to face interaction. Students in the Virtual Class share idea and interact with their teacher or friends through computer that enabling them to send and receive information (Dabbagh, 2005:21). Students may communicate in the form of electronic mail, bulletin board, computer conference, chatting, electronic forum etcetera. Virtual Communicative Language Teaching therefore, is an approach of language teaching which assumes language as a mean of online comunication uses in the virtual ontext.
Virtual Class is only found abstractedly in computer program. Computer presents communication in the form of picture or other which may make visitor feel that they are in a real classroom. Student may "enter" into Virtual Class through computer attributed to the Internet and navigate available communication in it by clicking links and button provided. In a virtual class, student can find out list of courses, topic and contents of lesson, type of learning activities, as well as evaluation. Besides, student also may find list of name of students who are taking the same courses.
The way of learning language in a VCLT is a self access learning. Students read and comprehend lessons which are available in Web site. If student find difficulties, he may enquire to teacher, or talk about with other friend through electronic mail. Learning activities starts with practice of understanding structure and then develop closer to communications, and then jump up to practice of functional and social interaction activities. Ways of communicating may be conducted synchronously or asynchronously between individuals, pairs and groups.
Basic Principles of Virtual Communicative Language Teaching
Some important principles of the design of VCLT based on the combination of CLT and CALL are:First; Contents of lesson is system of expressing meaning using structure that can assist the process of online communication. The main function of language learning is for the development of communicative competence online. Second; the perfect communications should has compatibility between answer and question. Answer may differ from standard form of a reasonable answer structures, however the meaning which consist in it ought to response to the message. Third; Teacher uses several ways to help student communicate online. If the ways he/she choose do not help them much, he/she should move to a new one. Fourth; Language the students use is the result of a try (trial & error). Any mistake done by students may be accepted as long as it communicates a meaningful idea, It is considered to be a natural process of language learning. Fifth; Communication must be conducted by using all aspect of language A practical implication of this finding to the development of language teaching in Indonesia in the era of ICT, is that the communicative activities which are usually learned in conventional class may also be learned online through the Internet in a Virtual classroom. It is hoped that this study findings gives contribution to the Applied Linguistics especially in applying Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) for language teaching methodology using VCLT concept. Result of this study can be used as reference for establishing and developing software for any other modern languages using ICT to develop communicative competence. The most important finding is that this study propose VCLT as a new alternative for future Teaching English as a foreign Language (TEFL).
. The implementation of these concepts are every lesson should have all aspects of language, such as sound and spelling, vocabulary and word formation, language structure or grammar, sentence formation, and the meaning or semantic. Starting from the early stage (first lesson), student are involved and invited to use target language to communicate online using all language elements fully integrated. Sixth; Communications have purposes, such as negotiation, argumentative, reasoning, etcetera. Ability to use language for different purposes does not mean that students are trained to enquire and reply or answer questions online, but also appeal, refusing, agree, negotiation etc. Seventh; Learning a language is learning to have language to communicate through online communicative activities. It forms two processes in one period of time, they are learning a language to communicate online and communicate online to learn language. Eighth; Communicative interaction leads to cooperation and the learning activities should involve students in collaborative activities. In instructional activities, students are asked to conduct cooperation or collaborative. Ninth; Teacher is facilitator during instructional activities. As a facilitator, teacher design, determine and direct instructional activities to enable student use target language in communication online, He/she has to be ready to become a friend to students to converse for the practice of language use. Teacher has to actively watch and observe active students and frequently give motivation to less active ones. Tenth; sharing information is always strived because the process of consultation in sharing idea will lead students to communications. Student are always asked to do all sort of interaction by using (i) word, and (special convention ii) to depict emotion through impression of non-verbal, like hehehe... for the expression of laugh, sign or hmm :-) to smile :-( to sorrowful, etcetera.

Based on some above principles, we can conclude that in producing a program of learning language for communications through virtual class, the instructional designer must be sure that both side of students who communicate know and understand the language system they use. Both sides should understand the meaning of any code or emoticon they use so that communications may run well. Student should know that meaning exist not only in the words they use but also in their behavior, context and also emoticon.

VCLT as a New Alternative Approach in Foreign Language Teaching

Some important concepts of VCLT which need to be discussed including approach consist of theory of language and theory of learning and teaching it. Method covers objective, syllabus, learning activities and also role of teacher, lesson materials and student. The last is technique explaining instructional procedure. The concept of VCLT is addressed to learn language for the purpose of communication conducted in virtual class. This concept is called Virtual Communicative Language Teaching (VCLT). Concepts of VCLT are expressed in a few aspects covering approach, method, procedure or technique, as following:
VCLT’s approach to the nature of language, language learning, and teaching are language as a mean of global communication between human being in virtual world. In the era of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) language represents the main medium of interaction among people all over the world. To be able to live in the global world, someone must have communicative competence in virtual world through Internet in order to get sufficient information, science, and knowledge equitably. To do this, someone should be able to understand and use the type of language used for communication through network or Internet, either synchronous communications like chatting, conference of computer, CU-SEEME, etcetera, or asynchronous communication like electronic mail, bulletin board, compute conference, etcetera.
The Principle of language learning in VCLT is classroom activities that entangling real online communications will assist students in the process of learning language and finally will determine their level of their online communicative competence. There are two processes happening in one period. They are learning language to communicate and at the same time communicate to learn Language (Richards & Rodgers, 1991:72). The application of this concept in VCLT is that student learns foreign language to communicate online and at the same time communicate online to learn language.
The objective of VCLT is to develop communicative competence online covering four language skills namely: listening, speaking, reading, and writing which are conducted through virtual class. The contents of syllabus in VCLT are designed in such a way so they promote communicative competence online, including grammar competence, sociolinguistic competence, discourse competence and strategic competence. Lesson consists of discourse aspects, especially discourse of VCLT around specification of communicative tasks. This lesson contain structural component, functional, and integrated instruments of language that have special objective, focus, control to structure, and discourse of topical or situational. Lesson is in the form of moderate language structure, function, and interactive practice of the language.
In the VCLT context, teacher teaches language at the same time teaches communicative competence. Syllabus must be in the form of linguistics aspect combined with communicative competence online. The appropriate model of the design for VCLT syllabus is the syllabus which is based on grammar followed by combination of notion, function, and communicative activities online. By implementing this kind of combination of structural, instrumental and functional aspects of language in communicating, it is expected that student will learn language in an effective and efficient way.
Types of instructional activities are those activities that can assist student improve their ability to communicate online. To reach the existing communicative target in curriculum, teacher must entangle student in an on-line communicative activities, like sharing information, negotiation, and interaction. The process of communications which need to be socialized and promoted is those types of communication used or implemented in online global communications. Instructional activities are conducted by giving early practices of sentence structure and word formation as pre-communicative activities. Afterwards activities are moved to communicative activities using real communications contexts. This communicative activities consists of two stages, the first is the practice of online functional communications activities and finally or the highest level is online social interaction communications activities.
The types of learning activities are those activities related to forming and improving online communicative competence either synchronous like chatting and conference, or asynchronous communication like mail-electronic and bulletin board. Functional communicative activities and social interaction activities may be conducted in pair through electronic mail or in small group like chatting, and big group like conference. In a computer conference, instructor act as an e-moderator leading meeting or conference online and electronically (Salmon 2000:3). In conducting learning activities student complete task in the form of Information Gap.
The roles of teacher in VCLT are as virtual facilitator, and virtual organizer. Teacher has right to assist student to participate in instructional process either directly through online learning or indirectly through program which may be opened by the student without any attendance of teacher physically. The role played by teacher is as (i) online source of information, as (ii) partnership using negotiation strategy between student and teacher. He also plays role as (iii) an analyst of students’ need who is responsible for determining and response to students’ need of language. Teacher also plays role as independent participant (iv), guide (v), researcher (vi), student (vii), contributor (viii), and as a leader in a group process.
In VCLT student plays role as negotiator. They negotiate with other student online and with teacher, and with the lesson itself. As a consultant, student should prepare themselves with idea. The instructional process in VCLT is the combination of CLT and CALL in a virtual context. It comprises of three stages of online learning in virtual class. They are online presentation stage, online practice stage, and online language production. These stages are proceeded by Motivating Strategies, and ends up with Review or Conclusion and Giving Assessment for Evaluation. The complete procedure in VCLT are, (i) Giving Motivation, (ii) Presenting lessons online, (iii) Practice of using language online, ( iv) Using language in a real online communication or Produce language virtually, (v) Giving conclusion, and (vi) terminated with Assessment to see level of communicative competence that have obtained by student after following lesson.
Review of Related Studies
The effect of the use of ICT in language learning, like use of video of conference in a long distance learning have been done by Wang ( 2004). He discovered that the use of video conference supported students to use interaction. Wang gives recommendation for the use of video conference in distance-language learning.
Azimah Sazalie and of Marshita Aini Haroon (2001:36) have made study about the types of communication run by using computer. Study was done to 20 participants who conducted conference in synchronous communication through Internet Relay Chat (IRC). Result of study showed, that when communicating through computer, participant has verbal and non-verbal interaction. Participant used special convention besides words to express emotion (element or emoticon) of paralinguistic which may not expressed by using words.
With reference to the use of learning technique and strategy in virtual class, Mohamad Amen Embi (2000:849) mentioning recent investigation about Language learning strategy, - like investigation by Green and of Oxford, 1995, Mohamad Amen Embi, 1996, Drozidial-Szelest, 1997, and Cohan, 1998-, showing that the successful student are those who apply several learning techniques or strategies in learning Language, either in or outside classroom. Learning a language in a virtual class gives opportunity to student to use different technique learn.
Generally speaking, the finding above giving information that computer program may be used to teach written conversation same as traditional way without computer. To express intention, someone may express it either in writing down sentence and word, or by using element of paralinguistic like emoticon. Based on these study findings, enthusiastically writer established a program of learning Arabic language for the purposes of developing students’ ability in online communicative competence in Virtual Class and makes one experiment to it. Researcher convinces of, if lesson are put in a Web site, hence it may enrich strategy of learning the language so that student have opportunity to apply all sort of learning technique or strategy outside classroom. Besides, the instruction will reach wider distance and will be more interesting to student, because any student may learn and communicate each other online. Supyan Husin ( 2000:366) supported educator to create program of CALL for Arabic language to be placed in Web site and also upgrade the existing program. It could draw students’ enthusiasm to learn Arabic in the global world.

Data Analisis and Findings

The Effectiveness of VCLT approach in Improving Communicative Competence.
The study discovered that VCLT approach is significantly effective in helping students develop their communicative competence. The proof for this finding is shown by SPSS output for Paired Sample Test of Sig-T (.00) smaller than alpha (.05). This finding concludes that the Null Hypotesis is rejected, meaning there is a significant different between Post-Test and Pre-Test mean score. The Mean Score for the improvement of communicate competence for the group increased by 26.22 % or 17.1 point (from 65.2 of Pre-Test scores to 82.3 of Post-Test). Personally, the highest improvement is 88% (from 45 for Pre-test to 85 for Post-Test). This data gives information that VCLT approach effective in helping students to improve their communicative competence.
Student Trust to VCLT approach In Developing Their Communicative Competence.
The study discovered that students believe VCLT approach have effectively assisted them in developing their communicative competence in written language. The mean score for their view is 7.4 which is at the highest level in the scale of 1.00 to- 9.00 (1.00 is the lowest and 9.00 is the highest). This study also discovered that, according to students’ view, the strengths of the program in assisting them develop communicative competence are the presence of communicative interactive activities during the lesson, especially interaction with native speakers through chatting and e-mail. Detail of this findings are as following:
The Strengths of VCLT Approach in Assisting Student Develop their Communicative Competence
According to student view, the strengths of the VCLT approach cover many aspects. Contents of the lesson assisted students to improve communicative competence. Story containing contextual sentence examples and pictures match with their culture. It made the instructional process more interesting, because it related directly and indirectly to students’ context, and not as a foreign case. Explanation of structure without circumstantial discussion on grammar, made lesson easy for student to understand and use it. Explanation of Grammar with sentence examples matched with situation of students’ socio-cultural aspect.

New vocabularies presented in sentence examples were contextual, so that student is quickly able to understand it. The explanation using easy language help student understand it easily, like using non formal words (dong, sih, and etcetera) making student feel happy to follow the lesson, because student feel teacher converse directly with them so that student do not feel stiffly. The way of introducing lesson contextually followed by informing learning objectives, may attracted students’ attention to learn.
Information-Gap, Language-Games and Mind Mapping, assisted student in improving communicative competence because they must communicate to do the task. Bulletin Board containing all sort of communication, and usage of Internet for the conference materials, facilitate student to using it in language production and practice. By completing Information Gap, in the form of Mind Mapping, Language Games, and or e-mail or chatting, students worked at the same time and communicated each other so that they experienced the process of acquiring target language during instructional process.
The presence of native speaker in the program, through e-mail or chatting motivated students to communicate directly with them so that they are not stiff again when communicating with native speakers later. The use of a kind of entertainment as interval, like Arab songs, although in the form of Colloquial language to be used in formal communications, confessed by student as excess of program, because playing a role may motivate student to participate in the learning process so it could debase their affective filter.
More than 90% student confess instruction activities by using this procedure as easy to follow because it was started by opening lesson interestingly and despitefully practice communicate to be conducted after they had been trained well. Meanwhile, 80% responder confess that activities in teaching grammar in such way and do not have to be memorized confessed by student as having assisted them improve their communicative competence.
More than 85 responders confessed that practice of spontaneous communication during learning aactivities, either in pair or in group using e-mail, chatting, board, and conference assisted student in improving their communicative competence. This Activities-activities are confessed by student have also assisted them in learning so that assist them also in improving communicative competence.
Conduction virtual learning activities improve students’ communicative competence to write online, student because they were forced to communicate only online. Each time student wish express their idea, they must communicate online. As many as 65 % of students reported that, online communicative activities become better when they were instructed to have fantasy to tell a mini story. 66.7% students identified that the use of Min Mapping assisted them to understand more and build up their communicative competence.

The Weaknesses of VCLT Approach in Assisting Student Develop their Communicative Competence

According to student there are some weaknesses of the VCLT-based program they have used. 47% of students found difficulties in filling two online form containing Information Gap. It sometimes took a long time to complete one form. As many as 20% responder reported that communicate directly with native speakers online did not help them much in improving communicative competence, because native speakers use complex language while they have only limited vocabulary mastery and language use. In many cases, they were not able to response to what native speaker said and wrote, so they gave up.
Inserting wrong ID or Username and Password at the beginning of the lesson made students not able to access the program. This technical problem is a kind of the weakness of CLT. It also the cases when the students did mistake in writing, sending, and downloading e-mail addresses. Pressing the wrong button on the computer keyboard is another weakness of VCLT. E-Mail which has been ready to send may lost if students press a wrong button. Technical aspect of VCLT which did not assist student in improving communicative competence was the difficulty to transfer from one page to other page during practice of communication especially when completing an Information Gap task.
Students’ responses to the effectiveness of the use of VCLT approach to improve their communicative competence?
Before using VCLT-based learning program, although not majority, some students (48%) wanted to know everything related to communicating directly with native speaker. They also like to know how they may communicate directly with native speaker during learning. More than half (52%) students like virtual class very much because it is a way for them, in which they learn not in ordinary class room but in a computer laboratory or Internet. With existence of this program, responders feel happy because they get opportunity to learn foreign language. During the learning process, 76% of student did enjoy the learning and they have several different learning experience. These feelings supported them to build and improve their communicative competence. Some of them (23 %) did not enjoy the learning process at the very beginning stage, because they (19%) have a computer phobia based on their educational and economical background. These students never use computer before, and they (4%) did not like using computer. After completing the lesson, students feel satisfaction. Majority of responder feel happy because they have obtained something new in language learning a language competence. 87% of the responder feel happy and surprise that they are able to communicate directly with native speaker. This is a case which may not be done in any language lesson students followed before. This made them feel satisfied because they have reached the level of ability they intended to have.
Majority of student (86%) discovered that they have ability in using target language in natural atmosphere because learning situation in virtual class helped them to communicate naturally in real situation and real people. Communications in written language and without see and meet each other physically have assisted student use language online. Students obtained communicative competence through repeated task of answering question and giving answers to tasks given in the program, their friends, teacher, and native speaker. They have obtained vocabulary which many and her as according to topics which have been studied. Besides obtaining ability of using language naturally, student also obtain communicative competence from using e-mail frequently or chatting to communicate by writing. They discover that communicate is not with native speaker, it is in Arabic Language is not difficult like which they conceive during the time.
From data analysis It is discovered that students who participated in this program have experienced of improvement and growth in aspect of communicative competence. The kinds of Communicative Competence the obtained including grammatical competence, sociolinguistics, strategy and discourse competence. For The Grammatical Competence) students have been able to use grammar in interaction (40%). For the aspect of Sociolinguistics Competence, 72.5% student reported that they have tried to communicate naturally with different situation and with different people, including original speaker. The aspect of Discourse Competence, 65% of students reported that they have been able to comprehend discourse generally to various topics which were discussed. They have tried to comprehend any discourse fully integrated, and combined the meaning of all sentences in communications. In the context of Strategic Competence they have also been able to start or open the conversation, maintain it and closing it well. They can negotiate, using various question type ( 65%) like starting interaction, taking care of the continuity of communications and terminate communications. By using VCLT-based program of ARABCom1.com student develop communicative competence. Thereby program impress in assisting student improve communicative competence.
Implication And Suggestion
A practical implication of this finding to the development of foreign language teaching in Indonesia in the era of ICT, is that the communicative activities which are usually learned in conventional class may also be learned online through the Internet in a Virtual classroom. It is hoped that this study findings gives contribution to the Applied Linguistics especially in applying Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) for language teaching methodology using VCLT concept. Result of this study can be used as reference for establishing and developing software for any other modern languages using ICT to develop communicative competence. The most important finding is that this study propose VCLT as a new alternative for future Teaching English as a foreign Language (TEFL).

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1 Response to “VIRTUAL COMMUNICATIVE LANGUAGE TEACHING (VCLT): A NEW ALTERNATIVE FOR FUTURE TEFL”:

  1. Wow, VCLT:a new alternative for future TEFL, I agree with you Sir. It's so interesting and suitable with our condition in the future. But today, can we imply this method?
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