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Producing Creative Students Through Studying Indonesian

Producing Creative Students Through Studying Indonesian
(Left) The first of three pages of a short story by a student whose idea came from photographs. (Right) Students take it in turns in their groups to share the fables they had written.

TANGERANG, BANTEN – Ahmad Hanapiyah, a teacher at MTsN 2 Tangerang, when he teaches Indonesian language, helps his students not only to speak the language well, but aims to make them creative too. Here are some of the learning activities in grades 7, 8 and 9 that he has facilitated.

Using Photos to Inspire Students to Write Short Stories

Writing a short story based on a photograph helped grade IX students finding ideas. The objective of this activity was for students to be able to write a short story based on real events they had experienced. These events and the students' experiences were found in the photos they brought to class.

Before the lesson the students were asked to bring a picture of themselves with family or friends at an event or doing an activity. To find inspiration for their writing, the students were asked to observe the people in the photos and to recall the events and maybe even the conflicts that happened. The results of these student observations and experiences were entered on a worksheet that used the keywords 'what, why, how, who, where and when'. After that, the students created the outline of the story idea that they were going to write.

Then, the students paired up with the classmates sitting next to them. They used a brainstorming approach with the purpose of eliciting ideas for  writing their short stories. Based on this brainstorming, the students developed their story outlines into short stories. After writing the stories, the students swapped stories with friends.

In groups, the students put the short stories into collections. They took different roles: some worked on the illustration, others wrote the forewords, others arranged the short stories alphabetically, and others took care of the bookbinding. As a result, there were four sets of short stories in one class. The students were delighted with this learning activity and didn't experience any difficulty in writing.

Telling Fables with Concept Maps and Storytelling Pairs

Fable writing was one of the learning materials for the grade 7.6 that Hanafi facilitated in the second semester. Fables can be studied in text or spoken form. The ability to read the text of a fable involves understanding the function, structure, and language characteristics of the fable. These abilities are the basis for the oral expression involved in telling the story. The teacher used the technique of making concept maps and story outlines in pairs.

During the previous lesson, the students were tasked to look for fables in story books, magazines, or on the internet. They could transcribe the text, bring a book or magazine, or print out a fable from the internet. The teacher checked that the stories brought were actually fables.

At the beginning of lesson, the students shared opinions on the benefits of telling fables and their experience of storytelling. The students then listened to some fables related by the teacher. Then they were asked about any skills they needed to master to tell a story in the way modeled by the teacher. The students then summarized these things: the story structure or outline of a story, volume, intonation, expression, and interaction.

For the next activity, working individually, the students read each others' fables. Then, they wrote an outline of the story or its structure using a concept map. The structure of the concept map consisted of orientation (introduction of characters, settings), complications (problems), resolution, and the coda (change the fate of the characters and the story's message).

The purpose of making these concept maps was for the students to understand the outline of their story to make it easier for them to retell its content. To stimulate their interest, the teacher asked the students to create concept maps in accordance with their wishes. There were some in the form of squares, triangles, cloud shapes, even the head of the animal characters like deer, elephants, and turtles. In determining this structure, the students did not find any problem because they had used this sort of analysis for developing the structure of their story material during a previous lesson. Next, the students paired up with the classmate sitting next to them and took turns to practice storytelling. They exchanged their concept maps and told each other if there was anything missing from the story outline. The students told the outline of a story using their own words and not necessarily the same as the written sentences so as not to be fixated on the text or on memorizing it.

When they were engaged in the storytelling, some students were hesitant, other laughed, and others reminded each other of things they had forgotten, all in a friendly and enthusiastic atmosphere. The students were asked to comment on volume and clarity, the smoothness of the storytelling, intonation, and eye contact.

Then, in groups, the students were asked to tell their stories in turns to their classmates. As a guide to evaluating the other students' storytelling, they were given an observation sheet which covered the structure of the fable, volume, intonation, expression, and interaction.

Students took turns to read out fables, like The Pompous Rabbit, The Arrogant Monkey, The Fox and The Goat, The Deer And The Elephant, and others. When they were finished, they were asked to decide which were the best. The three best students were nominated for a storytelling competition in the local library. (Anl)


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