Rumah Kartini: Supporting children’s education during the pandemic

Written by Ladhena BernadetaPhoto by the Author


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, almost all schools have shifted to online learning. Unfortunately, Many children in my neighborhood still have difficulty in learning at home because they have no mobile phones or computers to keep up with the online lessons. Despite the learning-at-home programs on the state-owned television network to make learning more fun and reach more students, most of those children lack access to television. Also, they don’t have many books at home, making it difficult for them to learn.

Another problem is the lack of motivation to learn. With the absence of teachers and regular learning hours, those children tend to spend their time playing with their friends. Even those who have mobile phones prefer playing games to learning. When their schools are closed, it is difficult for those children to learn independently.

For the abovementioned reasons, I started a community library called Rumah Kartini since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Located in Cirebon, Rumah Kartini aims at providing opportunities to read and learn for children, especially those with no online access for studying. The library does not only provide books but also English classes for children. On the first day I started teaching some children, they were so excited when they learned names of fruits and asked if they could go back to learn English the next day.Photo by the Author


I hope that English can help those children access more information and thus improving the quality of education in my hometown. To begin with, support from educational institutions and people who care about the future generation is required to foster this community library. Until today, Rumah Kartini has only about 40 books for children and a few others for the junior high school level. Thus, any kind of support will surely contribute to the growth of Rumah Kartini as well as the children in its surroundings.


Support Us by Donating

We are accepting donations in the forms of books, educational toys, and financial support. Donations can be sent to the address below. Financial donation can be sent via Gopay, OVO, Dana, and wire transfer.


Rumah Kartini

Jalan Nyimas Endang Geulis, Kreyo, 010/020, Klangenan, Kota Cirebon, Jawa Barat

Contact Person +62 88216462377

Instagram @rumah.kartini


Editing by Willy Prasetya



Authentic Texts and Where to Find Them

By Willy Prasetya, S.Pd., M.A.

Authentic materials are essential in communicative English language teaching because they allow students to learn the use of language in real communication as well as the sociocultural contexts in which such communication occurs. We can find authentic texts everywhere: movies, songs, newspapers, books, signs, food label, and various resources on the Internet.

However, many English teachers in Indonesia, both pre-service and in-service teachers, still have difficulties in finding and selecting authentic texts that fit their students and teaching contexts. There are at least two reasons for this problem. First, finding suitable authentic texts requires a lot of time and effort. It is not a one-stop process; most of the times a desired text is found after spending hours reading books and articles or watching videos. For that reason, many teachers prefer using English textbooks or workbooks to save them some hassle. Second, most “easily-found” authentic texts, such as news, online encyclopedia entries, and TV shows, are beyond the average proficiency of Indonesian students. Such texts are written or spoken with a wide range of vocabulary and usually longer than texts designed particularly for language teaching. If an authentic text is used for teaching as it is, a teacher will spend much time explaining the meaning of the text instead of getting down directly to the teaching.

One thing to rule them all

Here, I will focus on navigating the Internet for authentic texts because it is relatively easier and faster than finding some from books, magazines, or news broadcast. Many resources are available on the Internet, and there is one thing to rule them all: KEYWORDS.

Irrelevant keywords are the most common problem in searching suitable authentic texts. For example, keywords such as ‘descriptive text’ or ‘descriptive text example’ only result in descriptive texts taken from English textbooks, outdated English examination sheets, or texts written by other teachers for their teaching purpose. By using keywords that represent what descriptive texts tell about, such as ‘what is your favorite thing and why’ or ‘your favorite holiday destination’, you can find authentic descriptive texts with various lengths and complexity from interactive websites such as Reddit, Quora, Tripadvisor, etc. With countless authentic texts at hand, all you need to do is just quick scanning for the texts that will serve your purpose.

An example of an authentic text from Quora (’s-your-favorite-thing-you-own-and-why)

You should use keywords that tell what the texts are about instead of the name of the text type. You should also be able to come up with many different but related keywords. Some example of good keywords are  ‘who is your favorite anime character’ for descriptive texts, ‘what is the saddest moment in your life’ for recount texts, ‘wattpad teen fiction stories’ for narratives, and ‘letter to my parents/teachers’ for personal letters. You can modify the keywords or try to use some others to get different search results.

How about dialogues or speeches?

For authentic spoken texts, YouTube is probably the most convenient source. Once you have found the video that fits your classroom, you can download the transcript if one is available. Just click the three dots under the video, click ‘Open transcript’, and the transcript will pop up on the right side of the window. You can copy the transcript and make some adjustment whenever necessary before using it as your teaching materials.

How to open YouTube video subtitle 

How about finding authentic examples for particular expressions?

Another way of finding authentic examples of language use is using corpora. A corpus is a collection of language use in real world. It works best for finding the authentic examples of expressions, such as asking and giving opinion, greetings, offering help, and expressing agreement and disagreement, because its database is accessible using chunks of language as the keywords.

I will use COCA (Corpus of Contemporary American English, to demonstrate how it works. Once you get to the home page of the corpus, you are required to enter a chunk of language. Let’s try ‘in my opinion’ to find authentic examples for the expression of giving opinion.

COCA (Corpus of Contemporary American English) home page

After clicking ‘Find matching strings’, the corpus will show the frequency or the number of available examples on its database. Just click ‘CONTEXT’ to access these examples.

Number of examples available for ‘in my opinion’ on COCA

There you go! Just click the link provided on each example to access the full text.

The search results for ‘in my opinion’

Besides COCA, you can also try other corpora, including British National Corpus (BNC,, Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken English (MICASE,;page=simple), and VOA’s Special English Program Scripts ( You can also search other available English corpora using Google. Corpora collect language use from various sources, including online news, official websites, personal websites, and Internet forums, so chances are the examples that you find is authentic. Still, it is always recommended to be meticulous in choosing the right authentic texts for your students.

With the Internet, you can always choose any authentic texts that are suitable to your students. However, in case you need to use a text with the difficulty level above your students’ proficiency, you should make some adjustment to the text. The next article is going to talk about adapting authentic texts for teaching.

Shifting Offline Learning to Online Learning: Are we ready?

By Rizki Farani, S.Pd., M.Pd. and Ista Maharsi, S.S., M.Hum.

Coronavirus disease (Covid 19) pandemic forces educational institutions to shift their learning process from offline learning to online learning. It opens a new paradigm in teachers’ teaching practices since all materials should be delivered through online platforms. There are many reactions to respond this new phenomenon. For some schools that are ready for unpredictable changes will adapt easily with new format of instructional design and online technology utilization but for others, sudden changes may lead to stress and burnout. In some cases,  it is reported that some institutions do not have sufficient time to prepare online technology so teachers and students are experiencing up and down in exploring new media (Wardana & Hasul, 2020). In addition, online learning also causes students to experience lack of motivation to study independently and attention deficit disorders (Wardana & Hasul, 2020). So, how should we perceive online learning in this downfall situation?

First, it is important to build an awareness that online learning is not a process of just putting all materials in one online platform and expect students to learn in usual way. Delivering materials by using online platform needs to consider some aspects, such as the length of material, the format of material and the allocation time for students to understand it and do the exercises. Teachers need to break down materials into several sub-topics to avoid learning loads. Give students more time to read small pieces of text and provide assistance by giving more examples for them. Uploading various kinds of material and media also helps students to avoid boredom. Students need to access some resources to make sure they conduct incidental learning. It is always important to consider that in such a rushing shift from offline learning to online learning, all teachers and students are adapting and calibrating teaching and learning at the same time. Therefore, in its implementation, lacks and mistakes are expected to occur because the trials are still on the way.

Second, teachers are not the only resources who should provide all materials. For teachers out there who shout for a help, there are many websites and applications that provide thousands of worksheets, quizzes, video, flash cards or online games to support online activity. Teachers can select some online resources based on students’ need and simply combine some media and materials to create interactive activity.

Third, change the mindset starting from now and maintain the positive thinking. There is no best time to change the mindset except the time when something is happening and needs immediate responses. Successful teachers are those who keep changing in time, not those who resist and against changes. Teachers have to adapt with the phase of change in many forms: the students, the schools, the younger teachers, the media, the technology, the atmosphere, the interaction, the communication, and so many more to mention. Along with those changes, teachers have to keep their mind positive because an optimist never think negatively. All things that happen always have the bright sights. The problem is that people have limited abilities to think beyond because they tend to become less patient and reactive without giving enough time to think about why something happens and why it needs changing. Blumenstyk as retold by Lederman (2020) predicts that this corona virus pandemic could become the “black swan moment” (time of paradigm change). It may be the time to shift the resistance towards acceptance of and embrace the new education era. Many emergent issues are, therefore, expected to come and it is now and still counting.

Fourth, do not forget to have fun! Provide opportunity for students to tell a story about their hobbies and interest. It will give a space for teachers to know them better (Smith, 2019). Teachers do not have to use all online meetings to make sure that students achieve learning goals. Building students’ engagement in a fun situation helps teachers and students to reduce stress and anxiety. Explore some fun jokes, memes and gif animation pictures to maintain emotional interaction. In Sum, online learning should offer fun learning to maintain teacher-student connection. Remember to embrace students with caring and loving environment.

Fifth, keep in mind that technology is not for everyone, and so is the online learning. Most of students may be the fans of technology as they are the digital natives, but not all students get so much engaged in using technology in learning and in lives. Few may simply need technology to communicate necessary things rather than to interact, exist, and conceptualize themselves in the digital world. In professional development, teachers are required to quickly adapt, learn, and acquire the skills to teach using technology. Although to some extent teachers’ intention on integrating technology into classrooms may not be the choice they made, in some circumstances, teachers simply have to do it. Teachers should embrace the changes and survive!

Good luck teachers!



Lederman, D. (2020). Most teaching is going remote. Will that help or hurt online learning? Retrieved April 18, 2020, from

Smith, Q. (2019, November 18th). How to Make Your Online Classroom Interesting for Students. Retrieved from

Wardana, W., & Hasul, L. E. (2020, April 7th). COVID-19: How will it affect human capital? Retrieved from

Revisiting the Notion of Active Learning

By Astri Hapsari, S.S., M.TESOL

During COVID 19 pandemic, learning is moved from face to face interactions in the classrooms to distance online learning in various online learning platforms. Whether it is in classroom interactions to blended learning or full online learning, active learning still becomes the ideal approach of teaching or giving instructions.

Active learning is often defined as any approach to giving instruction or teaching in which all students actively engaged in the learning process.  Active learning may take many forms. In active learning, students are expected to fully participate in their learning process, in contrast to more traditional instruction in which students passively accept knowledge from the lecturers.

If we google active learning, we usually find activities that involve students to practice their thinking skills, such as: explain concepts in their own words through discussions, argue with complex questions, solve problems, and reflect from their experiences. As learners, we are familiar with the manifestation of the notion of active learning in our learning process, but do we really understand the cognitive process needed for an active learning turns to be the real memorable learning experience and in-depth knowledge in our mind?

Memory and Learning

In order to understand the cognitive process in active learning, we should understand the way memories are stored . Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968) proposed a multi store model of memory. When a  new information or knowledge is received in our sensory memory from the environment, it comes as short term memory which lasts only 5 to 30 seconds. Short term memory is the gateway into long term memory, but it does not store memory and is very limited in capacity. For active learning to happen, there must be intention and activities that involve thinking to learn which can cause active processing of new information and knowledge between short term and long term memory. Linking new knowledge and information to prior knowledge can help working memory to store them to long term memory. Hands on exercises or activities need to include some form of meaningful cognitive processing in order to be stored in long term memory. Active learning happens if the students engage in meaningful activities in order to proceed new knowledge, concept, and skills to long term memory.

In addition to understanding how new information and knowledge proceed in short term and long term memory, students need to understand how attention works in order to perform an active learning. Selective attention happens when we consciously focus on something but it does not ensure long term memory formation. The reason why the students can pay attention and listen carefully but not much be learned is because what comes into short term memory is not processed with long term memory. For an active learning to happen, a learner should link and proceed through a dialogue between working memory and long term memory after attending new knowledge or information from sensory memory or short term memory. This effort is called elaborative encoding. Connecting new information and knowledge to prior knowledge can help learners stick in long term memory.

Implications for Teaching

By understanding the multi store model of memory, we can have deeper knowledge on how active learning should involve active cognitive processing. Some implications for teaching :

  1. Inside Out Teaching

When a teacher designs a lesson by thinking first what’s in the learner’s head and emotion.

By relating the lesson to what the students already know, it is easier for them to store the new knowledge and information to their long term memory.

  1. Activating prior knowledge

To make students familiar with the context of the new knowledge or information also helps them in retrieving concepts and skills from long term memory to prepare for a new lesson. It also helps the teacher to see the gaps in understanding before teaching. Free recall is often better than cued recall for durable learning because the efforts in free recall helps students in consolidating memories and providing learner-generated retrieval cues.

  1. Making memory is effortful and requires thinking

As John Dewey puts it eloquently it is not experiences we learn from but reflection upon our experiences. As teachers, we should put our best effort to help students retain new knowledge, conceptx, and skills to their long term memory by creating a meaningful and supportive learning environment that helps their cognitive processing.

After revisiting the notion of active learning through a cognitive science lens, it is worth reflecting on our own teaching practice, have we provided enough opportunity for our students to store and retrieve new knowledge, values, and skills in our design.


Atkinson, R.C. & Shiffrin, R.M. (1968). Chapter: Human memory : A proposed system and its control processes. In Spence, K.W., & Spence, J. T. The psychology of learning and motivation (Volume 2). New York: Academic Press, pp 89-195.

Chamary, J.V. (2015). How Inside Out Explains The Science of Memory. In Forbes.

Columbia University and Teachers College via EdX. (2019). The Science of Learning – What Every Teacher Should Know.

Mcleod, S. (2017). Multi Store Model of Memory. In Simply Psychology.

Reflecting Upon the Famous Hypotheses of Second Language Acquisition through the Lens of Ki Hajar Dewantara’s Educational Praxes

By Irma Windy Astuti

May 2nd every year is acknowledged by Indonesians as the National Education Day. This annual commemoration is always associated with its main figure, Ki Hajar Dewantara. One of Indonesia’s national heroes and its first education minister, Ki Hajar Dewantara with his educational philosophy and teachings has fundamentally shaped Indonesian education and we have continued to see their relevance even today, in this 21st century. Besides his famous leadership trilogy in education: Ing Ngarso Sung Tulodo, Ing Madyo Mangun Karso and Tut Wuri Handayani, Ki Hajar Dewantara is also well-known for his Tri Nga (Ngerti, Ngrasa, Nglakoni) and Tri-N (niteni, niroke, nambahi) among his other educational (Tamansiswa) praxes.

This article intends to reflect upon Ki Hajar Dewantara’s Tri Nga: Ngerti (to understand/ comprehend), Ngrasa (to feel), Nglakoni (to do) within the eminent framework of Second Language Acquisition (input, interaction and output hypotheses). To begin with, it is not very clear whether Ki Hajar would take and adopt this educational praxis from the domains of learning proposed by Bloom and Krathwohl which they had developed and published between 1956-1972 (Hoque, 2017). However, long before his passing in 1959, Ki Hajar Dewantara who was born in 1889 has conveyed and advised various merit of teachings during his lifespan. Hence, by the same token, we can say that Ki Hajar Dewantara’s Tri Nga: Ngerti (to understand/ comprehend), Ngrasa (to feel/ to make meaning out of something) and Nglakoni (to do) is Bloom and Krathwohl’s domains of learning which comprises the thinking (cognitive domain), affective domain (attitudes) and psychomotor domain (skills).  In general, scholars and educators would agree that all learning can be categorized, understood and inspected through these domains of learning. The learning of a second/foreign language is not in itself an exception.

The famous hypotheses related to second language acquisition available thus far, are: input, output and interaction hypotheses, proposed respectively by renowned scholars in SLA field: Stephen Krashen, Merrill Swain and Michael H. Long. From their first inception, the three hypotheses have undergone many scholarly scrutinies and (along the way) got revisited, modified and updated by their immediate theorists and proponents. Clearly, the input, output and interaction hypotheses remain the hallmark of Second Language Acquisition theories which continue to shape L2 learning across the globe. At the heart of those three hypotheses is incontestably the three domains of learning at work in which the acquisition of any second language is the direct result of interplay between cognitive process (ngerti), affective activities/ strategies (ngrasa) and skill building through practice (nglakoni).

To understand or ngerti is the primary requirement for all learning to occur. One cannot be said to have learned or understood something if she/ he has not fully or partially understood the new information that she/ he is trying to learn or acquire. In other words, when one is deprived of sufficient amount of comprehensible or comprehended input, then learning can be obstructed. The role of input is both fundamental and a precondition to L2 acquisition. Krashen’s input hypothesis (1981, 1985) basically wants to ensure L2 learners that they need to have ample exposure and access to the target language in a form of comprehensible input to acquire the language.

Better yet, many subsequent studies and L2 scholars are also content, as it was claimed by Swain (1985), that the ability to understand a (comprehensible) message in the target language is not the only way to successfully acquire the new language. Other internal and external factors beyond the amount and quality of the language input might also become important determining factors. Other than socio-cultural factors, affective factors have also been verified to define the success level of L2 acquisition. Carrio-pastor and Mestre’s finding (2014) for example, suggests that both integrative and instrumental motivation correlate with successful second language acquisition experienced by L2 learners. Put differently, those having more positive learning outlook, higher self-efficacy and more confidence in learning are generally and instinctively considered as more successful L2 learners. Ngrasa as a mental process and emotional state belonging to affective domain/ conative aspect of learning is equally acknowledged by Ki Hajar Dewantara as one of the essential learning conditions.

The latter domain, psychomotor learning or in the word of Ki Hajar Dewantara, Nglakoni, is part and parcel of a successful learning journey. Learners’ intent and commitment for the skill development through physical (oral and written) practices that involve mental activity and information processing would not only support another domains – affective and cognitive, but also solidify the acquired skill. In the context of L2 acquisition, this psychomotor learning is signified by the interface of input/ interaction for the basis of language development (Gass,1997). Meanwhile, the output or productive use of language is also a necessary phase which serves as a means of noticing/ triggering functions, hypothesis-testing function, feedback and the metalinguistic/ reflective function (Swain, 1985; Gass,1997). To put it another way, practicing the use of second language in a consistent way through conversational exchanges or interaction with other interlocutors would help improve learner’s fluency and proficiency.

The input, interaction and output hypotheses in L2 acquisition will remain the central theories informing L2 learning and research. In reality, according to Gass & Mackey (2007), the three constructs along with feedback are also non-distinct and interlinked in some ways. Similarly, learning a second/ foreign language would require and involve cognitive activity (ngerti), affective strategies (ngrasa) and psychomotor domain (nglakoni) in which each domain is built upon the others and interact in a reciprocal manner. Understanding the roles and interaction of those hypotheses and domains of learning seems less complicated in the words of Ki Hajar Dewantara. This respected scholar went on to say (in Javanese) that “Ngelmu tanpa laku kothong”, “laku tanpa ngelmu cupet” which means knowledge without action is meaningless and action without knowledge (wisdom) is pointless. Perhaps now, we can get ourselves better reminded of our commitment to learn a second/ foreign language by reflecting on Ki Hajar Dewantara’s teachings and wisdom. Happy National Education Day!



Carrio-Pastor, M.L., & Mestre, Eva. M. (2014). Motivation in second language acquisition. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 116, 240-244.

Gass, S. (1997). Input, interaction, and the second language learner. 3(1).

Gass, S. M., & Mackey, A. (2007). Input, interaction, and output in second language acquisition. In B. VanPatten and J. Williams (Eds.), Theories in second language acquisition: An introduction, pp. 175-199.

Hoque, Enamul. (2017). Three domains of learning: Cognitive, affective and psychomotor. The Journal of EFL Education and Research, 2(2), 45-52.

Marihandono, Djoko. (Ed). (2017). Ki Hajar Dewantara: Pemikiran dan Perjuangannya. Museum Kebangkitan Nasional Direktorat Jenderal Kebudayaan Kementrian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan.

Swain, M. (n.d.). The output hypothesis: Its history and its future [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from

Yee, C.K.C., Ning, C.S.K., & Hua, S.L.J. (n.d.). Chapter 14- The interaction hypothesis: Why you shouldn’t learn languages alone [Blog post].

Are We Corona Captives Turning to Screen Slaves? How to Have a Healthy Proportion of Screen Time During Our Home Learning Period

By  Irma Windy Astuti, S.S., M.Hum.

In time of Covid-19 crisis, it feels like the world has been drastically twisted and turned. Even though the world has not been completely turned-off, a lot of things suddenly require immense changes and adjustment to ensure our safety. The Work from Home and Social Distancing policies have affected the usual businesses we do. The offices, schools and universities are just some of the areas affected by the pandemic. For us in the education arenas, the circumstance has given teachers and lecturers very few options but to fully embrace online/ distance learning. As a result of it, educators quickly brace themselves in taking up and getting themselves acquainted with the challenges of online learning. Most of us (teachers) have endured this one month of self-quarantine juggling to meet the need of the students and to best comply to the courses’ learning objectives. A lot of discussions about online learning techniques and its tips & tricks have also been shared and implemented by many educators, including how to adjust the learning materials and ease the teaching delivery in order not to overwhelm the students.

From time to time though, the discussions on online learning have not only been about the course content, subject matter, methods and/ or their technicalities. Teachers and parents are also starting to get concerned about the well-being of their students and children (both for physical and psychological reasons). While the internet and the online technologies have done wonders in facilitating our distant work and learning, several side problems have also begun to emerge. Ever since the majority of the world went fully online for working and studying, most of us have had a significant increase of screen time. Screen time is the amount of time we spend staring at various screens (of our laptops, mobile phones and televisions) for various work/ study-related and entertainment purposes. Our laptops and cell phone have indeed become major parts of our lives and their screens are our windows to the many worlds. However, our heavy physical reliance on them is not without some lurking health risks. Too much screen time is obviously not good for our overall health, especially for our eyesight.

Even long before the covid outbreak and the burst of online learning, a lot of people (parents, especially with young children, health professionals and educators) have already taken the excessive use of screen time seriously, including none other than, the World Health Organization (WHO). As a result, many parties have been encouraged to speak up and conduct researches on it. The idea is, of course, not to substantially diminish or simply lessen the screen consumption, but it is more on how one can take a more thoughtful measure and healthier approach with respects to it.

While studies from the medical, psychological and other fields might focus on different aspect of human well-being with regards to our screen consumption, the messages being put-out are clear: we need to have a good balance of it. Take a systematic review study conducted by Stiglic (2019) as an example, which has identified various health problems and the decline in quality of people’s lives associated with excessive exposure of screen time. Whilst the ophthalmologists and scientists, as reported by American Academy of Ophthamology in 2018, have not come to a solid conclusion on whether considerable amount of screen time might become the sole cause of nearsightedness (myopia), they are mostly certain that “most computer users experience digital eyestrain”.

Now that we are forced to spend more time staring at our screens to deal with many of our obligations, we need to constantly remind ourselves of the recommended or “ideal” handle of screen time to ensure and sustain our health, especially our vision health. Many ophthalmologists have warned us about the hazard of the blue light coming from our gadgets’ screen, hence we need to take more active precaution and conscious measures both on the individual level and collectively.  For each one of us, be it student or teacher, Goodwin (2017) recommends that we can ease our eye fatigue by following the 20-20-20-20 rule. This rule can be detailed as having a frequent break from the screen after 20 minutes, resting our eyes from the screen’s glare for 20 seconds by blinking our eyes 20 times and doing any movement (during which) to remain physically active, in addition to looking away while focusing on any object in the distance as far as 20 feet or about 6 metres from us. The endorsement of such rule has truly come helpful and handy in giving people a concrete reference to what ones need to be exactly doing when wanting to reduce the detrimental effects of their excessive screen consumption. Unfortunately, many people also do not always realize that their mindless screen hustling and trivial craving for online entertainment may also be as harmful. Instead of accessing online entertainment during our downtime, we can actually seek recreation and spend our pastime offline, away from the screen.

As with the educators, having mostly an absolute handle of their classes mean that they can also readily play parts in helping to lessen the unnecessary screen consumption of their students. Seddon, a deputy head of a senior international school in Hongkong, has recommended a valuable guideline concerning the matter. During this highly demanding time of “forced” online learning, according to Seddon (2020), teachers can take more mild approaches in organizing their lesson delivery without having to jeopardize their students’ learning engagement. For once, teachers need to keep themselves reminded that an hour of online study cannot be plainly equalized to one hour of offline learning since each mode would require and demand a different way of work and study approach. To keep things simple is also recommended, such as not introducing students to multiple new systems for learning, but simply sticking to the websites and platforms that they are already familiar with. This would save the extra screen time that the students need to spend on learning something that is technically new. The use of any video to aid learning is also necessary to be kept under 6 minutes to facilitate the normal range of most people concentration span. All in all, Seddon’s advice is to caution teachers and educators not to get into the trapping of work or a teaching-learning scheme on its technical and task completion level, but to ensure the delivery of the curriculum objectives instead, which can be achieved by being more aware of the new learning context and mode.

There is no doubt that today’s technological wonders and our communication gadgets have aided and enabled us to resume our teaching-learning and other works from home.  Nevertheless, their benefit and detriment to our health and safety are (also) two sides of the same coin. The choice to wisely toss and flip the coin is all up to us. During this time of crisis, let us help create and make a wiser use of our screen time by taking a more informed and purposeful approach whilst making sure the fair achievement of our learning goals and productivity.


American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2018). Is too much screen time harming children’s vision? The American Academy of Ophthalmology helps parents separate the facts from fiction

Manocha, Ramesh. (Ed.). (2017). Mental wellbeing in the digital age: Nurturing young minds. Hachette UK.

Seddon, Matt. (2020). 5 Tips to help reduce student screen time

Stiglic, Neza., & Viner, R. M. (2019). Effects of screen time on the health and well-being of children and adolescents: a systematic review of reviews. BMJ Open; 9: e023191.


Making a Lesson Plan that Works

By: Willy Prasetya, S.Pd., M.A. and Banatul Murtafi’ah, S.Pd., M.Pd.

A lesson plan (Rencana Pelaksanaan Pembelajaran (RPP)) is the backbone of a teaching and learning process. It defines learning goals that students must achieve, materials and activities to support them in achieving the goals, and assessment to measure to what extent they have achieved the goals.

You may have heard that sometimes lesson plans do not work well in the classroom, and it makes a few teachers prefer teaching without having any of them. However, the actual problem is not the lesson plan but the way how it is designed. Therefore, This article will help you understand what you should and should not do when designing a lesson plan for your English class.


Contextualize Your Lesson Plan

Despite using the same curriculum from the government, schools differ from each other in terms of policies on teaching and learning, learning facilities, and sociocultural settings. Therefore, your lesson should be planned based on your school’s characteristics.

You need to set realistic time allotment based on your school policy. The time allotment for the English subject in most public schools is different from the one in many private schools.  Thus, you need to be able to adjust your learning activities according to the time allotment given by your school. If you don’t do so, your lesson will be over or undertime.

Besides time consideration, school facilities should be taken into account in designing learning activities. If your school lacks digital technology and the Internet, do not include any activities involving these things or you will end up wasting your teaching time on figuring out how to make your lesson work. Design your learning activities according to the available learning facilities.

Student proficiency and their sociocultural backgrounds should also be considered when planning a lesson. Remember that you teach your students, not yourself. Thus, taking your own point of view for your lesson plan may cause your lesson to be too difficult and culturally irrelevant to your students. What works for you as a teacher does not always work for your students. Therefore, plan your lesson by taking your students’ perspective. Your students’ learning needs and preferences should be taken into account so that what you teach can be meaningful for them.


Formulate Achievable Learning Objectives

Learning objectives are defined based on Basic Competences or Kompetensi Dasar (KD) from the curriculum. They set the direction of what students should learn and how they are assessed.

There are some crucial aspects to consider when defining learning objectives. First, learning objectives in the lesson plan must be scaffolded. It means that the first learning objective indicates the simplest expected performance, and the next ones become gradually more complicated. To do this, you should refer to Bloom’s Taxonomy and the KDs that you are going to teach. Let’s say that you are going to teach a KD that requires your students to ‘compose’ (level C6 of Bloom’s Taxonomy) a written text. For that reason, you should have six learning objectives that includes operational verbs from level C1 up to C6 of Bloom’s Taxonomy (for example: ‘identifying’ (C1), ‘explaining’ (C2), ‘classifying’ (C3), ‘correcting’ (C4), ‘validating’ (C5), and ‘composing’ (C6)).

Second, learning objectives should be measurable, meaning that students can demonstrate what is expected in the objective as the evidence of their learning. You should clearly indicate what your students should do and which language skill or learning aspect that they need to perform.

Last, when formulating your learning objectives, you should make each objective achievable, meaning that one objective should only include one specific skill or one aspect of the learning. Learning objectives are the basis of the selection and formulation of learning activities and learning materials. Thus, achievable learning objectives make it easier for you to select and design learning materials and activities. In addition, your students will also enjoy the lesson since they are not overwhelmed with abundant tasks.


Select Relevant Assessment Practices

Assessment collects evidence of students’ learning progress for the purpose of grading or giving feedback for improvement. Assessment results indicate to what extent they have achieved the learning objectives. For this reason, your assessment should be designed by referring to your learning objectives. Learning objectives that involve simple performance and lower-order thinking skills (C1-C3) should be assessed using simple assessment practices, such as identification of particular language aspects, fill in the blank, multiple choice, sentence writing, finding appropriate words/expressions, etc.  For learning objectives that require higher-order thinking skills (C4-C6), complicated assessment practices, such as error analysis, finding implicit meanings, text evaluation, role play, text composition, etc., can be implemented. Just like the learning objectives, assessment should be scaffolded to ensure that your students acquire new skills and knowledge gradually. Conducting assessment without a clear sequence will definitely confuse your students and make them uninterested in your lesson.

Assessment does not only involve testing and grading (assessment of learning). In a classroom situation, you should provide your students with the opportunity to practice their skills and knowledge and get feedback to improve these aspects (assessment for learning). You should also entrust your students to monitor their own progress, make adjustments to their learning, and reflect on their learning experiences (assessment as learning). Please keep in mind that learning is a process, and students learn to acquire new skills and knowledge, not only scores and grades.



A lesson plan is not a mere document that a teacher prepares only for administrative purposes. It is the manifestation of your view on your students and your values on teaching. Once you make your students a priority, putting yourself in their shoes and focusing on improving their learning experiences, your lesson plan will work just fine.