National Institute Of Mental Health English Language Essay

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National Institute of Mental Health in the volume 1 journal; 'TV and Behaviour' revealed that watching TV is the third biggest time consumer, coming after work and sleep. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) mentioned that "most kids plug into the world of televisions long before they enter school". In Malaysian education context, the emergence of incorporating television in Malaysian education setting has started way back in 1979 after the establishment of TV Pendidikan managed by the Educational Technology Division, Ministry of Education Malaysia. The educational programs provided by TV Pendidikan covered English subject as well. This chapter is a review of the previous literature, academic discussions, recorded and also reviewed ideas of scholars which relate to the research topic; 'The Effect of Watching English Television Programs Constantly on Students' English Achievement'.

2.1 Teens and Television

Teenagers are very associated with television since their actions are mostly duplicated or adopted from what they watched on television. Television viewing also consumes big part of teenagers' time. Survey done by Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) showed that kids and teens 8 to 18 years spend nearly 4 hours a day in front of a TV screen and almost 2 additional hours on the computer (outside of schoolwork) and playing video games. Television is a very powerful tool which can really influence teenagers. The effect of television on teenagers can sometime exceed the adult's expectation. Elsevier (2004) states that although teenagers are more skeptical than children, teens are notoriously susceptible to peer pressure, and the media may function as a kind of "super peer" for them. For example, one survey of teenagers found that they felt that TV encouraged them to have sex.

As TV viewing consumes majority amount of time of teenagers other than attending school, it affects teenagers' time at home including their time to do house chores, school homework, and even taking care of welfare. Wiecha, Sobol, Peterson & Gortmaker (2001) in their research, articulate the importance reducing intrahousehold television access and screen time of the teenagers for the sake of enhancing their clinical, school, and community strategies. Their research gives focus on parents' role in managing their children screen time and helps their children to divide the time for their homework, reading, and personal welfare. This is also supported by the research done by Levine & Levine (1996) which highlights that the parents' failure to provide guidelines for television viewing has a lot to do with the attitudes and values of today's children.

Several researches have shown the correlation between teenagers TV viewing time and their academic achievement. The researches done were mostly depicting the negative effect of frequent TV watching on students' weak achievement. Felter (1984) reports that achievement scores in reading, math, and written expression were "sharply lower" among students who viewed more than six hours of television per day. In another research, Patrick (1991) identifies that higher school social studies achievement is associated with "limited television viewing". Based on these researches, it has been proven that the amount of time spent on watching TV among teenagers do affect their academic achievement. The most crucial part is when the amount of TV viewing time affects their process of pursuing study. Corporation for Public Broadcast reported in 1993 that teenagers who are in the lowest per week TV viewing category are more likely to continue their education by enrolling in college.

2.2 Attitudes and Perceptions towards Television programs

In the discussion of the roles and impact of TV programs on students, everyone will have their own say or perception. Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) quoted that "There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception". Some perceive TV programs positively while others have positive insight for it. Lieberman (1996) wrote that "…many average citizens see television as threats to their children and their country." (pg.18).

In most cases, people perceive TV programs negatively. McQuail (1997, pp. 102-107) stated that some have voiced concerns that television viewing is a kind of addictive behavior. Parents especially voice out their worry on the bad time management set by their children when it comes to the conflict of doing their homework and watching TV. Keith, Timothy Z.; Reimers, Thomas M.; Fehrmann, Paul G.; Pottebaum, Sheila M.; Aubey, Linda W.(1986) presented in their research that the students practised low homework demand and excessive weekdays TV viewing. Apart from that, the expanding of negative influences linked out from television also worries the parents and community. Ward (1995) reported that one in four of all verbal interaction between primary characters during prime-time shows watched by young viewers contained comments related to sexuality.

2.3 Effect of constant watching of English Television Programs

Oxford English Advanced Learner Dictionary defines 'constant' as happening all the time or repeatedly and does not change. Throughout the years, various issues have been raised upon the issue of constant watching of television.

There are not much research done pertaining to the effect of constant watching of English Television Program on students' achievement since majority of researchers or academicians are more interested in finding the faults and negative effect of television rather than stressing on the benefits and positive utilization of it. Consumers' Association of Penang (1983) came out with a full report of how dangerous television program can be to the children because of the violence shown and surprisingly all the programs that were put to blame were English television programs.

Watching of English TV programs is also belief to provide any assistance to a person language development. According to Patterson (2002), frequent watching of television has no significant relation to the size of vocabulary in language. She stresses that reading will increase the size of vocabulary but not by watching television.

On the other hand, several researches shown that exposure to television programs provide positive effects in term of children and teenagers' cognitive development. Henderson & Rankin (1986) state that the ability of children to recall details from a complex visual display, transform three dimensional objects into two-dimensional plans, recognize an object from different perspective, discern a figure in a pattern, order object serially by some rule (such as size, height, or width), or identify an object seen from different perspectives as the same may be enhanced by exposure to television.

In another research done by Susan & Patricia (1992) proves that watching captioned television provides language learning in context. Their analysis suggested that contexts providing explicit information yielded higher vocabulary gains. Subjects who are more proficient in English learned more words from context than others. These results suggest that comprehensible input may be a key ingredient in language acquisition and reading development. And in this case, the comprehensible input comes from the captions or subtitles.

Another research done on Dutch elementary school children done by M. Koolstra & W.J. Beentjes (2006) shows that vocabulary acquisition and recognition of English words were highest in the subtitled condition, indicating that Dutch elementary school children can incidentally acquire vocabulary in a foreign language through watching subtitled television programs. This research prove that constant watching of English TV programs especially with the presence of mother tongue subtitle really helps students to learn the language through the acquisition of new vocabularies through recognition of English words.

Constant watching on English television programs could strongly support comprehension of spoken material. Teenagers who are non-native speakers will find it easier for them to comprehend and understand English when they constantly being exposed to the language through TV viewing. Sherrington (1973), exploring the potential of conventional television for language teaching, notes that a number of listening skills can easily be practiced via television, including recognizing and understanding and also several other skills such as vocabulary, syntactic structure, varieties of speech, discourse patterns, and pragmatics features.

When constant watching on English TV program is concern, it applies to non-English speakers. When non-English speaking teenagers watch TV programs in the target language and in this case English language, they are actually exposing themselves to the target language, familiarizing them with the language hence closing the gap between them and the target language. Lonergan (cited in McGovern 1983, p. 14) highlights that the viewing of TV programs in the target language, particularly TV's multimedia aspect plays a great role as a medium for bringing a living language to learners. The dynamic combination of sound and vision can bring an air of reality into the classroom. Lonergan also highlights his opinion that the techniques of television can present material to learners in ways quite beyond the resources of the language teacher.

English television programs can also function as a medium of language learning. In Malaysian context, our teenagers do not experience an English-conversation setting like in countries where English is their first language or medium of communication. For that reason, English TV programs provide a similar setting of English-conversation environment for teenagers. R. Naigles and Mayuex (2000) sum up in their article 'Television as an Incidental Language Teacher' presented in 'Handbook of Children and the media' that television can somehow displace the role of conversation carried out between interacting people for language acquisition since it also provides ongoing dialogue which represent real-life conversation.

2.4 Applying English Television Program into ESL learning

According to the Malaysian Examination Board report (1995), majority of the students who produced low quality writing have problems with their content, elaboration, and language such as grammar and vocabulary. As students are so attached to television, it is possible that this situation be manipulated by integrating English TV programs in the teaching of ESL. English TV programs could be utilized for the sake of improving the students' language skills involving vocabularies, grammar, listening, and cognitive process.

R. Hornik (1981) articulates his idea that a particularly interesting area for incidental learning from television is that of second language learning. He states that it is possible that children whose home language is not standard English, are absorbing that language, from its homogeneous broadcast version on television. With this statement, Hornik is supporting the possibility of an ESL learner to learn English from watching English television programs.

Research done by Greenhill (1967) shows positive result where it implied that television could be a reasonable alternative to classroom instruction and consequently, for reason of administrative, fiscal, and logistical benefit, could be a more desirable choice of instructional method. Beentjes, et. al (1991) has carried out a research on the effect of television on students writing performance in Leiden, Netherland. He did an experiment on students aged between 10 to 12 years old by using 10 minutes TV excerpt which consists lots of actions, dialogues, background music, and sound effects. His research showed that the students managed to rewrite the occurrences and most of the actions they saw in the TV excerpt with minimal language errors.

Apart from that, a research done by Romanowaska (1982) on varsity students aged 22 years on the use of documentaries in their teaching reading class claimed that the students who followed this program scored 50% higher marks compared to those who did not join the program. In addition, the participant also improved in memorization skill and absorption. This has proved the role of TV programs which in this case the documentaries which involved formal language use will help students to achieve better in their examination.

English TV programs are believed to assist students in their acquisition of new vocabularies and exposure to correct sentences and word usage. Koolsfra, Johannes, & Beentjes (1999) in their research about "Children's Vocabulary Acquisition in a Foreign Language through Watching Subtitled Television Programs at Home" found out that vocabulary acquisition and recognition of English were highest in the subtitled English program. Anderson & Nagy (1991) highlighted that "vocabulary learning from natural language occurs not because the learner is trying to learn words but because the learner is trying to understand what is said, sung, or written.

There was also research stressing on the nature of eye movement when a person reads the subtitle on the TV. The basic eye movement characteristics (fixation numbers and durations, saccade amplitude, and number of regressive eye movements) in the subtitles are approximately the same as the basic eye movement characteristics in reading regular, printed text, suggesting 'true' reading of the subtitles (De Bruycker & d'Ydewalle, 2003). This shows that watching an English television program with subtitle also involve a process of students in comprehending what they saw and heard with the meaning conveyed in the subtitle which is usually in their mother tongue.

As teachers would be the manager of integrating English television programs into ESL classroom, they must ensure that the TV program selected for the activity or homework must cater the students' need and their level of language. Enid Love (1967) in her article "Television and the Teacher" highlights that a class must derive maximum benefit from a series. She adds more that it is crucial that the level of the program should be right for the class.

Television serves a vast resource for language learners to learn the target language in context which is very effective. Woolford (1994, p. 10) states that the unique combination of sound and motion pictures in TV is viewed by many students as a medium that can present and contextualize the target language which book and audio tape could not solely do. Students will experience more natural setting of language use in television and this will help them to see the practicality of English in everyday life.

2.5 Summary

The review covers important subtopics related to the main topic of this study pertaining to the effect of watching English TV programs on students' English achievements. The review of literature done in this chapter will be the essence and crucial guidelines in conducting the research.