As discussed above, using realia can help the teaching English vocabularies to young learners run more effective. In delivering the material to the pupils, realia can make the learning experience more memorable for them. The pupils also became more active in receiving information during the learning process because the roles of the student are also important to support the lesson.
By using realia, the pupils could recognize the things and remember the names easily. It means that they can absorb the material delivered better. Beside these, using realia can make the learning process more fun and attractive.
As results, the pupils’ interest to the lesson was increased and the boredom during the lesson can be avoided.
According to Nunan (1999) Realia is defined as “objects and teaching props from the world outside the classroom that are used for teaching and learning”. Under this statement, realia is considered as real objects, which are used to aid in practicing a new language, as a way to present meaningful examples from the real world. Along with this idea, the British Council site states that “realia refers to any real objects we use in the classroom to bring the class to life”. In this way, realia is seen as objects used as a way of teaching, considering it as examples or aids of a foreign language.
Richards and Platt (1998) regards realia as “actual objects and items which are brought into aclassroom as examples or as aids to be talked or written about and used in language teaching such as: articles of clothing, kitchen utensils, items of food, etc.”, while Zukowsky and Faust (1997) contemplate it as “concrete objects and the paraphernalia of everyday life”, i.e., realia is understood as an infinite number of things from the real realm.
Nevertheless, there are certain contradictions over this term because realia is considered as an “authentic material” in EFL terminologies by some authors, associating it with audio-visual resources (real objects, pictures, photographs, etc.), thus dealing with a misconception of this phrase in language teaching.
Firstly, Cancelas and Ouviña (2003) mention that these concepts, realia and authentic materials, are dissimilar due to their various uses in the language classroom and especially, their ambiguous definitions.
Furthermore, these two authors exemplify realia as a “tailor’s box which constitutes the means of easy use, minimal cost that does not need any kind of previous preparation”, because it includes a variety of resources, such as: toys, bags, pieces of clothing, photographs, maps, puzzles, menus, letters, magazines, timetables, films, etc.
Secondly, Berwarld indicates that “Realia refers to real objects, specimens or artifacts— not copies, models or representations- from aparticular culture. Indeed, authentic materials are designed for use in real life situations, not for used as instructional tools.
Realia and other authentic materials provide awide range of printed and spoken messages that can be used as primary or secondary material in aforeign language classroom”, by saying this, this author associates realia with a foreign culture jointly.
Regarding the definition of authentic materials, Hubbard et al. (1987) describe it as “samples of language, which are not designed for language teaching purposes” while Gower et al. (1995) define it as “texts which are taken from newspapers, magazines, etc. and recordings of naturals speech taken from radio and television programmes”.
From these definitions, it can be concluded that realia refers to a wide range of materials, of any kind, which are brought to the classroom with the aim of doing innumerable activities based on language learning goals, whereas authentic materials are ideally used in order to work with socio-cultural aspects of a foreign language, by “making the learner and the language studied come together through samples of real life situations in places, where this language is spoken” (Cancelas and Ouviña, 2003).
Realia is closely related to the Natural approach. Accordingly, realia comes to be indispensable for the effectiveness of language acquisition, because the implementation of these materials create a more natural setting, where the learner learn a foreign language, much like a child learns his native language in early stages. Considering this, through the use of realia, language acquisition is generated naturally, thus representing a paramount advantage.
Teaching vocabulary to young learner is very different from teaching vocabulary to adult. It is not an easy job, because it is the first time to them to get language learning and they are not used to before. Therefore, the teacher issuggested that he make an interesting learning activity to the student in order that they can understand well and the learning process can run well too.
Beside this, a teacher should have a certain techniques of presenting new words to young learner. It will be easier for the teacher to attract the student’s attention and it makes young learners respond well to concrete object. It is also stated by Scott and Yterberg, “don’t relay on the spoken word only.
Most activities of the younger learners should include movement and involve the senses. You will need to have plenty of objects and pictures to work with, and to make full use of the school and your surrounding.” (Scott and Yterberg, 1990:5).
That is why the presentation technique is absolutely needed.
There are two reasons for using real life materials or Realia in presenting something to the student in the classroom:
- They are often more interesting than material from text books and can be on subjects that will really engage the pupils
- Pupils will be expected to use real material when they leave the classes.
It can be said that using Realia is aimed to make the pupils more active in receiving information during the learning process because the roles of the student are also important to support the lesson. It is stated by Michael McCarthy, “we concentrated on vocabulary presentation in the classroom very much from the teacher’s point of view, but success in vocabulary lesson crucially depends on the interaction between teacher and learners, and of the work the learner themselves put into the assimilation and practicing of new words.” (Mc Carthy, 1990:121).
In using Realia to present vocabulary, the teacher has to consider first which Realia are appropriate to use. There are two ways to decide if the realia is appropriate:
- Decide if the topic matter is appropriate for your pupils. If you are not sure you can ask them or find out what their interests are.
- Look at how much new vocabulary and grammar structures are in the materials.
If pupils are to cope with real material, they may have to learn to deal with topics with a lot of alien vocabulary. If the appropriate Realia is already determined, the teacher can apply it to present the lesson to the student. With the technique, it is expected that the student can be more interesting in joining learning activity and the learning process can be useful for the student. So, they will get the best result in their language lesson and they can use it for their next stage of language learning.
From them, twenty learners were chosen in accordance with their mid-term exam marks in English, which were the highest. Among the characteristics of this study, the pupils were divided into four groups of five pupils each. Using different techniques, the pupils from all the groups were taught five lexical items. It is important to remark that these words presented in this study were new for each student. The day after the presentation of the new words, the pupils were asked to complete a written test.
- Nunan C., Fisher, P., Ogle, D., & Watts-Taffe, S. (2006). Vocabulary: Questions from the Classroom. Reading Research Quarterly, 41, 524–539.
- Richards and Platt 1987). Vocabulary: Applied Linguistic Perspectives. Hispania Journal, 1, 118–124.
- Gersten, R. (1996). Literacy Instruction for Language-Minority Pupils: The Transition Years. Elementary School Journal, 3, 227–244.
- Herman, P. A. & Dole, J. (1988). Theory and Practice in Vocabulary Learning and Instruction. The Elementary School Journal, 89 (1), 43–54.