Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Power of Ads as Teaching Materials

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Power of Ads as Teaching Materials

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

In designing materials for EFL classrooms, the use of "ads" cannot be underestimated. This paper will first describe the eight values of Ads in interplaying with the teaching and learning of foreign or second language classroom. Students have been exposed to ads in their daily living and this pool of knowledge will make it easier for them to think, speak and write when responding to ads. Ads description is often short and carries more than literal meaning and thus is a good short reading text for students to read between the lines in order to understand the real meaning. Students can also gain an insight into social and in particular cultural values of the people communicated in that particular community. Next, the paper will describe how teachers can exploit "ads" in language teaching in several ways e.g. in consolidating oral language skills, teaching vocabulary and reading comprehension, eliciting discussions in the class, supporting activities including writing and giving presentations, eliciting critical thinking, interpretation and association skills. Different sources of ads including printed ads, TV ads and online ads will be drawn upon to exemplify the design of various tasks.

KEYWORDS: teaching materials, authentic materials, material development

Introduction

In designing materials for EFL classroom, the use of "ADS"cannot be downplayed. (Sinhaneti 1985) Roy F. Fox (2002:119) underscored a high value of ads in teaching and learning in the classroom saying that "the study of advertising-especially the evocative, highly visual magazine and TV advertising-provides many rich opportunities for learning and teaching." Firstly, students have been exposed to ads in their daily living and this "deep pool of knowledge and curiosity makes it easier for them to think, speak, and write when responding to ads." Secondly, there are no limit to advertising's topics, characters, situations, styles, products and appeals and so it is easy for teachers to find the sources for their teaching materials. Thirdly, ads can easily elicit student responses because students realize that ads represent real communication messages containing specific objectives, purposes and target audiences. Fourthly, ads can be a good tool for teachers to articulate students' thinking skills since visual images and the messages they conveyed may be more appealing for their reaction when compared to print material. In Roy Fox words (2002:120) "This allows teachers more opportunities to extend and build on this thinking and language." Teachers can also use ads for further association or interpretation of the meaning since advertising is highly intertextual. Students can interpret or associate each sign, each symbol, each picture, each word the way they think or feel and at the same time come up with other associated meanings and interpretations. Seeing an ad for a pair of hiking shoes may mean just having more comfortable shoes around in the house or a vacation in the mountain or walking gracefully along the catwalk. "Associating one thing with another is a common way in which people respond to images, as well as think through or with images." (Paivio, 1990) Ads, in addition are very good for teaching reading between the lines. Ads descriptions is often short and carry more than literal meaning and thus is a good short reading text for students to read between the lines in order to understand the real meaning. Furthermore, ads are considered a public discourse, a real language communication. Moreover, according to Davies (1996)80% of students learning is visual and visual images influence thinking and verbal literacy skills. According to Fleckenstein (1996) and Paivio(1990), "Students construct meaning by interacting with images just as much as they do with language." Finally, students can gain an insight into social and cultural values of the people communicated in that particular language community. Students will develop many kinds of such language insight or "health" using Fox's term (2002:121)

Physical health, -by learning about tobacco, drugs, nutrition, and exercise; emotional health-by gaining perspective on media-imposed definitions of beauty,sexuality, maturity and problem solving and by exploring such issues as instant gratification; social health-by exploring how ads communicate attitudes, values and ideologies, including those of consumption,competition and materialism; and cultural health-by exploring if, when, and how ads present groupings of people, such as examining stereotypes of gender, race and class. …

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