Languange Education Method
DOI: 10.21070/ijemd.v21i3.760

Effective Online Teaching of Recount Texts: Challenges and Implications for Eighth-Grade Students

Pengajaran Online yang Efektif untuk Teks Cerita Ulang: Tantangan dan Implikasi untuk Siswa Kelas Delapan

Universitas Muhammadiyah Sidoarjo
Universitas Muhammadiyah Sidoarjo

(*) Corresponding Author

COVID-19 Pandemic Online Learning Recount Text Listening Skills Eighth-Grade Students


The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically transformed education in Indonesia, with schools shifting from traditional classrooms to remote learning. This research aims to explore the teacher's approach to online teaching of recount text material and its impact on eighth-grade students' listening skills at SMP Negeri 1 Wonoayu. Employing a descriptive qualitative research method, data was collected through interviews and observations. The findings reveal that students effectively learned through listening to recount text materials, as evidenced by exercise scores. Communication between teachers and students occurred via WhatsApp Messenger Group, while recount text materials were delivered through YouTube videos. However, challenges faced by English teachers included technical understanding, selecting appropriate online listening methods, and motivating students for virtual learning. The research concludes that online teaching of recount texts can be successful but requires addressing these challenges for enhanced effectiveness in remote learning environments.


  • The research investigates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education in Indonesia, leading to a shift from classroom-based learning to online learning for eighth-grade students at SMP Negeri 1 Wonoayu.

  • Descriptive qualitative research is employed to explore the teacher's approach to online teaching of recount text materials and its effectiveness in enhancing students' listening skills.

  • The findings demonstrate that students effectively learn through listening to recount text materials, supported by exercise scores, and the use of communication media such as WhatsApp Messenger Group and YouTube videos. However, challenges persist, including the lack of clear assignment timelines and the need to address technical understanding and student motivation in online classes.

Keyword: COVID-19 Pandemic, Online Learning, Recount Text, Listening Skills, Eighth-Grade Students.


English as Foreign Language primarily focuses on reading and writing, meanwhile listening competence is still neglected and still poorly taught in many EFL programs even though it plays an important role in communication. [1] Listening is the primary step for learners to understand the ability to speak a foreign language and then communicate with it. [2] Listening skills have the same importance as speaking skills so people can communicate face-to-face because both types of skills are developed together. In communicating, time spent on listening takes up to 40-50%, much more than speaking as much as 25-30%, reading as much as 11-16%, and writing as much as 9%. [1] Listening skills are important for students to learn a foreign language because students receive information and gain insights through the listening process. Learners should understand the key point of what native speakers mean in actual language situations when interacting with native speakers in particular. [2]

Students are facing obstacles in comprehending listening skills. [3] Researchers studied this matter and found several problems arise among the students. The first problem was the minimum number of vocabulary known among the students. This gets harder because students do not understand the accent of their teacher when speaking in English. [4]. To understand why listening is difficult some people have to translate the data they obtain before agreeing on the correct answer. Another explanation for why it is hard for respondents to listen in English is that they have to listen and write the response at the very same period. To be able to listen to English well, practice is important for students. But, these aren’t the only challenge the students and the teacher should face, but also the shifting from offline learning to online learning in response to Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

Coronavirus is a kind of virus that spreads rapidly. The first infection in Indonesia has been started around March 2020 and keep spreading to even many more cities until now ( visited on 2nd November 2020). Medication for this virus has not been found so society should do prevention of the infection instead. It is not an easy task since the virus has an infection of more than 3,33% ( visited on 28 November 2020) and already infected every province in Indonesia, East Java included. A total number of 506,302 were infected in Indonesia with the highest rate being DKI Jakarta with several 129,188 cases and East Java with several 59,398 cases. This forced the government to find out if a solution for people in the education field such as teachers and students to conduct classes without getting infected. The studying process was shifted from full face-to-face classes to online classes in the demand of protecting every living person in this country including students and teachers (Kepmendikbud Nomor 719/P/2020).

Online learning is characterized as learning experiences in both uplink and downlink environments using electrical gadgets connected to internet access, such as cell phones, laptops, etc. [5] The change from face-to-face classes to the online approach needs training that the teacher and the students can understand. Online learning is defined as learning in which most of the material is delivered via the internet. [6]

The effectiveness of the method of online learning has been found to vary, several types of research have found it to be effective in upgrading students’ performance and motivations, and meanwhile some other research findings to be degrading it. [7] [8] Therefore, the purpose of this research is to describe the teacher teaching online learning of recount text material in students listening skills in eighth grade SMP Negeri 1 Wonoayu.

Research Method

This research was applied qualitative research. Qualitative approaches are analysis processes that create descriptive knowledge comprising people’s spoken or written words and actions that can be witnessed. [9] Descriptive research is research intended to collect information about the indication status that happens, that is the indication based on the real situation when the research is being done. [10] [11] By using this method, this study will describe the results of interviews and observations about the teacher teaching online learning of recount text material in students listening skills in eighth grade SMP Negeri 1 Wonoayu. The subjects in this study were the eighth-grade English teacher at SMP Negeri 1 Wonoayu. There are two sources of data used, namely primary data and secondary data. Primary data are in the form of interviews and observations, while secondary data are references such as journals, books, and articles related to this research. The data is then analyzed through three processes, namely data reduction, data presentation, and conclusion.

Result and Discussion

The researchers analyzed interviews and observations on the related research objects. The research took place at SMP Negeri 1 Wonoayu Sidoarjo. SMP Negeri 1 Wonoayu is located at Jl. Raya Semambung, Wonoayu, Semambung, Sidoarjo, East Java. The school is accredited with “A” accreditation, the highest school rank. The school is applying SMP 2013 as its learning curriculum. There are 31 classrooms in the school for seventh, eighth, and ninth-grade students. Researchers focus on eighth-grade students and teachers to analyze listening recount text. This school provides eight eighth-grade students from class 8A to 8K.

A. Interview

Learning competence in curriculum 2013 includes behavior competence, spiritual competence, social competence, knowledge, and skill competence. Behavior, spiritual, and social competence act as character building to develop students’ personalities to become religious, honest, disciplined, confident, responsible, and effectively interact with their environment. The learning process for that competence is applied with indirect learning. Meanwhile, knowledge and skill competence are taught with direct teaching in the class. Based on the education regulation as Kepmendikbud Number 719, 2020, knowledge and skill competence are divided into core competence and basic competence. Recount text is included as basic competence in the English Learning Curriculum 2013 for the eighth grade.

Pandemic Covid-19 has been started in 2020 in Indonesia and changed the traditional learning process of every school in the country to online learning. [12] The shifting to an online class is aimed to protect the children and the teachers from the danger of the deadly fast-spreading virus Covid-19. [13] Previous research has shown that online learning effectiveness is very low. [14] [4] Both the teacher and the students can’t provide or receive study materials wel using online media.

Through the interview with the teacher in the school, researchers conducted a deeper analysis of this situation. The interview showed the readiness of the teacher in teaching the students in distance through online media. Several aspects are used as indicators of the readiness of the teacher in online learning, including understanding the definition of online learning itself, the readiness to shift to online learning, the preparation of the teacher in conducting online learning, the execution or practice of online learning, Researchers also analyze the point of view of the teacher on how the students are dealing with the shifting, especially in listening recount text subject based on their knowledgeable, processing in matta er of linguistic form, dealing, and understanding the materials. The materials themselves are identified through an interview with the teacher in analyzing three aspects, including orientation, events, and conclusion (re-orientation).

Based on the interview results in the aspect of understanding, the English teacher in SMP N 1 Wonoayu still has a limited understanding of online learning. She understands the basic definition of online teaching. However, the teacher isn’t capable of effectively using it for online learning.

“I don’t think so. I think social media doesn’t work a lot for learning…”

“… not all of the English materials can be presented in online teaching because the teachers have many problems in training the skill or materials to the students.” (English Teacher of Eighth Grade, 10 December 2021 . )

The Learning process nowadays is focusing on the collaboration of the teacher and students where there are active communication and collaboration. The teacher is no longer the solely responsible role to be active in the class, but the students are also expected to sit quietly and just listen to the teacher, but to communicate their way to learn. [15] The availability of numerous communication features on the internet, for example, social media, is one of the advantages of conducting learning online where the students can communicate with their teacher or communicate to each other regarding the subject. Then, there wiwille a collaborative studying process that makes the learning process is effective. From the interview results above, the teacher shows the difficulty in applying her teaching skills using online features. The teacher doesn’t seem to understand that some numerous features and materials can be adapted to her classroom online to encourage students’ learning motivation. However, this situation is not only about the teacher, but the students showed difficulty.

“Most of them do (understand the system works, access, and join the online class) but some of them do not.” (English Teacher of Eighth Grade, 10 December 2021)

The shifting of a traditional school with face-to-face methods to online schools in Indonesia schools mostly is happening one night because of the emergency of the pandemic. State schools have previously never been introduced to the concept of online learning. Also, the attendance of facility, especially in technology in Indonesia education are still facing obstacles (Law Justice, 2021). The teacher also shows that the students of SMPN 1 Wonoayu are still facing difficulty in accessing the online class. This is due to the limited knowledge of the students regarding using technology as learning media. However, the teacher does not feel difficulty shifting to online learning in the matter of listening subject.

“… I think there is no difference in learning activity especially in learning listening.” (English Teacher of Eighth Grade, 10 December 2021)

The statement above shows that the teacher does not have difficulty in applying her previous teaching style in online learning. In traditional teaching, the teacher is actively presenting the materials while the students are passively listening to the materials and following the teacher’s order if they have to work on something, such as homework or exercise. In online learning, this method is not effective because the physical presence of the teacher is not available. Therefore, the teacher does not have as much authority as traditional or face-to-face learning. The teacher must be able to provide interesting learning to make students encouraged to study and master the materials.

“... Usually, the students will be pleased when the media is interesting. For example, using videos, songs, et cetera.” (English Teacher of Eighth Grade, 10 December 2021)

Using attractive media in the learning process supports the students to gain interest and eliminate the boredom in online learning since the students cannot interact with other students or teachers physically. According to Dhawan (2020), the availability in using audio, videos, and text to reach out to the students in online learning is one of the strengths of online learning, so the students are not missing the human touch to their teacher. However, a collaborative and interactive learning environment is expected to give feedback and ask questions, so the learning went interesting for them and the teacher.

The researchers focus on how the teacher uses available technology to find information and communicate with the students, especially in effectively listening to recount text. Based on the interview session, the teacher interprets online as any learning conducted online using WhatsApp, Google, Moodle, etc. The English teacher in SMP N 1 Wonoayu already prepares her materials well before the learning. The teacher also conducted exercises constantly to control the progress of the students’ learning.

“Yes, I do. I always prepare it well. I hope the students can understand the materials well.”

“Yes, I do. I prepare it to make the students more interested in the learning activity.”

“Yes, I do. I hold it (exercise) constantly because I want to know the students’ progress.” (English Teacher of Eighth Grade, 10 December 2021)

The dialogue above shows that the teacher is already prepared for her class, including materials that could attract students’ attention and conducting exercises to control students’ progress. However, the students do not show encouragement as expected to be.

“… they (students) don’t prepare themselves well. They tend to be lazy to do it.” (English Teacher of Eighth Grade, 10 December 2021)

Online learning is advantageous for students and teachers in case of the flexibility of place. On the other side, it requires more discipline and focuses for both the teacher and the students. The previous study shows that students have difficulties managing their attention to keep them focused on learning (Yuzulia, 2021). Students are no longer in the conducive classrooms where only other students have the same goals and the teacher who provides them, but now they are facing in the distracted room with the mother, sister, or brother that may disturb their learning process.

“… I can’t train or drill the students about their listening skill well, so their listening skills do not improve well, too.” (English Teacher of Eighth Grade, 10 December 2021)

The teacher’s statement regarding the practice of learning in online school shows that the teacher is unable to improve the students’ listening skills because of the lack of physical presence. There are several features available on the internet, such as Google Form, Google Classroom, et cetera where the students can practice their listening ability through hearing audios or videos or listening to their teacher or one of them speaking.

Overall, in the matter of teacher’s preparedness, English teacher in SMPN 1 Wonoayu already gives her best effort in conducting online learning, especially in listening recount text. However, this effort still facing some obstacles, mainly the lack of understanding of technology that can be used for more effective learning. Both of the students and the teacher are not ready for the shifting, it can be known from their inability to find materials from the internet, or simply to join the classroom. The teacher already applied for interesting materials for students learning experience. However, this hasn’t been enough in encouraging her students to learn English.

Based on the interview with the teacher, the students have low motivation on learning English because they do not have the adequate ability in English.

“… Most of the students have less knowledge in English. … they do not know the meaning of my speaking well because their low ability in vocabulary.” (English Teacher of Eighth Grade, 10 December 2021)

The dialogue above shows that the learning of listening skills is hampered by the low ability of the students, especially because the students still have the inadequate vocabulary. The low ability leads to the students’ low motivation of the students to learn English. This situation creates a learning environment that is not conducive for the class. The students have a hard time processing the materials because of it. They are also unable to deal with the shifting well because their low knowledge does not make it easier to deal with the sudden shifting to online school.

Researchers also interviewed the teacher regarding the practice of listening to recount text. The result of the interview is as follows:

“… I do it by asking them about the names of the characters that they find in the text … the verbs that they find in the text. After that, I will explain the events/activities from the text. … I provide it by asking them to find places that they find in the text.” (English Teacher of Eighth Grade, 10 December 2021)

Based on the dialogue above, the teacher is providing detailed information about the recount text to the students including characters in the text, the verbs, the events/activities, and where the recount text takes place. This guidance might help the students in understanding the recount text they are listening to. This way, the students who previously does not know the vocabulary that they listened, to can learn new words. However, the results of the activity are still needed to be explored.

“I usually guide them to conclude . … most of them do not have enough knowledge to do it (conclude the events in the recount text).” (English Teacher of Eighth Grade, 10 December 2021)

The students are mostly still having difficulty in concluding the recount text and still need the teacher’s guidance in doing it. Overall, the students’ learning process of listening to recount text in online school is facing difficulty because the basic English knowledge of the students is still inadequate for them to learn English independently using audio or video. The students still depend on their teacher in understanding the materials. This is because the students are having low motivation since they only have low levels of vocabulary knowledge.

B. Observation

The presence of the Pandemic Covid-19 has changed the learning process entirely. Learning processes are no longer conducted in a classroom but via online learning. This has been regulated by lesson plans (RPP) specialized in online learning based on Currcilulum 2019. Based on the lesson plans, several media can be used for the online learning process, including Whatsapp, Google classroom, Zoom, Google form, etc. However, in SMP Negeri 1 Wonoayu, learning activity for English subjects is conducted only using WhatsApp. This is due to the lack of computer literacy of the teacher. The teacher uses the group feature in WhatsApp to inform and communicate with the students.

Based on the results of observations made through observing the teacher's teaching method for listening material, it was found that there was some unrelatedness with the listening teaching strategy. [16] The listening teaching strategy can be said to be successful if it goes through the following processes. There are several processes, namely Preparation, Reconstruction, Analysis and correction, and Post listening. However, the teacher's teaching strategy based on observation shows a discrepancy with the listening teaching strategy. This is explained as follows:

  1. Preparation, at this stage, the teacher should prepare the students for the text they will be hearing by asking questions and discussing a stimulus picture, discussing vocabulary, and ensuring that the students are in the appropriate group. The teacher opens the lesson without doing the preparation stage. The teacher only opened the lesson by greeting students, then continued by asking students to open and watch the video, then continued by observing the use of sentences in the video.
  2. Reconstruction, at the conclusion, learners’ notes and produces their version of the text. During the stage, the teacher mustn’t provide any language input. This is contrary to the teacher's teaching process based on the results of observations. Although the teacher almost did this stage by asking students to copy the paragraphs of what they heard in the video and then complete them with the right sentences. However, it is just an instruction without any clear direction from the teacher.
  3. Analysis and correction, there are various ways of dealing with this stage. The small group version is reproduced on the board or overhead matching in response to what learners hear. At this stage, the teacher provides feedback to students by collecting the results of student assignments. However, based on observations, the teacher has not made corrections to student assignments to the fullest. This is because the teacher feels a lack of time efficiency to make corrections. So, he only had to collect student assignments and mark students who had collected them. Giving feedback in the form of value is seen based on the name of the student who collected it without having to judge the right and wrong answers of students. This is certainly influenced by the online learning system which requires teachers to prepare all learning media related to technology so that teachers have a lack of time to provide maximum feedback and correction to students. Therefore, the teacher chooses to provide added value to students who only need to collect assignments.
  4. Post listening, at the third stage, the activities are a chance to check learners’ understanding of what they have been listening to, give feedback, and consolidate what they have been learning. The first thing the teacher needs to do after the learners have carried out the listening activity is to check the answer. The learners can compare their answers with each other first then check the answer with the whole class. The teacher skips this part because the teacher only reaches the stage of collecting student assignments without providing feedback, let alone interacting with students in correcting their answers together. The teacher feels that in online listening learning it is very difficult to interact directly with students. Moreover, listening is considered a complex English skill. Therefore, the teacher does the learning as much as possible. The technology that is mastered is also still very lacking, so it is still very difficult to improvise teaching and learning activities of listening.

The practice in the learning session of listening recount text in SMP N 1 Wonoayu is showing different environments, where the communication process went one way (from the teacher to students). However, using media of videos has been done and able to attract students’ interest. Pictures in Figure 4.2 show the linked video.

Figure 1.Practice Session in Video Learning Listening Recount Text

Figure 1 represents the captures of the video shared by the teacher as learning recount text materials. The video includes two sections, the first is a practice session, and the second is an exercise session. In the practice session, students are presented with the background voice telling a short story of theirs and slides containing the text and moving pictures each by line. The short story is titled “My Sister’s Funny Experience,” which tells about a girl who forgot that it was Sunday and the school was dismissed but went to school anyway. There are 17 main slides in the practice session. The students can read the complete text of the recount text. After the story is done, the next session starts.

Figure 2.Exam Session in Video Learning Listening Recount Text

Figure 2 shows the exercise session of listening recount text. The students heard the “My Sister’s Funny Experience” story one more time and asked to fill the blank in the text that appeared. There are five slides in this section that contain two main slides. Main slides refer to the slide containing the main context of the session outside the session title or genera remark as encouragement. The students must fill in 10 blanks. The result of students scores and interpretation can be seen below:

No. Name Class Maximum Score Score
1 AVH 8A 10 10
2 AI 8A 10 10
3 ASR 8A 10 10
4 ACW 8A 10 9
5 ANNA 8A 10 10
6 MAK 8C 10 10
7 MSD 8C 10 6
8 NAP 8C 10 9
9 NPL 8C 10 8
10 SIZE 8C 10 10
11 AUS 8G 10 10
12 ANL 8G 10 10
13 ADF 8G 10 10
14 MJSR 8G 10 3
15 SN 8G 10 10
16 AAF 8H 10 9
17 ANR 8H 10 10
18 AIMS 8H 10 10
19 AFY 8H 10 10
20 ANA 8H 10 10
21 BAP 8I 10 9
22 AI 8J 10 9
23 BPA 8J 10 10
24 DEP 8J 10 6
25 FLC 8J 10 10
26 FM 8J 10 10
Table 1.The Score of Exercise “My Sister’s Funny Story”

Table 1 shows the students’ scores on the exercise “My Sister’s Funny Experience” from each class. The exercise is in the same video and gives the students to le-learn the recount text. The objective of the story is mainly to teach the students about using past tense in the sentence. The result of the learning based on the score is still variant. Most of the students can reach perfect scores, while the others achieve good results. However, there is still a student who achieves a very low score. The teacher needs to give special attention to the low performed student because the student shows a very low understanding of English.

No. Aspect Score Range Score
8A 8C 8G 8H 8I 8J
1 Comprehension 1-4 4 3 2 4 4 3
2 Accuracy 1-4 4 3 3 4 4 3
3 Pronunciation 1-4 4 3 3 4 4 3
4 Spelling 1-4 4 3 3 4 4 3
Total Score 16 12 11 16 16 12
Table 2.Listening Proficiency

Table 2 shows the listening scoring based on several aspects, including comprehension, accuracy, pronunciation, and spelling. The students from several classes can reach the maximum score. Some classes are reaching a good score. Overall, the students can understand the basic exercise of listening to recount text.


Based on the explanation above, it can be concluded that the students are effectively learning listening recount text based on the exercise score. The research also found that communication media for onlischoolhoo is conducted using WhatsApp Messenger Group between the teacher and students from each class. Besides, listening to recount text materials is delivered by the teacher using YouTube videos. The problem on that situation was still no clear timeline or schedule for students to finish the assignments. The English teacher in SMP N 1 Wonoayu always prepares the supporting tools to start online well. On the other side, the teacher does not feel that the students are preparing to join the class. There are several challenges for English teachers in SMP N 1 Wonoayu in conducting online classes, including lack of technical understanding, finding the right method in listening via online learning, and motivating students to learn online.


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