"IMPROVING VOCABULARY ABILITY BY USING COMIC"
Students’ learning outcome, which is still considered as unsuccessful, has always been the focus of criticism towards the failure of teaching of English in Indonesia. As a consequence English teachers are demanded to be responsible for the failure in making the students capable of using English for communication both productively and receptively. To alleviate this ordeal, educators, practitioners, and policy makers quite often pay very much attention to research dealing with the curriculum, methodology and teachers excluding such significant variables as the learner perspective. They have rarely taken the learner perspective into consideration as a very important contribution to the learning process.
Does the failure have any relations to these factors? Some English textbooks written for young learners seem to neglect these factors. As a matter of fact, many research findings have shown the powerful role of the students in improving their learning outcome.
Teaching vocabulary in Indonesia is considered to be the most difficult, pronunciation, structure, discourse, and the social context of culture and situation. In short, it needs the mastery of the linguistic and the cultural competence. Besides, as vocabulary is difficult, more effort is required on the part of the students and teachers. It is not enough for the students to listen or to speech only. The teachers need to give the students’ activities to practice the new speech among the four basic skills of language. Bourdons in Nunan (1993) stated that spoken language needs the mastery of vocabulary habit. This means that practice vocabulary needs much time to fulfil the requirements of the mastery of spoken English, either from school or the environment.
Teaching English at Senior High School in Indonesia as stated in Curriculum 2004 revised in 2006 covers abilities four aspects of language. One of them is vocabulary ability. Paultson and Brunder (1975) stated that the objective of the language teaching is the production of the speaker’s competence to communicate in the target language. Rivers (1968) stated that the teacher should give the students opportunities to practice vocabulary. She further stated that if the students are able to practice the new speech habit throughout as the children do in his native language, the problem of vocabulary fluency of foreign language would be lessened.
Teaching vocabulary at Senior High School in Indonesia is one of the main focuses in the English teaching. Therefore the English teachers should find out the effort on searching and creating a new model in presenting materials, in order to increase vocabulary ability.
Based on the background above, the researcher formulates the following research questions: (1) Do the students have high motivation in vocabulary English using comic?; (2) Does the use of comic through peer work significantly improve their ability to speak English?
Related to the problem statement above, the objective of this research is then specified: (1) to know about the effectiveness of using comic in improving their motivation to speak English through peer work; (2) to know about the effectiveness of using comic through peer work in improving their ability to speak English.
The result of this research is expected to be useful information to: (1) increase the teachers’ knowledge of English and share experiences in improving vocabulary ability using comic; (2) encourage the teachers’ colleagues in doing action research in improving their teaching as the professional practices; (3) give any contribution to the general public in increasing knowledge concerning about classroom action research and get any reflection for being perfection.
This research is done by the subject of the students of the third class of SMAN 1 MATARAM using comic through peer work to improve their ability to speak English. The researcher focused his research in improving vocabulary ability and the students’ motivation in the process of teaching and learning using comic. The topics or themes used were: (1) Global warming; (2) Daily activity. Comic through peer work were used to attract and encourage the students to improve their ability to construct their understanding and the ability to speak English and help the teacher to present the materials.
2. THE REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
The researcher found some studies had been conducted using the students’ own picture through peer work in improving their ability to speak English. Some of them: (1) Rahman, Aulia (2007) in his research stated that teaching vocabulary here is how teacher can give a good theme to the students, the theme must make students fill happy so they will give attention all times during the teaching process. The learning and teaching of a second or foreign language is a complex process. Learning is “Acquiring or getting of knowledge of subject or skill by study, experience, or instruction.” Similarly, teaching, which is implied in the first definition of learning, may be defined as. “Showing of helping someone to learn how to do something, giving instructions, guiding in the study of something, providing with knowledge, causing to know or understand.” Teaching cannot be defined apart from learning. (2) Westnood, Peter and Oliver (1975) stated that in improving oral language there are four ways should be considered in which teachers sometimes operate to restrict language development or indeed at times train students not to listen but to speak; (3) Hergenhalm in Elliott (1996) stated that good teaching begins with knowing what you want to teach: the stimuli, you must also identify the responses you want to connect to the stimuli and timing of appropriate satisfiers. (4) Hulse in Elliott (1996) on the effective teaching and effective learning stated that feedback or reinforcement of asking question is very important. It is a powerful tool of controlling behaviour of the students. If you praise students’ correct responses immediately and the students increase correct responses; (5) Erna (2006) in his research stated the way of teaching vocabulary as follow: The stages of teaching and learning vocabulary is divided into three stages which commonly known as presentation, practice, and production. (5) Nunan (1993) distinguished between motor-perceptive skills, which are concerned with correctly using the sounds and structures of the language, and interactional skills, which involve using motor-perceptive skills was all that one needed in order to communicate successfully. Besides, he suggested that, in particular, learners need to develop skills in the management of interaction involves such things as knowing when and how to take the floor, when to introduce a topic or change the subject, how to invite someone else to speak, how to keep a conversation going, when and how to terminate the conversation and so on.
Vocabulary lesson can follow the usual pattern of preparation, presentation, practice, evaluation, and extension. The teacher can use the preparation step to observe, draw, and establish a context for vocabulary task on certain objects and things (where, when, why, with whom it will occur) and to initiate awareness of vocabulary skill to be targeted. In presentation, the teacher can provide learners with a reproduction model that furthers learner comprehension and help them become more attentive observers of language use. Practice involves learners in reproducing the target structure, usually in controlled or highly supported manner. Evaluation involves directing attention to the skill being examined and asking learners to monitor and assess their own progress. Finally, extension consists of activities that ask learners to use strategy or skill in a different context or authentic communicative situation, or to integrate use of new skill or strategy with previously acquired ones (Brown, 1994).
Vocabulary function is the productive and interactive skill. (1) What is productive skill? With reference to usage, it is then perfectly true to say that vocabulary is productive and makes use of the aural medium. Widdowson (2003) described that the act of communication through vocabulary is commonly performed in face-to-face interaction and occurs as part dialogue or other forms of verbal exchange. What is said, therefore, is dependent on an understanding of what else has been said, whether by the speaker or the interlocutor in the interaction; (2) What is an interactive skill? Richards et al. (2000) stated that vocabulary is rarely done in one direction or in the form of monologue. It involves the participation of the listener. In an interactive communication, a speaker, and therefore the speaker also becomes a listener. Why comic? A wise statement says ‘I hear I forget, I see I know, and I do I understand. This means that if we have learning experiences by observing, drawing, doing and also what our eyes see and catch most of the time will stay long in our memory. Therefore, the statement strengthens to improve vocabulary ability by using comic as media to teach English. Pictures as visual aids will attract students’ attention, and motivate them to learn. In addition, using comic means that the students try to connect the plot in the picture to be a link of story.
Westwood, Peter and Oliver (1979) stated the principles of oral language should the language program of teaching vocabulary be based on: (1) create an enjoyable, entertaining, social learning situation, which gives pleasure to the students; (2) keep the peer work activity; (3) arrange for fragment, intensive sessions in two or three short sessions daily; (4) ensure active participation remembering that it is what a student practices saying, not what he hears, that improves communicating ability; (5) have clearly defined, short term goals for each sessions: teaching a certain adjective, adverb, or conjunction: ‘and’ and’ but’: (6) observe the slow learners and give some degree of repetition and our learning if necessary; (7) use material such as practices and games to hold attention as the basis for language simulation; (8) use pleasure and praise as reinforces.
One authentic material that has been explored over the past few years is the comic strip or comic book (see Davis, 1990, for a detailed bibliography). Before this form of educational entertainment emerged to the foreground, it was often believed (and still is by some social critics) that "comic books were so educationally unsound that their use would lead to mental stagnation (Ellman, 1979, p. 24; MacGregor, 1996, p. 7).
Teachers, businesses, and publishers, however, have realized that comic strips and comic books have a widespread appeal to all age groups and levels of society because they reflect authentic language and culture, for example, social commentary, human idosycracies, stereotypes, and life conflicts (Conrad, 1993; Elkins & Bruggemann, 1971), and contain a richness in story content and character development (Yoshihiro, 1992). In fact, it is one of the most widely read media throughout the world, especially in Japan where comic books accounted for 22.9% of the entire publications in 1994 (Weng Kin, 1995).
The resurgence of interest in this form of entertainment has spawned a host of texts and magazines seeking to ride the wave on using comics for educational purposes. All of these have taken advantage of the inherent characteristics that make this medium so attractive as an educational tool: (a) A built-in desire to learn through comics (Richie, 1979); (b) easy accessibility in daily newspapers and bookstands; (c) the novel and ingenious way in which this authentic medium depicts real-life language and "every facet of people and society" (Yoshihiro, 1992, p. 9); and (d) the variety of visual and linguistic elements and codes that appeal to students with different learning styles (Bangs, 1988; Davis, 1990; Kossack & Hoffman, 1987). Furthermore, many lessons can be adapted to bring the material within the linguistic reach of different levels of students.
Many native English teachers in Japan are assigned listening and vocabulary classes, with limited opportunities to teach the other skills areas. There is, however, a general movement on many fronts to shift this once generic class towards more content-based or ESP courses. The result has been that English now becomes more than a mere frill to a true vehicle to disseminate one's ideas. With the emergence of such a need, comics can fill this gap because of its multi-dimensional nature, combing both words and pictorial images.
The classes I teach generally meet twice a week for 90 minutes over 20 weeks. The underlying framework behind group-oriented projects takes root in the concept of cooperative learning, where the groups' efforts are focused on accomplishing a meaningful task with shared rewards. Here is one of a group of five projects I carry out during the year.
The method used in this research was classroom action research (CAR) focused on improving vocabulary ability using comic. The subject of the research consisted of 20 students of the third class of SMAN 1 MATARAM in 2009-2010 academic year.
This research had one dependent variable and one independent variable: (1) the independent variable of this research was the teaching device using comic through peer work. Using comic means the pictures belong to the students (e.g. pictures taken from magazines and newspapers) or the pictures that the students had drawn by themselves. Peer work was a teaching technique/activity which allowed students to act in accordance with the assignment; (2) the dependent variable of this research was vocabulary ability. It was empirically by the students’ mastery of using comic which covered fluency, pronunciation, vocabulary, structure, discourse and the social context of vocabulary.
To collect data, the instruments to be used: (1) test consisted of pre-test, post-test, and formative test; (2) observation. Test after the first treatment and test after the second treatment administered to find out the improvement of the students’ vocabulary ability, the formative test was administered to measure about the improvement of their vocabulary ability from the cycle 1 and cycle 2. The observation was administered to measure the characteristics of the students towards the application of using comic through peer work, and questionnaire was administered to support the data of the students’ improvement in vocabulary English ability.
The activities of the research used the following procedures:
1. The researcher observed the previous students’ vocabulary average.
2. The researcher planned the action, constructing the lesson plan for the first cycle using comic.
3. The researcher implemented the fist action cycle (giving treatment, using comic).
4. The researcher observed the classroom while implementing the actions in first cycle.
5. The researcher gave reflection to the results of the observation by using the guide of observation in the form of checklist.
6. The researcher analyzed the result of series picture and then classified them qualitatively.
7. The researcher constructed the lesson plan for second cycle.
8. The researcher implemented the second action cycle.
9. The researcher observed the classroom while implementing the second action cycle.
10. The researcher reflected the results of class observation in the second cycle.
11. Analyzing the results of reading test in the second cycle quantitatively and then classified them qualitatively,
In the first treatment, the researcher did some activities related to the using of comic. The topic chosen was Global Warming. The first treatment activities were:
a. Warm up:
1. Opening. This activity is as like greeting and asking students’ condition.
2. Brain storming to the matter. This activity was done to guide students to the matter given.
3. Distributing the comic.
1. The teacher asked the students to guess the picture and asking the difficult vocabulary related to the picture.
2. The teacher wrote the difficult vocabularies related to the picture on the board.
3. The teacher drilled the difficult vocabulary related to the pictures.
4. The teacher asked them to discuss with their partners about the picture and the plot of the story.
5. The teacher asked them to tell the pictures in front one by one.
1. The teacher asked their difficulty and their problem in vocabulary process.
2. The teacher gave motivation in studying and closing the lesson.
From the first treatment, the research got the problem as bellow:
1. The pictures were not so interesting.
2. The students got difficulty in contracting the sentence, because many new vocabularies for them, so they need long time to memorize.
3. The researcher needed to pay attention more to the students who were weak in vocabulary in guided them to make the story.
After analyzing the problem above, the researcher need to solve the problem. So on the second treatment, the researcher would be easy in attempting the method. Then after choosing the interesting pictures, the researcher made a lesson plan. Then the researcher did some activities in implementing the second treatment. The treatment was as follow;
a. Warm up:
1. Opening. This activity is as like greeting and asking students’ condition.
2. The teacher gave brain storming to the matter. This activity was done to guide students to the matter given.
3. The teacher distributed the comic.
1. The teacher asked them to pay attention to the picture.
2. The teacher asked the students to guess the picture and asking the difficult vocabulary related to the picture.
3. The teacher wrote the difficult vocabularies related to the picture on the board.
4. The teacher drilled the difficult vocabulary related to the pictures.
5. The teacher asked them to discuss with their partners.
6. The teacher asked them to present their story in their group first.
7. The teacher asked each group to give correction and suggestion to their friend’s error.
8. After the correction, the teacher asked every student to tell the pictures in front.
9. The teacher asked another friend to give suggestion and correction
1. The teacher asked their difficulty and their problem in vocabulary process.
2. The teacher gave motivation in studying and closing the lesson.
Based on those activities, the problems on the first treatment could be eliminated. Here, the researcher gave more assistance and support to the weak students. Besides that, the correction and suggestion from their partner in peer work cold eliminate the error when they deliver their story in front. The topic about daily activity and the picture chose were so interesting and made them enthusiastic to deliver their story.
5. DATA ANALYSIS
6. CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTION
Based on the findings and discussion in the previous parts, the following conclusions are:
(1) The implementation of teaching English in this action research using comic through peer work as teaching strategy could improve the students’ motivation in improving their ability to speak English at both the first cycle and second cycle. It can be shown from the students’ increasing average in vocabulary score. In the first treatment, the students’ average was 67.8, then, on the second treatment, the students’ average increase to be 78.8; (2) the use of comic through peer work as teaching strategy could improve vocabulary ability significantly. This led to the conclusion that using of comic through peer work as a teaching strategy is a need in English language teaching and learning in improving their ability to speak English in the term of vocabulary, grammar, and their performance based on the context of situation.
The first is addressed to the third class of SMAN 1 MATARAM dealing with the classroom implementation of the findings. The second one is addressed to the foreign language teaching researchers.
1) The classroom implementation of the findings
Since the implementation of using comic has been proven to be successful in improving their ability to speak English, it is strongly suggested that such teaching strategy “improving vocabulary ability using comic” could be continually implemented in teaching vocabulary. Assistance and giving motivation to the students is much needed, besides choosing interesting pictures.
2) Further researchers
The emphasis of conducting this research was the improving vocabulary ability using comic. The result of this research showed that vocabulary ability could get significantly improvement.
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