Kamis, 14 Agustus 2008
INCREASING STUDENTS' VOCABULARY TROUGHT SONG AT MTS PANCASILA BENGKULU
Hendri Firmansyah, S.Pd.I Email: firstname.lastname@example.org School of Education Graduate English Education Study Program of Tarbiyah Department Sekolah Tinggi Agama Islam Negeri (STAIN) Bengkulu Raden Fatah Street, Pagar Dewa Bengkulu Phone: (0736) 51172 Fax: 51171-51172 English is an international language which is used all over the world. In Indonesia, we learn English as a foreign language. It is a compulsory subject in the curriculum. It has been taught at school as one of the main subject from Elementary School until University. Nowadays it is also taught in the Kids Class. This effort is the way to improve English ability in order to develop English as a second language. The most important thing in learning language, especially English is learning vocabulary. Without vocabulary we can not speak, write, and understand what we are reading and listening. Mastering vocabulary is a basic matter in learning a foreign language. Thornbury (2002, 13) summed up that without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed. Thornbury (2002, 13) also stated: "If you spend most of your time studying grammar, your English will not improve very much. You will see most improvement if you learn more words and expressions. You can say very little with grammar, but you can say almost anything with words!" We realize that how importance of vocabulary learning, but it is does not mean that the other components are to be ignored such as phonology, grammar, cultured, etc. Even though the students have mastered English vocabulary well, it does not guarantee for them to use English language perfectly, because their vocabularies are just the basic for learning English. Based on Suplemen GBPP (2000, 174), at the end of the first year students of SLTP/MTs, the students are hoped to have at least 500 words to support their reading, listening, writing, and speaking. But to master vocabulary is not easy because vocabulary is one major problem for English as a foreign language. Mastering vocabulary is the basic unit of language form. Without a sufficient vocabulary, one cannot communicate effectively or express idea. Having a limited vocabulary is also a barrier that prevent students from learning foreign language. If the students do not know how to expand their vocabulary, their gradually lose interest in learning. Based researcher small observation, many students consider learning vocabulary a tedious job. They try studying list of words, with their spelling, pronunciation, meaning, synonyms, etc only to realize a few hours later that their result are hardly satisfactory. They start blaming their poor memories. They say they are discouraged by the number of words in English and their complex usage. They still have difficulties to recall or remember the vocabularies that have been learned. They come to rely on incidental learning, finding intentional studying boring and inefficient. There are some problems in teaching and mastering vocabulary. First, forgetting words rapidly. Remembering English words as a foreign language is not easy, it is depends on the learners' retention. There are several factors that make English became difficult to be remembered and forgetting words rapidly such as difficulties in pronunciation, spelling, idiomatic, and overlap meaning. Second, teaching material. In teaching vocabulary, it is also needed the appropriate materials. Teaching material is very important in learning process. The appropriate materials make the students interested in studying and the bad material will make the students bored. Third, teaching media. We have known that media is a resource to motivate the students' spirit to study. Media also help the teacher in transferring the material to the students. Fourth, teaching technique. Teaching technique also important in teaching vocabulary. A teacher should have various technique instead of using single technique in order to avoid boredom to the students. An important in teaching technique is how to motivate the students studying vocabulary, practical the effective technique to make the class livelier, make learning vocabulary easier and more pleasant. Based on researchers' small research at MTs Pancasila Bengkulu, He found several factors that caused the students get difficult in recalling the vocabulary well. Firstly is school environment of MTs Pancasila. Most of the students of MTs Pancasila were obligated to live in boarding. At the boarding they also crowded by many activities and assignments and also at school, so they have no enough time to focus in increasing their vocabulary. Secondly, students' background knowledge. The students at MTs Pancasila are from villager commonly, we have known that the education at a village do not more perfect than the education at a city/town, because at the village they hardly to get references or books as sources for learning and teaching process being perfectly. Beside that there are only several of Elementary School that offered English as a main subject to be learned. So when they came in Secondary School/Junior High School, they will get shock and difficulties in learning English moreover that choose a school at a city as MTs Pancasila Bengkulu. The information above researchers accepted from some teachers of MTs Pancasila Bengkulu. Based on the researchers' small research above, it is necessary for the teacher to find out and apply the efficient and effective teaching technique which can make the students easily and rapidly understand the English word that they have heard, read, or known. So, to make the students interest to study English, the teacher must change the technique by using song teaching technique to increase student's English vocabulary. Teaching through song is one of techniques that can be used in teaching English to increase students' vocabulary mastery, because song can improve students' interest and motivation. Motivation is one of the most important factors in language learning. It is also as a break for the routine. Song could be an essential part of English teaching. It is make the students more sensitive to the sounds and the classes become more interesting and powerful. In selecting the song should be suitable to students' level, it is because there many songs which are unsuitable for the language teaching, these song sometime have bad pronunciation. According to Palim (1990, 9), in teaching vocabulary, we have to use an extra language practice trough educationally sound activities such songs and it make the learning English a joyful activity, to develop a positive attitude to language learning. Song is a good way to teach in an edutainment way, because they incorporate all the language skills such as listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Commonly, the youngsters like and interest the songs because they can express what they were feel. Learn best when they are motivated by being in the activity, by seeing the result which give them a feeling of achievement. We have known that the essential part of vocabulary learning is repetition. Thornbury (2000, 54) stated that in song teaching technique, the students repeats an words/utterance aloud as soon as he/she heard it. Nation in Cameron (2001, 84) suggested that a new word needs to be met at least five or six times in a text book unit before it has any change of being learnt. So, if the songs are repeated many times it will help students in memorizing words. The researcher always believe that teaching vocabulary is one of the most important elements of teaching English. Furthermore, the researcher strongly convinced that by using successful techniques and appealing tools (for example songs) to teach new vocabulary items, students will find words easier to remember and will become more motivated in class. By engaging in a pleasurable experience, the students are relaxed and their inhibitions about acquiring a second language are lessened. In preparing the materials that will be taught to the students, first of all we have to know the learners are, because if we have known who the learners are, we can choose appropriate materials that suitable to the level of learners (whether beginners, intermediate, or advanced). Beware, Cameron (2001, 72) stated that in planning and teaching vocabulary, we need to take account of the first language background to know what will work and that what may be difficult for students. It is also becomes quickly apparent that learning a new word in not a simple task that is done once and then completed. Second, we must have more effective techniques in teaching and learning vocabulary. It is needed in order the teacher and learners do not bore and make to make the class livelier, make learning vocabulary easier and more pleasant. An important in learning vocabulary is memorizing a large of vocabularies. Thornbury (2002, 23) stated that the learner needs not only to learn a lot of words, but to remember them. In fact, learning is remembering. To keep our memorizing of words, we must repeat and recycle the vocabularies that have been memorized. The words stand a good change of being remembered if they have been met at least seven times over space interval. Thornbury (2002, 24), the time-honored way of 'memorizing' new material is trough repeated rehearsal of the material whole it is still in working memory. Cameron (2001, 84) offered five essential steps in vocabulary learning that are having sources for encountering new words, getting a clear image, whether visual or auditory of both, for form of the new word, learning the meaning of the world, making a strong memory connection between the form and meaning of the word We have seen that it is a lot to be learnt about a word. Learning word is a process that continues, but the change in nature as it continues. In increasing vocabulary trough song need more continual process of trying, to keep learning can be done one day but need doing again the next. Looking at the five steps, we can see that each step is in fact something that need to be happen over and over again, so that each time something new is learnt or remember. Saricoban (2000, 3) said that songs are one of the most enchanting and culturally rich resources that can easily be used in language classrooms. Songs offer a change from routine classroom activities. They are precious resources to develop students abilities in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. They can also be used to teach a variety of language items such as sentence patterns, vocabulary, pronunciation, rhythm, adjectives, and adverbs. According to Tirtibisono (1996, 15), sing a song is a unique way to learning English fast. We have known that the most of people specially the young men like song. Trough songs they can express their sadness, happiness, fun, sorrow, and pray or pea for the God. Songs have been involved in our life, culture, night and day. Lo and Li in Schoepp (2001, 1) stated that learning English through songs develops a non-threatening classroom atmosphere in which the four language skills can be enhanced. According to Gatbonton and Segalowitz in Schoepp (2001, 2), using songs can help automatize the language development process, the automatization would occur through repetitive exercises in a non-communicative environment. References 1. Cameron, Lynne. 2001. Teaching Languages to Young Learners. Cambridge Language Teaching Library. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2. Departemen Pendidikan Nasional. 2000. Penyempurnaan/Penyesuaian Kurikulum 1994 SLTP (Suplemen GBPP) Mata Pelajaran Bahasa Inggris. Jakarta. 3. Palim, John and Paul Power. 1990. Jamboree Communication Activities for Children. Hong Kong: Nelson. 4. Saricoban, Arif dan Esen Metin. 2000. Songs, Verse and Games for Teaching Grammar. The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. VI, No. 10, http://iteslj.org/. 5. Schoepp, Kevin. 2001. Reason For Using Songs In The ESL/EFL Classroom. Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey. The Internet TESL Journal. Vol. VII No. 2 http://iteslj.org/ 6. Thornbury, Scott. 2002. How to Teach Vocabulary. Series Editor: Jeremy Harmer. Malaysia: Longman. 7. Tirtobisono, Yan. 1996. Practical English Conversation. Surabaya: Arkola.