THE USE OF PICTURE SERIES TO IMPROVE STUDENTS’ ABILITY IN WRITING RECOUNT TEXTS (A Classroom Action Research on the Eight Grade of SMP N 3 Kartasura in 2009/2010 Academic Year)

LUQMAN HAKIM, MUHAMMAD (2010) THE USE OF PICTURE SERIES TO IMPROVE STUDENTS’ ABILITY IN WRITING RECOUNT TEXTS (A Classroom Action Research on the Eight Grade of SMP N 3 Kartasura in 2009/2010 Academic Year). Other thesis, Universitas Sebelas Maret.

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    Abstract

    Writing is as a means of communication. Writing involves transferring a message from our thoughts using language in the written form and it is a communicative competence. According to Brown (1994: 227), communicative competence is relative, not absolute, and depends on the cooperation of all the participants. Communicative competence enables one to convey and interpret messages and to negotiate meanings interpersonally within specific context. In addition, Canale and Swain (in Brown, 1994: 227) state that communicative competence consists of grammatical competence, discourse competence, sociolinguistic competence, and strategic competence. The grammatical competence and discourse competence reflect the use of linguistic system itself. The sociolinguistic competence and strategic competence reflect the functional aspects of communication. By acquiring communicative competence, the students are expected to have knowledge of grammar and vocabulary of the language; to have knowledge of rules of writing and to be able to apply it in real communication appropriately. Writing is a productive skill. It is very useful for students because it can convey their message through their minds in the written form. It is placed on the last stage among the four skills. Writing is the production of the written word in the form of text and it must be read and comprehended in order to communicate to take place. In other words, in writing, a writer communicates his/her ideas by considering a known or unknown reader who will get their ideas and their meanings in the form of correct written text. To write well, people must have good writing capabilities too. Moreover, someone who wants to write essay or story must know in writing process and the aspects of writing skills. The people must be able to organize the idea, to construct sentences, to use the spelling and punctuation well. Besides, they must be able to arrange their writings into cohesive and coherent paragraphs and texts. According to Scott and Ytreberg (1998: 69), writing is a good thing. Even if there are difficulties in writing in the foreign language, it is still useful, essential, integral and enjoyable part of the foreign language lesson. Writing can add another physical dimension to the learning process; it lets pupils express their personalities; it helps to consolidate learning in the other skill areas; it allows for conscious development of language; and it is valuable in itself. Writing is not a natural skill because one can’t acquire this ability automatically and easily. Writing skill differs from others skill like speaking and listening. The two other skills can be gained through natural processes. Since one was born, he has got considerable experiences of listening and speaking. In writing, he must recognize and understand new symbols. It is in schools that he gets knowledge of new symbols in the written form when beginning to understand the significance of letter on paper. Writing is therefore a sophisticated skill combining a numbers of different elements that must be grammatically connected. Writing is considered the most difficult to be learned and mastered because it involves some language components (spelling, language use, vocabulary, and punctuation). Writing requires the rules of English grammar and mechanics such as the correct use of verbs and pronouns, as well as commas and other marks of punctuation and it also involves many aspects such as paragraph development, organization of content and it demands standard form of grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. In writing, the relationships between sentences operate at several levels. There needs to be thematic unity; there need also to be a logical progression, often made clear by the use of conjunctions which express on the surface an underlying logic in the propositions of the text; there needs also to be grammatical linkage between sentences (Harris, 1993: 6). According to Hadfield (2004: v), there are some difficulties related to the writing. Firstly, there is psychological difficulty in which the writer has to decide what the information the reader needs and how best to express this. Secondly, there is linguistic difficulty in that the language used in written language is different from that used in speech. Thirdly, there is cognitive difficulty in which that the students have to organize their thought on paper. That is why writing is regarded as the most difficult language skill to learn for a language learner. The students of class VIII-E SMP N 3 Kartasura also faced some problems above. Based on the observation conducted, it was found that the students’ ability in writing recount texts was still far from what was expected. From the result of the students’ writing, the average score of the students was 52.65. This score was computed from the average score of the element of writing. The first element depends on the content that was 16.66. The average score of organization was 10.76 and followed by the average of vocabulary, 10.51. The last two elements of writing were grammar and mechanic which had the average score 11.13 and 3.57. From the writing score, there were only 3 students who got writing score above 67.5. It means they could fulfil the passing grade of writing skill in English lesson. While the others 32 students got score under 67.5. It means that they still failed to write English well. The scores of the students showed that the worst element of writing is on content. Then, it was followed by grammar, vocabulary, organization, and mechanic. Most of their writing consists of ungrammatical sentences; their ideas moved away from focus and sometimes did not have any supporting details. They also had incorrect spelling and punctuation errors. It could be concluded that they still could not write English well. These evidences were also supported by the result of interview. The interview was conducted to know the students’ perception toward writing skill. When the students were asked about writing, most of them reacted that writing is difficult. It could be seen from quotations of the following result of interview: - “Nulisnya sulit, mas. Tulisannya jelek og.” (A.3) - “Nulisnya itu dalam terjemahannya bahasa Indonesia ke bahasa Inggris gitu. Kosakatanya juga lumayan susah.” (A.7) - “Ya, pokoknya menulis itu sulit. Menulis itu agak-agak gimana gitu.” (A.18) - “Kosakatanya belum terlalu bisa. Pengembangan paragrafnya sulit” (A.29) - “Gak bisa nulis og. Kosakatanya kurang.” (A.30) It means that students still regarded writing as a difficult skill. Most of them found difficulties in developing paragraph and finding appropriate vocabulary. Some of them did not know the correct spelling of some certain words. It means that they did not revise what they had written. The interview was also conducted to the teacher in order to know the condition of the students of class VIII-E. The questions of interview were related to the students’ writing ability, the difficulties that the students’ faced in writing, and the teaching writing in class. The teacher said that the students of VIII-E SMP N 3 Kartasura have low ability in writing. As stated by the English teacher of class VIIIE: “Writing skill mereka belum terlalu bagus karena terkendala dengan vocabulary yang mereka punya. Mereka juga kurang begitu aktif dalam menulis karena lack of vocabularies tadi.” She also stated that the students got difficulties in developing paragraph, using correct tense, and finding appropriate vocabulary which could be seen from the result of interview as follows: “Siswa pasif karena terkendala dalam mengembangkan kalimat. Mereka juga masih lack of vocabularies atau kurang dalam kosakata. Mereka juga masih lemah dalam comprehension begitu pula dengan past verb mereka juga masih sangat lemah.” The teacher seldom taught writing to the students through writing process. She just explained the patterns and gave the example of the text, and then she asked the students to write a certain topic without any guidance, as what she said in the interview: “Setelah saya ajarkan mereka tentang ciri-ciri dan contoh dari teks tersebut kemudian saya suruh mereka untuk menulis paragraph berdasarkan teks yang dimaksud dan saya juga jarang menyuruh mereka untuk menulis teks jadi mereka juga agak kurang dalam menulis.” From the result of interview, it could be concluded that the students still have low ability in writing. They faced problems in writing, especially in making correct grammatical sentences, developing paragraph and finding appropriate vocabulary. In addition, the teacher seldom taught writing to the students through writing process which only gave the students to write in a certain topic without any guidance. She only demanded the product of students’ writing. The result of questionnaire also showed that 73.5 % of students felt that writing is difficult. They did not like when the teacher asked them to write. Most of them, 61.8 %, felt that the time given for writing is not enough. 55.9 % students got difficulties in starting to write and 52.9 % seldom paid attention to choose appropriate vocabulary even 20.6 % did not do that. 52.9 % students did not arrange the outline or draft before writing. From the preliminary observation then, the researcher concluded that there were two main causes: from teacher and student. Firstly, the teacher did not apply writing process in teaching writing. She just explained the characteristics and the examples of the texts. Then, she only demanded the students’ writing product and she only gave fewer portions for writing whereas writing is a complex activity. The teacher just demanded the product of the students’ writing that must fulfil the written language rules. Moreover, she did not give enough attention to teach students how to write in English correctly. Writing class generally ignored the writing process. The teacher asked the students to write in a certain topic. The time given by the teacher was limited. The teacher did not consider that writing is a complex activity in which it needs more time for revising the content, grammar and conducting consultation. Secondly, the students still did not master on writing skill. Their ideas were not coherent. They sometimes lost their ideas and stuck. So, they could not continue their writing. They did not also use tense in the right context, because they were still confused to use tense correctly. They were lack of vocabulary and their understanding of mechanic was low. They seldom read their writing after they finished writing. That was why, their writing were not coherent. They also thought that time for writing was limited. Because of these they got difficulties in writing and the result of their writing were still far from what were expected. Based on the evidences above, the writer conducted a classroom action research in order to improve the students' writing ability. The classroom action research focused on the improving students’ writing ability especially in the form of recount text. This was done for the reason that this kind of writing form was suggested in the syllabus used in SMP that is KTSP. Usually in the writing class, the teacher did not use a media to improve students’ writing ability yet. The teacher only used handbook and students worksheet. In this research, the researcher used picture series to improve students writing ability, especially in writing recount text. Picture in writing is one way to solve the problems in writing. Picture is categorized as one of aids in language teaching. Visual aids are a situation where the learner can see what is named by the word to be learned (Allen, 1983: 33). Pictures are not just as aspect of method but through their representation of places, objects, and people they are essential part of the overall experiences we must help our students to cope with (Wright, 1997: 2). In addition, he mentions that pictures can be used by teacher and students whatever emphasis of the syllabus they are following. Furthermore, he states pictures make particularly powerful contribution to both the content and the process of language learning. Using picture series in writing recount texts has many advantages. Raimes (1983: 36) says that a picture sequence, such as comic strip, provides the subject matter for writing narrative and for speculating about the story beyond the pictures in the strip. A set of parallel picture – pictures that show a similar scene or tell a similar story – provides material that offers guidance on vocabulary, sentence structure, and organization yet lets the students write about new subject matter. On the other hand, picture sequences in which there is ambiguity and the opportunity for widely divergent interpretations are an excellent basis for stimulating individual response and a variety of written outcomes. Besides, the students usually have other perceptions and interpretations to the provided picture. The students just want to see and focus to the one object from the provided picture. In this study, the writer tries to apply picture series during the writing process because hopefully it can give students an interest and motivation in learning. By providing it, the students will not be bored again to the writing and they can develop and share their ideas in written form. It also makes a sense of the context of a language for the students since writing needs more vocabularies that must be mastered by the students. It also has a specific point or stimulus to the students in process writing where it can also express their ideas and it can develop the content of writing. It can lead students to have new experience of real writing activity and will give them understanding that writing is a means of communication. It also gives students enough time to write since writing is a process of expressing ideas in written form. It will provide information whether the students are already successful in the running cycle or not.

    Item Type: Thesis (Other)
    Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
    P Language and Literature > PE English
    Divisions: Fakultas Keguruan dan Ilmu Pendidikan
    Fakultas Keguruan dan Ilmu Pendidikan > Pendidikan Bahasa Inggris
    Depositing User: Budhi Kusumawardana Julio
    Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2013 21:39
    Last Modified: 13 Jul 2013 21:39
    URI: https://eprints.uns.ac.id/id/eprint/3386

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