VOCABULARY MASTERY AND LEARNING STRATEGY
(Pendalaman Materi Esensial pada Diklat GMP Bahasa Inggris MTs)
JAMARIS AM, M.Pd.
Widyaiswara Madya pada Balai Diklat Keagamaan Padang
Artikel ini bertujuan untuk membahas tentang cara-cara yang efektif yang dapat diterapkan oleh Guru mata pelajaran bahasa Inggris Madrasah Tsanawiyah (MTs) untuk membuat siswa menguasai kosakata dengan strategi pembelajaran bahasa Inggris. Strategi pembelajaran bahasa Inggris terkait pengajaran kosakata diberikan oleh Widyaiswara pada mata diklat pendalaman materi esensial pada Diklat Guru Mata Pelajaran Bahasa Inggris Madrasah Tsanawiyah (MTs) di Balai Diklat Keagamaan Padang. Strategi Pengembangan kosakata terdiri dari empat tahapan, yaitu : Perencanaan (Planning), Pengawasan (Monitoring), Pemecahan Masalah (Problem solving), dan pengevaluasian (evaluating). Dengan strategi ini peserta diklat dapat melatihkan bagaimana siswa menghafal kosakata dan menggunakannya. Selain itu, Widyaiswara juga dapat melatihkan peserta dengan mempelajari akar kata-kata sulit sehingga mereka bisa menerapkannya pada sekolah masing-masing.
Key Words : vocabulary mastery, learning, strategy
Vocabulary is knowledge of words and word meanings. However, vocabulary is more complex than this definition. First, words come in two forms: oral and print. Oral vocabulary includes those words that we recognize and use in listening and speaking. Print vocabulary includes those words that we recognize and use in reading and writing. Second, word knowledge also comes in two forms, receptive and productive. Receptive vocabulary includes words that we recognize when we hear or see them. Productive vocabulary includes words that we use when we speak or write. Receptive vocabulary is typically larger than productive vocabulary, and may include many words to which we assign some meaning, even if we don’t know their full definitions and connotations-or ever use them ourselves as we speak and write.
Then, based on the School-Based Curriculum of 2006 for standard competence of English, states that government or Ministry of National Education (MONE) justified the students are expected to be able to understand and comprehend the meaning in transactional/ interpersonal dialogue and sustained dialogue in daily life in context and also students are hoped to be able to access popular knowledge, while teaching material based on genres, such as; recount, narrative, procedure, spoof, report and news item text. It means that the standard competences stated in curriculum as mentioned above is not yet achieved.
Because of such phenomena the researcher very interested, and this problem need to be more investigated. At least how much vocabulary minimum approximately students have to master for reading fluently, and what strategy students do those make some of them get bad mark in pretest that have been conducting by the researcher.
Furthermore, to reach the educational goals mentioned in 2006 Curriculum (KTSP 2006) especially for junior high school students are demanded to master or develop their vocabulary skills. In order to understand English texts, students have to learn the element of vocabulary text available cover affixes , suffixes, roots, context clues, phrases, clause sentence connections, synonyms, antonyms and other variation of reading texts.
Some difficulties from the observation the researcher can see the reasons why these individual have weak vocabularies are often complex and overlapping, but here are a few of common reason for weak vocabularies. The person 1) poor memory, 2) forgetting the teacher’s instructions, 3) not listen to directions given, 4) emotion instability, due to shyness, quick temper, stubbornness, poor concentration, 5) poor use of language; speaks too fast, run words together; speak in one or two words in fragmentary sentences, 6)poor group participation ; passive in integrative, 7) lack of interest in reading; uninterested when teacher reads or tell stories.
Some difficulties from the observation the researcher can see the reasons why these individual have weak vocabularies are often complex and overlapping, but here are a few of common reason for weak vocabularies. The person 1) poor memory, 2) forget instructions from the teacher, 3) Does not listen when directions are given, 4) emotion instability, maybe shyness, quick temper, stubbornness, poor concentration, 5) poor use of language; speaks too fast, run words together; speak in one or two words in fragmentary sentences, 6) poor group participation; passive in integrative, 7) lack of interest in reading and uninteresting stories told by the teacher.
Based on the background of the problem illustrated above, it can be identified that there are some problems that need to solve immediately. First, factors that make students have difficult to comprehend the texts, how to develop vocabulary skill, and what strategies students have use to increase their vocabulary mastery and reading comprehension.
English teaching cover four skills, namely reading, listening, speaking and writing. The four skills are supported by learning of language elements. There are vocabulary, structure, pronunciation, and spelling. There for vocabulary. The researcher limits the problem on the vocabulary mastery and strategy use by students in developing students’ language skills in reading, listening, speaking and writing.
Based on the background of the problem above, the writer formulates the problem into the following questions:
Vocabulary is a knowledge that study about word, part of word that give clues to the meaning of whole words. Richard (2003:255) states that Vocabulary is a core component of language proficiency and provides much of the basis for how well learner speaks, listen, read, and write. According Hunt and Beglar in Richard and Renandya (2003: 256) discuss 3 approaches to vocabulary teaching and learning; Incidental learning (i.e., learning vocabulary as a by product of doing other thing such as reading or listening), explicit instruction, and independent strategy development. A major source of incidental learning is extensive reading, which Hunt and Beglar recommended as a regular out of class activity. Explicit instruction depends on identifying specific vocabulary acquisition target for learners. Information is now available on what such target should for learners at different proficiency levels. For example, a target of 4500 words is identified in the Cambridge English Lexicon (Hindmarsh, 1980), a core vocabulary for secondary school learners in EFL context. An additional 3000 to 5000 word is suggested for learners continuing to tertiary education studies. These words may have to be taught directly. Hunt and Beglar discuss a technique that can be employed for this purpose. In addition, learners need to be taught strategies for inferring words from context as well as those which can help learners retain the meaning of words they have encountered. Hunt and Beglar recommend a combination of all three approaches –indirect, direct and strategy training-as the basis for vocabulary program.
Next, McCarty (1984) states that vocabulary development by combining three approaches to vocabulary instruction and learning (modified from Coady, 1997a; Hulstin, Hollander & Greidanus, 1996). These three approaches –Incidental learning, explicit instruction and independent strategy development are presented as seven teaching principles. The Incidental learning of vocabulary requires that teachers provide opportunities for extensive reading and listening. Explicit instruction involves diagnosing the words learners need to know, presenting words for the first time, elaborating word knowledge, and development fluency in known word. Finally independent strategy development involves practicing guessing from context and training learns to use dictionaries.
Moreover, Nation (1990) and Laufer (1992) found that knowing a minimum of about 3,000 words was required for effective reading at the university level, whereas knowing 5000 words indicated likely academic successes. One way to estimate vocabulary size is to use Nation’s (1990) Vocabulary levels test or checklist test which requires learners to mark the words on a list that they know.
Then, Coady (1997) calls this beginner‘s paradox. He wonders how beginners can learn enough word to learn vocabulary through extensive reading when they do not know enough word to read well. His solution is to have students supplement their extensive reading with study of the 3,000 most frequent words until the words form and meaning become automatically recognized (i.e. sight vocabulary). The first stage in teaching these 3,000 words commonly begins with word pairs in which an L2 words matched with an L1 translation.
Besides, Prince (1996) found that both advanced and weaker learner could recall more newly learned word using L1 translation than using L2 context. However, weaker learners were less able to transfer knowledge from translation to into an L2 context. Nation 1990 states that Vocabulary list can be an effective way to quickly learned word pair translation. However, it is more effective to use vocabulary card because learner can control the order in which they study the words (Atkisou, 1972) also, additional information can easily be added to the cards.
In addition, Prince (1996) emphasizes that simply knowing translation for L2 words does not guarantee that they will be successfully accessed for use in an L2 context, because knowing word means knowing more than just its translated meaning or its L2 synonym. Richards’s (1976) list, Nation (1994) identifies various aspect of word knowledge such as knowing related grammatical pattern, affixes, common lexical sets typical assertion, how to use the word receptively and productively, and so on. Receptively knowledge means being able to recognize one of the aspects of knowledge through reading and listening, and productive knowledge means being able to use it in speaking and writing.
Again, elaboration activity involves expanding the connection between what they have already learned and known about new information. One way to do this is to choose L2 words from surrounding context and to explain their connection to the recently learned word (Prince, 1996). Exercise that can deepen student’s knowledge of words include the following; Sorting list of word and deciding on categories ; making semantic map with list either provide by the teacher or generated by the learner ; generating, derivatives, inflection , synonym and antonym of a word ; making trees that shows relationships between super ordinates, co-ordinates (Nation, 1994). Nation (1994) points out, developing fluency “Overlaps” most of all with developing skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing, so giving learner many opportunities to practice these skills is essential.
Then, fluency partly depends on developing sight vocabulary through extensive reading, studying high frequency word. Fluency exercise timed and paced reading. In time reading, learner may try to increase their speed by sliding a 3×5 Card or a piece of paper down the page to increase their speed while attempting to comprehend about 80% of a passage. Also learner needs to be given practice in looking at group of word rather than each individual word when reading. Teacher can ask learners to practice time reading on passage that have already been read. In the paced reading the teacher determines the time and pushes the learner to read faster. One of paced reading is the reading sprint in which learners read their pleasure-reading book for 5 minutes and count the number of page they have read. Then they try to read the same number of pages while the time they have read decrease from 5 minutes to 4 to 2 minutes for each sprint. Finally they read again for 5 minutes again in relax pace and count the number of pages they have finished (Mickulecky & Jeffries, 1996).
Quoted from Michael McCarthy in Vocabulary in use upper intermediate (2000), there are some indicators of Vocabulary Mastery; countable nouns, uncountable nouns, Collective nouns, abstract nouns, suffixes, roots, synonyms, context clues, and punctuations. In this case, a countable noun can be used with a or an with singular form, and ending in s/es for plural constructions. Meanwhile, an uncountable noun is not normally used with a or an, but it is used with articles some and any.
2. Language Learning Strategy
Rebecca L (1990) stated that “Learning strategies are specific action taken by the learners to make learning easier, faster, more enjoyable, more self directed, more effective and more transferable to new situations.”
In more detail Rebecca stated that the word came from Greek Strategic meaning generalship art of war. It was a management of troops, but related to word tactic, which tools to achieve the success of strategies. Many people use this interchangeably. It implied characteristic: planning, competition, conscious manipulation, and movement toward a goal. In non military setting, the Strategy concept has been applied to clearly non adversarial situation. Another definition; operations employed by the learner to aid the acquisition, storage, retrieval, and use of information. Chamot et al.., (1996) stated the metacognitive model process: Planning, Monitoring, Problem solving, and evaluating.
Based on the figure above it can be stated that the direct strategies for dealing with new language, is like performer in a stage play, working with the language itself in variety of specific tasks and situations. The direct class is composed of memory strategies for remembering and retrieving new information, cognitive e strategies for understanding and producing the language. Then, the compensation strategies for using the language are despite knowledge gap.
Next, the second major strategy class–Indirect strategies for general management of learning-can be linked to the director of the play. This class is made up of metacognitive strategies for co-coordinating the learning process, affective strategies for regulating emotion and social strategies for learning with other. The director serves a host function like focusing organizing, guiding , checking, correcting, coaching, encouraging and cheering performance, as well as ensuring that the performer works co-operatively with others actors in the play.
Examples; the word ‘Salonga’ in French, expression in English ‘So long,’ or I am leaving. Another example in reading applied; Benyamin reads a Germany story that contains the word Wissenschaft (Knowledge). He associate this word with English words ‘wise’ and shaft and remember the German word by thinking of knowledge as a shaft of wisdom.
This strategy combines sounds and image so that learners can more easily remember what they hear or read about new language. It is effective to teach listening and reading. The strategy has two steps. First identify a familiar words in owns language or another language that sound like new words. Second generate a visual image of new words and the familiar one interacting in some way. What is heard or read become example; word Froid in French with a familiar Freud. Sobor is Russian word for council. So Alice links the new word with so bored. Howard links the new Spanish word sombreo with somber and image a somber mean wearing a sombreo. Juliani reads the new Spanish word for waitress ‘camarera’ relate to Camera.
Furthermore, Cognitive Strategies can be applied to the four language skills particularly in:
v Receiving and sending message :
v Analyzing and reasoning.
When the students find the difficult words that they do not know the meaning of related words in a reading text. Vocabulary can give contribution to the students. She can look up the dictionary and check the meaning, another way is to study part of a word which gives clue to the meaning of whole words. The students should identify all the roots, prefix and suffix. For example: the word Transportation. Trans means across from one place to another, and Port means to carry, and ion means state of condition, the prefix that make Verb become noun. So, the meaning of transportation is the state of carrying something from one place to another”.
It is one way to motivate students in reading comprehension by fun activities to reinforce the students’ awareness. Make any reading activity pleasant and enjoyable to get new information. Another strategy is by Semantic mapping. This strategy involve arranging concept and relation on paper to create semantic map, a diagram in which the key concept. For example the central word is Hair. The word that has close meaning with hair such as: Comb, hairdresser, blow dry, barbershop, brush dryer.
Vocabulary Mastery can increase the students’ Reading Comprehension of English reading texts for the students of Madrasah Tsanawiyah. McWhorter (1992:23) stated that vocabulary mastery can increase reading comprehension significantly if the students use many strategies in reading comprehension. It has been proved in three hypotheses testing. First, Vocabulary is contributed to reading comprehension. Second, hypothesis is also proved that there is positive and significant contribution between Learning strategies and reading comprehension.
Learning strategies contribute to reading comprehension partly or together.
As mention above partly or together, the contribution of vocabulary is to know the meaning of word by leaning prefix, the strategy is to study the roots and changes of word. Skill in mechanics of Reading by strategy development of a large vocabulary, development in identifying unfamiliar words, development of speed and fluency in silent reading.
Then, Learning Strategies is very effective to the students’ Reading Comprehension. Theoretically, learning strategies are dominant factors in understanding English text. In addition, Honsenfield (1990:1996) stated that there are many strategies in reading comprehension in order to understand reading comprehension effectively. Actually, this condition is related to the time of studying English in the school. The students do not have much time to study English since there are many subjects to have study in the same time.
In addition, Whorter in Yusuf (1991:34) also said that vocabulary development should be improved by the students. It is not only influence in reading skill but also in writing, listening, and speaking skills. In vocabulary development, it also involves more than having new many vocabularies. The students should know how to use appropriate words in an appropriate sentence, such as kind of words, and changing of words.
Based on the explanation stated above, it can be concluded that :
Vocabulary mastery can increase the students’ reading comprehension of English reading texts for Madrasah Tsanawiyah at Balai Diklat Keagamaan Padang.
In order to improving students’ Vocabulary Mastery, English teachers can do the following stages:
They have to make an arrangement of learning at appropriate time like in the early morning. At the time, they have conducive moment to learn in full concentration for short-term planning.
They have to understand what strategies to tackle for solving their problems.
They can evaluate what they have got and what have not.
Here the students can monitor and control the learning process.
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