THE USE OF CROSSWORD PUZZLE IN IMPROVING STUDENTS¶ VOCABULARY MASTERY (A Classroom Action Research on Second Grade Students in SMP

Alfa Centauri Bandung)

A Research Proposal

Alifa Binta S 0606916

ENGLISH EDUCATION DEPARTMENT FACULTY OF LANGUAGE AND ART EDUCATION INDONESIA UNIVERSITY OF EDUCATION 2010

1. Introduction Language and human beings can not be separated. Human uses language to survive since it is used to express ideas, to form thoughts and feelings, will and activity. Achieving the communicative function, it is needed to have knowledge about language itself. There are many lists of the areas of knowledge which every first language and second learners must acquire. The knowledge of language for first language is automatically available and is somehow usually acquired with no conscious effort. It is comparable for second language, even though much time and effort on learning, the knowledge is seldom achieved. There is several language components involved in language learning; they are vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. Keith Folse states in his article, The Underestimated Importance of Vocabulary in Foreign Language Classroom many argue that vocabulary is one of the most important-if not the most important components in learning a foreign language, and foreign language curricula must reflect this. Vocabulary has a significant role in language. Basically, learning language is a matter of learning vocabulary of that language. Research has shown that vocabulary knowledge plays a critical role in students¶ literacy development (Scott, Jamieson-Noel, & Asselin, 2003). Wilkins (1972) states that without grammar very little can be conveyed; without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed. Thus, it can be concluded that learning vocabulary is important as the basic need to encounter a new language. Vocabulary is taught in many different ways. Based on study conducted by Rosmayanti (2008), in most Indonesian traditional English language class, most teachers use conventional method in teaching vocabulary in which teacher only give the students a non-stop drilling memorization practice. This type of learning can sometimes make learners frustrated when they have to remember or to memorize a list of new words at once. Thus, working this way, after a short period of time, many learners may find out that learning vocabulary in lists does not satisfy themselves, and they think the cause for it is just their bad memorization, Gnoinska (1998:12). Therefore, the ³look and remember´ way of vocabulary learning seems to be not very effective for learners of the English language. Cited in Iin Nurhasanah¶s paper (2006), studies conducted by Beck, Mc Keown and Kucan (2002) show that provided dictionary definitions and asked brief questions about the words indicated: 63% of students¶ sentences were judged to be ³odd´ (Miller & Gildea, 1985), 60% of

students¶ responses were unacceptable (Mc Keown, 1993), and students frequently interpreted one or two words from s definition as the entire meaning (Scott & Nagy, 1989). In the first case study in Indonesia, that type of vocabulary learning makes the students bored, less motivated and caused lack of vocabularies and fluency. Lewis & Hill (1990) states that students are unlikely to be very successful at learning unless they enjoy the process. In the second case, memorization may feel burdened when they cannot remember the list of words given. Therefore, teacher needs strategy to avoid this kind of problem by creating activities which is interesting and worth doing, especially in this case is vocabulary learning lesson to encourage the students. Since, students¶ feeling toward the lesson will influence the learning success outcome. One of the activities of teaching and learning vocabulary which is believed to be the best way of teaching and learning vocabulary is through game. Ersoz (2000) holds that games are highly appreciated thanks to their amusement and interest. Nguyen Thi Huyen and Khuat Thi Thu Nga (2003) say that:
Games have been shown to have advantages and effectiveness in learning vocabulary in various ways. First, games bring in relaxation and fun for students, thus help them learn and retain new words more easily. Second, games usually involve friendly competition and they keep learners interested. These create the motivation for learners of English to get involved and participate actively in the learning activities. Third, vocabulary games bring real world context into the classroom, and enhance students¶ use of English in a flexible, communicative way.

Games also help the teacher to create contexts in which the language is useful and meaningful. The students want to take part and in order to do so they must understand what the others are saying or written, and they must speak or write in order to express their own point of view or give information. Jung (2006) considers that the usage of games can be a powerful language learning tool. There are so many games that can be applied by teacher concerning to how to improve the students¶ vocabulary mastery, such as the alphabet game, hangman, word search, puzzle and so on. One of the most famous games in the rest of twentieth century named crossword now has been beneficially used in teaching learning process. Jones (2007 in Building Vocabulary Skill) cites that crossword solving involves several useful skills including vocabulary, reasoning, spelling and word attack skills. To solve any crossword puzzle, a person must be able to identify

and understand the terms which are being used. This often involves acquiring new vocabulary or terminology. Paul (2003:99) says that crossword puzzle can be used at any level, and is wonderful way to bring together vocabulary from many different lessons. Having the explanations above; the writer which is also a teacher with the same vocabulary learning problems grasps that crossword puzzle game might be solvable. The researcher will conduct Classroom Action Research as a learning therapy. Dunkin & Biddle; Hopkins (1993) explains that Classroom Action Research is a kind of research on instructional activity, aimed to discuss all kinds of problem that appear during teaching and learning process and to find solutions to the problems faced by the teacher in the class. In this research, the writer will implement crossword puzzle game in vocabulary learning to know whether crossword improve students¶ vocabulary mastery or not. And the writer tries to investigate how the students perceive or respond toward the implementation of this game. 2. Research Questions The research is conducted under 2 major questions. They are as follow: 1. Does the use of ³Crossword´ puzzle significantly improve students¶ vocabulary mastery? 2. What are the students¶ responses toward the use of ³crossword´ puzzle in improving their vocabulary? 3. The Aims of the Research Derived directly from the mentioned research questions above, the aims of this research are: 1. to find out whether the use of ³crossword´ puzzle can significantly improve students¶ vocabulary mastery or not; 2. to find out the students¶ responses toward the use of ³crossword´ puzzle in improving their vocabulary mastery. 4. Research Methods 4.1 Research Design Regarding to the main aims of the study, classroom action research is used to find out the answers of the mentioned research questions. Classroom action research is research that is done by a person (teacher) which aims to improve teaching learning process in his/her classroom (Kemmis&McTaggart, 1988:6, as cited in Nunan, 1992). Action research consists of cycle. According to Kemmis&McTaggart, there are four basic steps in the action research. They are planning, acting, observing and reflecting.

This research will also employ descriptive qualitative research method. Verma &Beard (1981:57) states that descriptive method of research is primarily concerned with portraying the present, while according to Mc Milan& Schumacher descriptive design simply describes an existing phenomenon by using numbers to characterize individuals or a group (1989:33). Qualitative research is the research method aimed to observe people and their environment, interact with them and attempt to understand their language and point of view about their surrounding (Nasution, 2003:5). 4.2 Subject of Research The subject of research are 2nd grade students of SMP Alfa Centauri Bandung. The subjects are chosen since they experienced vocabulary learning problems. The participant of the class consists of 20 students. 4.3 Data Collection The data will be gathered by using some instruments such as follow: a. Observation is used to gain a description of how well the game work in vocabulary learning process and to the students¶ responses toward the use of ³crossword´ game in improving students¶ vocabulary mastery. b. Interview is used to gain students¶ perception toward the use of crossword puzzle in improving their vocabulary mastery. c. Field notes are used to know the instructional activities in the class during the implementation of crossword puzzle in vocabulary learning obviously in written form. d. Test is used to measure students¶ improvement of vocabulary learning. 4.4 Data Analysis The qualitative data will be obtained from the result of observation, interview and field notes. The gathered data will be analyzed descriptively. The analysis of is to find out how the crossword puzzle is used in the class to improve students¶ vocabulary mastery and the students¶ responses toward the use of crossword puzzle. To support the descriptive data, the result of test will be used to measure the students¶ improvement in vocabulary mastery. 5. Significance of Study The results of this study are expected to give alternative activity to teacher to use crossword puzzle as one of worth doing activity to improve students¶ vocabulary.

The most significant contribution of this study is to provide a description of crossword puzzle and vocabulary learning, which will show the implementations of crossword puzzle in improving vocabulary learning. The findings from this study can be used both of teacher and school board as a consideration to improve the quality of teaching learning especially in vocabulary teaching. 6. Clarification of Terms Here are some terms clarified in order to avoid misunderstanding: a. Vocabulary According to Oxford Learner¶s Dictionary New Edition, 2004, the definitions of vocabulary are: ³1) all the words that a person knows or uses; 2) all the words in a language. Vocabulary can be defined as a list words, usually in alphabetical order and with explanations of their meanings, less complete than a dictionary (Paul P, 1978: p.1229). Meanwhile, a word has three aspects; form, meaning, and distribution. b. ³Crossword´ puzzle game A crossword is a word puzzle that normally takes the form of a square or rectangular grid of white and shaded squares. The goal is to fill the white squares with letters, forming words or phrases, by solving clues which lead to the answers. In languages which are written left-to-right, the answer words and phrases are placed in the grid from left to right and from top to bottom. The shaded squares are used to separate the words or phrases. Squares in which answers begin are usually numbered. The clues are then referred to by these numbers and a direction, for example, "4-Across" or "20-Down". c. Classroom Action Research A research which is used to overcome problems occurs in the process of teaching learning. It consists of 4 actions in a cycle. They are planning, acting, observing and reflecting (Hopkins, 1992). 7. Organization of Paper Chapter I: Introduction This chapter will attempt to provide the background of the study, the statements of the problems, the aims of research, the scope of the study, the significance of the study, the research methodology, clarification of terms and Organization of paper. This chapter also

provides a brief explanation of the issues and various aspects which is related to the realization of the paper. Chapter II: Theoretical Foundation This chapter will explain related theories and literature. It describes some theories which are related to vocabulary teaching and a brief explanation of crossword puzzle in vocabulary teaching. This chapter is a basic for gaining the aims of study. Chapter III: Research Methodology This chapter will cover the research methodology that is used in this study. It includes research design, data collection and data analysis. Chapter IV: Findings and Discussions This chapter will discuss some findings of the study based on the data collected. Those findings are analyzed and presented in a systematic way. Chapter V: Conclusions and Suggestions This chapter will be divided into 2 sections. They are Conclusions and Suggestions. Conclusions will draw the important points of the research findings. While, suggestion section researcher will give some suggestion that will open an opportunity to conduct a further research on the same issue. References end the paper.

References Folse, S.K., (2004) The Underestimated Importance of Vocabulary in The Foreign Langauge Classroom. Taken from: CLEARNews Fall 2004. [27 Agustus 2010] Gairns, R and Redman, S. (1986) Working with Words. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Jones, Kerry (2007) Building Vocabulary Skill. Retrieved from:

http://vocabulary.co.il/blog/learning_vocabulary/teaching-with-crossword-puzzles/ [28Agustus 2010] Moras, S., (2001) Teaching Vocabulary to Advanced Students: A Lexical Approach. Retrieved from www.telus.net/linguisticsissues/teachingvocabulary.html [27 Agustus 2010] NN. Crossword-Wikipedia, the Free Enclycopedia. Taken from:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:CrosswordUSA.svg24 [24 July 2010] Nurhasanah, Iin. (2006) The Implementation of The Clarifying Routine Technique in Improving Students¶ Vocabulary Mastery. A Research Paper in FPBS UPI Bandung: unpublished. Susilowati. (2007) A Descriptive Study on the Vocabulary Mastery of The Eleventh Year Students of SMA Negeri 2 Surakarta Academic Year 2007/2008. Retrieved from: http://one.indoskripsi.com/judul-skripsi/pendidikan-bahasa-inggris/descriptive-studyvocabulary-mastery-eleventh-year-students-sma-negeri-2-surakarta-ac [24Juli 2010] Ur, Penny. (1991) A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wright, A., Betteridge, D., and Buckby, M., (1983) Games for Language Learning. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.

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