This chapter presents background of the study, research problems, purpose of the study, significance of the study,scope and limitation of the study, definition of the key terms, and organization of the study.
A. Background of Study
According to Chomsky in Murcia Discourse and Context in Language teaching A Guide for Language teachers (Murcia, 2000:74) “Language is a rule-governed innate system and that those who have acquired a natural language apply its rules in original and creative ways by producing utterances they have never heard before.” By using language people can express their feelings and ideas to someone else. There are so many languages in this world, one of them is English. English is an international language that is used for communication by most of people all over the world. It has become the dominant language in many fields of activity, such as industry, business, tourism, international relation, etc. English is used as the first foreign language in our country. It is used as a subject learned at the school because it gives good prospect in the future. It has been taught from elementary school up to higher education, even many courses grow offering qualified English education. In English there are four integrated skills such as listening, reading, writing, and speaking that must be mastered well. Beside that, there are many components of linguistics that can help the students in mastering English skills, such as structure ( grammar), vocabulary, and pronunciation.
In learning a foreign language, vocabulary plays an important role. It is one of the foundations for the students in studying English that can links the four skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing all together. In order to communicate well in a foreign language, students should acquire an adequate number of words and should know how to use them accurately.With sufficient of vocabulary mastery they will be very easy to understand the language. In other words, we can say that more or less the quality of English skill depends on the quantity and quality of our vocabulary achievement. Vocabulary is the most important elements that should be taught for the first in teaching English. It is the basic learning in teaching and learning English. Celce and Olshtain (2000:73) state that “ word lists were a core elements of the language curriculum” it means that words or vocabulary is the basic element to study language. So, we have to mastering in vocabulary firstly, before we are going to the high level.
As we know that in Indonesia, English takes up very important position. English as a foreign language must be taught in junior and senior high school, moreover, it becomes one of subject in national examination. So, English should be taught and learnt in appropriate ways in order to fulfill the purpose of studying. MTsN Aryojeding is one of many junior high schools that is interesting to be observed. Because this school has good reputation in term of achievements, quality of graduates and discipline in teaching and learning process, especially in English. The English teachers in this school have good method in teaching English, such as using media that is relevant to the materials, applying interesting activities like studying out of the class, doing games, etc. So, teaching and learning become not monotonous. Besides that, there is English activity out of the classroom learning. It is speaking club that encourage students to speak English. So, they can improve their speaking skill. Since last year, MTsN Aryojeding has opened a global class for first grade students. This class is just for selected students who have good academic achievement. That’s why, researcher decided to conduct a research in this school.
Students have different competence and different intelligence. We can call the students who are successful in learning as good students. According to Nunan (1999:58), “a good language learner has some characteristic, they are : (1). Find their own way in learning, (2). Creative and experiment with Language, (3). Make their own opportunities, and find strategies for getting practice in using the language inside and outside the classroom, (4). Use memonics ( rhymes, word associations, and so forth) to recall what has been learned, (5). Use linguistics knowledge, including knowledge of the their first language in mastering a second language, (6). Learn to make intelligent guesses, (7). Learn production techniques, and (8). Make errors work in order to learn and communicate.’’
Good vocabulary mastery has important roles. Firstly, it facilitates learners to understand four language skills. Secondly, it eases the process of communications. It means that if we are bad in mastering vocabulary we will get worse in English learning and vice versa. But, learning vocabulary is not easy, one of the students problems in studying vocabulary is that they are easy to memorize, but they do not remember it in long time. It means that vocabularies which they have learned are easy to forget. Referring to this case, students have different strategies in learning vocabulary, because they have different characteristics, interest, and motivation. For example, learners are interested in sport will learn a different vocabulary from those who are interested in music. This has been noted by Celce (2000:80) who said that “ even in child second language acquisition studies where two young children at the same stage of development in their second languages already exhibit noticeable differences in vocabulary development and specialization.’’
Learning new vocabulary can be both fun and simple if we employ the right vocabulary strategies. Since every student is defferent, and they learn differently too, because they have certain ways in learning. They may want to adjust their vocabulary strategies to their own personal learning style. They will choose the strategy that is suitable with themselves. So, it will become effective and joyful learning which can improve their vocabularies. They will become easy to memorize and they have strong retention in their memorization, more motivated by using their own learning strategies, increasing their language skills, and self confidence to become independent learners. As said by Cohen, ( 1990:198) in Discourse and Context in Language Teaching a Guide for Language Teachers “ The use of appropriate learning strategies often results in increased language proficiency and greater self-confidence.” So, we can conclude that learning strategies is very important in learning language, especially in learning vocabulary as one foundation in order to become successful English learners.
Based on the description above the researcher is interested in conducting a research dealing with variety of the student’s strategies when they learn vocabulary. Accordingly, the research is entitled: Investigating Students’ Strategies in Learning Vocabulary at MTsN Aryojeding.
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