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ENGLISH COMICS AS MEDIA TO IMPROVE STUDENTS VOCABULARY ABILITY

Rudi Hadi Suwarno

Abstract Vocabulary is one of three aspects of language. Together with grammar and phonology, it plays an important part in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Hence, students vocabulary is one of the most important tasks for English teachers. However, teachers often face problems to teach new vocabulary easily or especially for the teacher, how to teach his or her students to study new words easily and they cannot be easily forgotten. Based on the problems stated before, the researcher is interested in observing and analyzing students vocabulary ability by using English Comics. This research was conducted at SMP Negeri 3 Ciamis. The researcher took class 7 A as the respondents of the research. Moreover, the number of sample consists of 28 students. In this case, pre-experimental method with one-group pre-test-posttest design was used in this research, while the instrument used was English Comics Test. The data that had been collected was calculated by using the ttest formula from Burns (2000:157). The result of computation was compared with t-tabel at the degree of freedom was 27 with level of significance was 0.05 (with two-tailed test). The result of computation proves that the t-observed (=3.91) is higher the t-table (=1.706). Moreover, the null hypothesis (H0) is rejected while the alternative hypothesis (H1) is accepted. It means that there is a significant difference in students vocabulary ability before and after being taught by using English Comics. Based on the analysis above, the researcher can point out that English Comics is effective in improving students vocabulary ability, especially at the seventh grade students of SMP Negeri 3 Ciamis. Key Words : English Comics and vocabulary ability.

1. Introduction a. Background The general objective of teaching English to the seventh grade students of junior high school is to prepare students to have competitive attitude in this global era and continue English from Elementary School. Vocabulary is one of three aspects of language. Together with grammar and phonology, it plays an important part in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. For example, sometimes the students want to say something but they do not know how to say it appropriately. Hence, students vocabulary is one of the most important tasks for English teachers. However, teachers often face problems to teach new vocabulary easily or especially for the teacher, how to teach his or her students to study new words easily and they cannot be easily forgotten. In the seventh grade students of SMP Negeri 3 Ciamis, the researcher used English Comics as media in teaching vocabulary to implement. Outcault (2011) state that denotes a hybrid medium having verbal side of its vocabulary tightly tied to its visual side in order to convey narrative or information only, the latter in case of non-fiction comics, seeking synergy by using both visual (non-verbal) and verbal side in interaction. Based on the explanations stated above, the researcher is interested in observing and analyzing of improving students vocabulary ability by using English Comics. By using this media, the researcher expected that the students can learn and pay attention to the materials, which the teacher presents, so they would not get bored. Thus, the researcher proposes the research entitled: English Comics as Media to Improve Students Vocabulary Ability. Based on the explanations above, the research question in this research is as follows: Is there any significant difference in students vocabulary ability before and after being taught by means of English Comics?

b. Aims In general, this research is aimed at: 1. Knowing the difference of students vocabulary ability after being taught by means of English Comics. 2. Knowing that English Comics is useful in improving students vocabulary ability. 2. Review the Literature a. Vocabulary-Building Strategies Vacca and Jo (2002: 380) suggest that demonstrating how to use context, word structure, and the dictionary provides students with several basic strategies for vocabulary learning that will last a lifetime. With these strategies, students can search for information clues while reading so that they can approximate the meanings of unknown words. These clues often reveal enough meaning to allow readers who struggle with text to continue reading without short-circuiting the process and giving up because the text does not make sense. You can scaffold the use of vocabulary-building strategies before assigning material to be read. If one or more words represent key concepts-and the words lend themselves to demonstration-you can model the inquiry process necessary to construct meaning. The demonstration is brief, often lasting no more than five minutes. Vacca and Jo (2002: 380) explain that there are three types of demonstrations that will make students aware of vocabulary-building strategies. The first is to model how to make sense of a word in the context of its use, the second involves an analysis of a words structure, and the third combines context and word structure. Usually these demonstrations require the use of visuals, such as an overhead transparency or a chalkboard. After the brief demonstration, guide students to practice and apply the strategy that you just modeled so that they can become proficient in its use.

b. Vocabulary Instruction Brown (2001:377) suggests such guidelines for the communicative treatment of vocabulary instruction, they are as follows: 1. Allocate specific class time to vocabulary learning. 2. In the hustle and bustle of our interactive classrooms, sometimes we get so caught up in lively group work and meaningful communication that we dont pause to devote sonic attention to words. After all, words are basic building blocks of language; in fact, survival level communication can take place quite intelligibly when people simply string words together-without applying any grammatical rules at all. So, if were interested in being communicative, words are among the first priorities. 3. Help students to learn vocabulary in context. 4. The best internalization of vocabulary comes from encounters (comprehension or production) with words within the context of surrounding discourse rather than isolating words and/or focusing on dictionary definitions, attend to vocabulary within a communicative framework in which items appear Students will then associate new words with a meaningful context to which they apply. 5. Play down the role of bilingual dictionaries. 6. A corollary to the above is to help students to resist the temptation to overuse their bilingual dictionaries. ln recent years, with the common availability of electronic pocket dictionaries, students are even more easily tempted to punch in a word they dont know and get an instant response. It is unfortunate that such practices rarely help students to internalize the word for later recall and use. 7. Encourage students to develop strategies for determining the meaning of words. 8. Engage in unplanned vocabulary teaching.

9. In all likelihood, most of the attention you give to vocabulary learning will be unplanned: those moments when a student asks about a word or when a word has appeared that you feel deserves some attention. c. Implications for Vocabulary Teaching Richards (1985:183) proposes the eight assumptions that implicates for vocabulary teaching. The eight assumptions are: 1. Native speakers of a language continue to expand their vocabulary in adulthood, whereas there is comparatively little development of syntax in adult life. 2. Knowing a word means knowing the degree of probability of encountering that word in speech or print. For many words we also know the sort of words most likely to be found associated with the word. 3. Knowing a word implies knowing the limitations imposed on the use of the word according to variations of function and situation. 4. Knowing a word means knowing the syntactic behavior associated with the word. 5. Knowing a word entails knowledge of the underlying form of a word and the derivations that can be made from it. 6. Knowing a word entails knowledge of the network of associations between that word and other words in the language. 7. Knowing a word means knowing the semantic value of a word. 8. Knowing a word means knowing many of the different meanings associated with a word.

d. The Definition of English Comics Outcault (2011) state that:


Comic is a professional performer who tells jokes and performs comical acts. Denotes a hybrid medium having verbal side of its vocabulary tightly tied to its visual side in order to convey narrative or information

only, the latter in case of non-fiction comics, seeking synergy by using both visual (non-verbal) and verbal side in interaction.

The term derives from the mostly humorous early work in the medium, and came to apply to that form of the medium including those far from comic. The sequential nature of the pictures, and the predominance of pictures over words, distinguishes comics from picture books, although some in comics studies disagree and claim that in fact what differentiates comics from other forms on the continuum from word-only narratives, on one hand, to picture-only narratives, on the other, is social context. (Available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comics) e. Social context of English Comics Comics as a real mass medium started to emerge in the United States in the early 20th century with the newspaper comic strip, where its form began to be standardized (image-driven, speech balloons, etc.), first in Sunday strips and later in daily strips. The combination of words and pictures proved popular and quickly spread throughout the world. Comic strips were soon gathered into cheap booklets and reprint comic books. Original comic books soon followed. Today, comics are found in newspapers, magazines, comic books, graphic novels and on the web. Historically, the form dealt with humorous subject matter, but its scope has expanded to encompass the full range of literary genres. (Available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comics) 3. Methodology a. Setting Based on the objectives and problem of this research, the researcher used pre-experimental method with one group pre-test and posttest design as stated by Fraenkel and Wallen (1993:271). The scheme is as follows: 0 pre-test X Treatment 0 post-test

(Fraenkel and Wallen, 1993:271) This research used a test as its instrument. Burns (2000:131) states that experimenter uses the test to discover the probability that the results of the experiment occurred randomly by chance. So that, he or she can decide whether the chance probability is low enough to warrant rejecting the null hypotheses and accepting the experimental hypothesis. In this case, the test used by the researcher is written test referring to English Comics consisting of ten questions. Meanwhile, in analyzing the data, the researcher used computation of statistics by Burns (2000:157). 1) Calculating the mean difference ( D ) To find out mean difference, the researcher used the following formula from Burns (2000:157): D=

D
N

2) Calculating the t-observed To calculate this analysis, she used the following tobserved formula proposed by Burns (2000:157): t! D ( D ) 2

D2 

N ( N  1)

3) Comparing t-test and t table through counting degree of freedom. To count this analysis, the researcher used degree of freedom formula by Burns (2000:157): df = N - 1

b. Respondents In this research, the researcher randomly took class 7 A in the seventh grade students of SMP Negeri 3 Ciamis as the respondents of the research. Moreover, the number of respondents consists of 28 students. 4. Data Analysis In this case, the result of pre-test and post-test of English comics test was presented in the table below: The table of Pre-test and Post-test Result Students Code 001 002 003 004 005 006 007 008 009 010 011 012 013 014 015 016 017 018 019 020 021 022 023 024 025 026 027 028 TOTAL Pre-test 7.3 8.3 6 7 7.3 8.3 7.3 6.3 7 6 7.6 8.3 7.6 8 8 7.6 8 7 8.3 7 8.3 6.3 7 7 7.6 7 7 8.3 206.7 Post-test 7.6 8.3 7 7.3 7.6 8.6 8 6.3 7 8 8 8.6 8 8.6 7.6 8 7.6 7.6 9.3 6.3 9 7.6 7.3 7 8 8 7 9 218.2 Difference (D) 0.3 0 1 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.7 0 0 2 0.4 0.3 0.4 0.6 -0.4 0.4 -0.4 0.6 1 -0.7 0.7 1.3 0.3 0 0.4 1 0 0.7 11.5 D2 0.09 0 1 0.09 0.09 0.09 0.49 0 0 4 0.16 0.09 0.16 0.36 0.16 0.16 0.16 0.36 1 0.49 0.49 1.69 0.09 0 0.16 1 0 0.49 12.87

1) Calculating the mean difference ( D ) To find out mean difference, the researcher used the following formula from Burns (2000:157):
D

= =

D
N 11.5 28

= 0.411

Based on the result of the calculation above, the researcher found that mean difference ( D ) of post-test and pre-test was 0.411. 2) Calculating the t-observed To calculate this analysis, the researcher used the following tobserved formula proposed by Burns (2000:157):
t! D

D2 
t!

( D ) 2

N N ( N  1) 0.411

12.87 

(11.5) 2 28 28( 28  1) 0.411

t!

12.87 

(11.5) 2 28 28( 28  1)

t!

0.411 132.25 12.87  28 28(27 )

t!

t t t

0.411 12.87  4.723 756 0.411 ! 12.87  4.723 756 0.411 ! 8.147 756 0.411 ! 0.011 0.411 ! 0.105 ! 3.91
Based on the calculation above, the researcher found that t-

observed was 3.91. 3) Comparing t-test and t-table through counting degree of freedom. To do this analysis, the researcher used ttest formula from Burns (2000:157): df = n-1 df = 28-1 df = 27

To test the hypothesis the researcher compares the t observed and the t table. It turned out that t observed (=3.91) is higher the t table (= 1.706). So, the null hypothesis (H0) is rejected while the alternative hypothesis (H1) is accepted. It means that there is a significant difference in students vocabulary ability before and after being taught by using English Comics.

5. Conclusion and Implication a. Conclusion Based on the calculation, the researcher can drew some conclusions as follows: 1) English Comics is effective in improving students vocabulary ability at the seventh grade students of SMP Negeri 3 Ciamis. 2) The use of English Comics at the seventh grade students of SMP Negeri 3 Ciamis can be a media in improving students vocabulary ability. b. Implication Moreover, the implication of this research for teaching vocabulary is as follows: 1) The teacher can use English Comics as a media in teaching vocabulary. 2) The students can use English Comics as a media in improving their vocabulary ability.

Bibliography Brown, H. Douglas. 2001. Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy (Second Edition). New Jersey: Prentice Hall Regents. Burns, Robert. 2000. Introduction to Research Method. Longman: Australia. Fraenkel, J. R., and Wallen N. E. 1993. How to Design and Evaluate Research in Education (2nd Ed). San Fransisco: Mc. Graw-Hill Inc. Outcault, Richard F. 2011. English http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comics) comics. (Available at

Richards, Jack C. 1985. The Context of Language Teaching. New York. Cambridge University Press. Vacca, T., Richard., and Jo, Anne L., Vacca. 2002. Content Area Reading: Literacy and Learning across the Curriculum. Boston: A Pearson Education Company. http://www.audioenglish.net/dictionary/comic.htm.