Abstract

 

      This
research aimed to find out the kinds of strategies and the application of the
strategies which are used by students in primary school in improving vocabulary
learning.Descriptive qualitative was applied as a research method to find out
the objective of the research. The techniques of data collection were used in
this research were observation and questionnaire. The data analysis used in
this research was the interactive model analysis from Miles and Huberman that
consists of data reduction, data display, and conclusion. The results showed
that there were twenty one kinds of strategies which were used by the students
in improving vocabulary. The strategies that were employed by the students mostly
were influenced by the teacher’s teaching techniques. The orders of the teacher
seemingly become a habit for the student to be conducted automatically in the
process of language learning.

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Keywords:Vocabulary
Learning Strategies, Language Learning.

 

Introduction

 

English
is one of languages in this world. With its spreading around the world, it develops into a global language and a
means of international communication. It becomes
a challenge for students because it is different from their mother tongue that
they are accustomed to applying in spoken language every day. Because of that, it is probably hard to be learnt,
especially for students in the lower level that is elementary school students
in understanding the meaning of certain vocabulary.

Wilkins
in Thornbury (2002:13) explains about the importance of vocabulary learning.
Based on the theory, the first thing that must be first learnt for lower level
students in language learning is vocabulary. Lacking vocabulary, students
cannot tell anything that exist in their mind. And the result is they tend to
be bored and make a noise in the process of learning. Therefore, it requires
some strategies for students in language learning in order to master it,
especially in learning vocabulary.

Language
learning strategies require steps that are applied in gaining knowledge of
language. Since language learning strategies involve four skills in language
learning (listening, speaking, reading, and writing), it makes the area of
language learning strategies is wide. There is a particular strategy that is
needed by students in improving vocabulary that is vocabulary learning
strategies which known as VLS. Nation (2001:217) states that “vocabulary
learning strategies are a part of language learning strategies which in turn
are a part of general learning strategies”. It could be noted that vocabulary
learning strategies are part of language learning strategies because its range
and usage are more specific than language learning strategies.

Those
strategies would seem appropriate to be applied in the following schools since
they have uniqueness in the learning process such as SDN Kebraon II Surabaya.
SDN Kebraon II Surabaya is a state elementary school that is placed in the
Kebraon Surabaya area. The implementation of learning and teaching process that
is shown in the school is interesting by providing kinds of display items in
each classroom to support the students in gaining the knowledge of language
learning. The students of SDN Kebraon II Surabaya felt comfortable in language
learning process in the classroom, especially the fifth grade students.

By
the existence of the great score in the examination, it shows that the fifth
grade students in the school have experienced improvement in vocabulary
learning. Based on the fact, this research is aimed at finding out what kinds
of strategies that are used by the fifth grade students of SDN Kebraon II
Surabaya in improving vocabulary. And then, it is also intended to describe how
the students employ the strategies in improving their vocabulary.

Vocabulary
learning strategies are particular strategies that are employed by the students
only to acquire vocabulary. There are many classifications that are created by
researchers on vocabulary learning strategies. Mostly the classification of
vocabulary learning strategies is generally taken from language learning
strategies despite there are some additions in the list of the strategies. It
is empowered by statement of Pacivic Takac (2008:59) that is lists of
vocabulary learning strategies are usually a part of general strategies
classifications which show that many multi-propose strategies may be used in
vocabulary learning.

The
first classification is proposed by Gu and Johnson as cited in Fithriyah
(2012:23). Gu and Johnson employ strategies that are existed in Oxford’s
language learning strategies such as metacognitive, cognitive, and memory
strategies. Then, Gu and Johnson create one strategy, namely activation
strategies, to be added in their taxonomy of vocabulary learning strategies. It
means there are four strategies that are proposed by Gu and Johnson.

The
second classification is recommended by Nation (2001:217). Nation creates his
own classification of vocabulary learning strategies into three groups:
planning, sources, and processes. Planning
vocabulary learning strategies involve deciding on where to focus attention,
how to focus the attention, and how often to give attention to the item
(Nation, 2001:218). Sources
necessitate the students to get information about the vocabulary (ibid, 219). And processes involve ways of making vocabulary knowledge be remembered
and be available for use (ibid, 221).

The
last classification is recommended by Schmitt in Schmitt (2000:133). Schmitt
(2000:132) states that commonly used VLS seem to be simple memorization,
repetition, and taking notes on vocabulary. The three of the used VLS are
existed in the Oxford’s classification of language learning strategies as well.
In other words, the classification that is proposed by Schmitt refers to Oxford’s
taxonomy despite there is a new category of specific strategies that is added
in the list of vocabulary learning strategies, namely determination strategies.

Schmitt
(2000:133) concludes Schmitt’s classification of vocabulary learning from
fifty-eight strategies into thirty-one strategies. All of the strategies are
divided into two main groups. The first group is the strategies that are used
to find the meaning of a new word when detecting it at first time (ibid, 134). These strategies consist of
determination strategies and social strategies. And, the second group is the
strategies that are used to empower knowledge of the new word when detecting it
again (ibid). These strategies
contains of social, memory, cognitive, and metacognitive strategies. Because of
the Schmitt’s taxonomy are more complete categorization and the easiest to be
understood, the researcher uses the theory as a basis of this research to be
presented.

 

Strategy Group

Strategy

Strategies for the discovery of a new
word’s meaning

Determination Strategies

1.
Analyze part of speech

2.
Analyze affixes and roots

3.
Check for L1 cognate

4.
Analyze any available pictures or gestures

5.
Guess meaning from textual context

6.
Use a dictionary (bilingual or monolingual)

Social Strategies

1.
Ask teacher for a synonym, paraphrase, or
L1 translation of new word

2.
Ask classmates for meaning

Strategies for consolidating a word once it
has been encountered

Social Strategies

1.
Study and practice meaning in a group

2.
Interact with native speakers

Memory Strategies

1.
Connect word to a previous personal
experience

2.
Associate the word with its coordinates

3.
Connect the word to its synonyms and
antonyms

4.
Use semantic maps

5.
Image word form

6.
Image word’s meaning

7.
Use Keyword Method

8.
Group words together to study them

9.
Study the spelling of a word

10.              
Say new word aloud when studying

11.              
Use physical action when learning a word

Cognitive Strategies

1.
Verbal repetition

2.
Written repetition

3.
Word lists

4.
Put English labels on physical objects

5.
Keep a vocabulary notebook

Metacognitive Strategies

1.
Use English-language media (songs, movies,
etc.)

2.
Use spaced word practice (expanding
rehearsal)

3.
Test oneself with other tests

4.
Skip or pass new word

5.
Continue to study word over time

 

Source: Schimitt (2000:134).

Table 1: Schmitt’s
Vocabulary Learning Strategies

 

This
research applies descriptive qualitative design which aims to describe the
objective of the research. The subjects of the research are students of fifth
grade at SDN Kebraon II Surabaya which consist of seventeen female and eleven
male students. Meanwhile, the object of this research is any information relate
to kinds of learning strategies and the application of them. The techniques of
data collection were used in this research were observation and questionnaire.
Observation which was used in this research is passive participation
observation. The observation was conducted by note taking in the classroom.
During the observation, questionnaire was conducting. The questionnaire was
conducted by translating the questions in subjects’ mother tongue, namely
Bahasa Indonesia. The data analysis used in this research was the interactive
model analysis from Myles and Huberman that consisted of data reduction, data
display, and conclusion.

Finding
and Discussion

In
this research, it is found from both of the observation and the questionnaire
that there are twenty one strategies from thirty one strategies of Schmitt’s
which used by the fifth grade students at SDN Kebraon II Surabaya. The findings
in this research are concluded in two tables. Table 2 aims to show the kind of
strategies which are used by the students in improving vocabulary and table 3
aims to show the rank of the strategies which are used by the students in
vocabulary learning.

 

No.

The
Kinds of Strategies Used

1

Analyzing part of speech

2

Analyzing any available pictures

3

Guessing meaning from textual context

4

Using a dictionary

5

Asking teacher for a synonym, paraphrase, or L1
translation of new word

6

Asking classmates for meaning

7

Studying and practicing meaning in a group

8

Connecting word to a previous personal experience

9

Connecting the word to its synonyms and antonyms

10

Image word form

11

Image word’s meaning

12

Studying the spelling of a word

13

Saying new word aloud when studying

14

Using physical action when learning a word

15

Verbal repetition

16

Written repetition

17

Keeping a vocabulary notebook

18

Using English-language media (songs, movies, etc.)

19

Testing oneself with other tests

20

Skipping or passing new word

21

Continuing to study word over time

Table 2: Kinds
of strategies are used by fifth grade students

 

Table
2 indicates that among those twenty one strategies, the most used by the
students is Memory strategies. In order to ease in analyzing the kinds of
strategies are used by the students, it is created a rank of the strategy used
from the most used to the least used (see Table 3.2). There were some
strategies which employed by the whole of students in the fifth grade, namely analyzing part of speech, analyzing picture, using dictionary, studying
the spelling of word, verbal
repetition, keeping a vocabulary
notebook, and using physical action.
And there is a strategy is employed by a few students, namely connecting a word to its synonyms and
antonyms.

 

Strategy
Used

Number of Users

1.         
Analyzing part of speech

28

2.         
Analyzing any available pictures

28

3.         
Guessing meaning

25

4.         
Using a dictionary

28

5.         
Asking teacher

26

6.         
Asking classmates for meaning

25

7.         
Studying and practicing in a group

6

8.         
Connecting word to a previous personal
experience

12

9.         
Connecting the word to its synonyms
and antonyms

4

10.     
Image word form

22

11.     
Image word’s meaning

22

12.     
Studying the spelling of a word

28

13.     
Saying new word aloud when studying

23

14.     
Using physical action

28

15.     
Verbal repetition

28

16.     
Written repetition

8

17.     
Keep a vocabulary notebook

28

18.     
Using English-language media

23

19.     
Testing oneself with other tests

18

20.     
Skipping or passing new word

10

21.     
Continuous to study word over time

22

 

Most strategies are used repeatedly by the students
until the strategies become a habit for them in the learning process. Analyzing
part of speech, analyzing picture, using a dictionary,
spelling of word, using physical action, verbal repetition,
and keep a vocabulary notebook are kinds of strategies which were
employed by the students in almost of each meeting of English subject. The
teacher regarded that these strategies as drilling for the students to improve
their vocabularies in language learning.

As
be known, there are twenty one kinds of strategies are identified through the observation
and the questionnaire. These strategies are divided by two parts, namely
observable strategies and unobservable strategies. The questionnaire is needed
to find out the kind of strategies which are unobservable in the classroom. The
application of analyzing part of speech,
analyzing pictures, using a dictionary, asking teacher, asking
classmates, studying and practicing
in group, connecting word to synonyms
and antonyms, studying the spelling
word, saying word aloud, using physical action, verbal repetition, and keep a vocabulary notebook is included
in the observable strategies, and the rest of the application of the strategies
is unobservable strategies. Oxford (1990:194) states that “there are many
language learning strategies that cannot be observed”. Guessing meaning, connecting
word to previous experience, image
word form, image word’s meaning, written repetition, using English-language media, testing
oneself with other tests, skipping or
passing new word, and continuing to
study over time are included as kinds of unobservable strategies in this
research because they refer to mental process and are invisible.

Conclusions

There
are twenty one kinds of strategies are used by the fifth grade students at SDN
Kebraon II Surabaya. The most of strategies are employed by all of the students
in the classroom because the teacher made the strategies as a habit for the
students in improving their vocabularies in English subject.

Both
instruments in this research (observation and questionnaire) are effective
tools to gather information on learning strategies in improving vocabulary of
the students. Based on the observation, however, the students’ learning is
influenced by the teacher’s teaching techniques. If the teacher asked the
students to note an unfamiliar word, they would note it immediately. The
students also tended to repeat the teacher when she asked to. The orders of the
teacher seemingly become a habit for the student to be conducted automatically.

Based
on the discussions, it could be found some unobservable strategies which are
used by the students in improving vocabulary, namely guessing meaning, connecting
word to previous experience, imaging
word form, imaging word’s meaning,
written repetition, using English-language media, testing oneself with other tests, skipping or passing new word, and continue to study the word over time.
These strategies are unobservable because they refer to mental process and
invisible. The application of using
English-language media actually could be observed but this strategy was not
found during observation in the classroom so that it is included in
unobservable strategy in this research. In addition, the factors which
influence the learning process in this research were variables and could not be
avoided. The factors of teaching and learning setting, environment, culture,
learning style, and motivation which used by each student in this research are
greatly influenced the strategy used and strategy choice of the students in
vocabulary learning.