Enriching students vocabulary by using word cards ( a classroom action research at second grade of marketing program class XI.2 SMK Nusantara, Ciputat South Tangerang

ENRICHING STUDENTS’ VOCABULARY BY USING WORD CARDS
( A Classroom Action Research at Second Grade of Marketing Program Class XI.2 SMK
Nusantara, Ciputat, South Tangerang )

A “ Skripsi”
Presented to the Faculty of Tarbiya and Teachers‟ Training
In Partial Fulfilment of Requirements for the Degree of Strata 1 ( Bachelor of Art ) in English
Education Department

Universitas Islam Negeri
SYARIF HIDAYATULLAH JAKARTA

By:
Aqidatul Husnah
106014000369

DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH EDUCATION
FACULTY OF TARBIYA AND TEACHERS’ TRAINING
STATE ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY OF SYARIF HIDAYATULLAH
JAKARTA
2011

ABSTRACT
Aqidatul Husnah: “Enriching Students’ vocabulary by Using Word Cards ( A
Classroom Action Research at Second Grade of Marketing Program Class XI.2,
SMK Nusantara, Ciputat, South Tangerang)”.
Skripsi, English Education Department, Faculty of Tarbiya and Teachers‟
Training, Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University.
KeyWords: Enriching Vocabulary, Word Cards.
This research was conducted to enrich students‟ vocabulary by using word
cards at second grade of marketing program SMK Nusantara Class XI.2, SMK
Nusntara, Ciputat, South Tangerang.
In conducting this research, the writers used classroom action research as a
method. She presented the students new vocabularies by using word cards. The
research consisted of two cycles, each cycle consisted three meetings ( the test
was not included as meeting). This research was carried out for one month. In
collecting the data, the writer conducting interview, observation, and tests ( pre
test and post test ).
From this research, the students could enrich their vocabulary by using
word cards, it was improved by the scores of pre test and post test. In pre test, the
mean of students‟ score was 54.4,there was only one student passing KKM, while
the percentage of students passing KKM was 3.44%, the score improved in post
test 1, it was in the first cycle, the mean was 74, there were 15 students passing
KKM, the percentage of students passing KKM was 51.72, it improved again in
the second cycle, the mean was 84, there were 25 students passing KKM and the
percentage was 86.20%. From the result of the whole tests the writer concludes
that using word cards for enriching vocabulary of students SMK Nusantara class
XI.2 marketing program is successful, since the criteria of action success is 75%.

iii

ABSTRAK
Aqidatul Husnah: “Enriching Students’ Vocabulary by Using Word Cards ( A
Classroom Action Research at Second Grade of Marketing Program Class XI.2
SMK Nusantara, Ciputat, South Tangerang )”.
Skripsi, Jurusan Pendidikan Bahasa Inggris, Fakultas Ilmu Tarbiyah dan
Keguruan, Universitas Islam Negeri Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta.
Kata Kunci: pengayaan kosa kata, word card.
Penelitian ini dilakukan to memperkaya kosa kata siswa dengan
menggunakan word cards kelas XI.2 program pemasaran SMK Nusantara,
Ciputat, Tangerang Selatan.
Dalam melaksanakan penelitian ini, peneliti menggunakan penelitian
tindakan kelas. Dia memberikan siswa kosa kata baru dengan mengunakan teknik
word card. Penelitian ini terdiri dari dua siklus, tiap siklus terdiri dari tiga
pertemuan ( test tidak termasuk dalam pertemuan ). Penelitian ini dilaksanakan
selama satu bulan. Dalam mengumpulkan data, penulis melakukan wawancara,
pengamatan, dan test ( pre test dan post test ).
Dari penelitian ini, para siswa dapat memperkaya kosa kata mereka
dengan menggunakan word card, hal itu dibuktikan dari nilai hasil pre test dan
post test. Pada pre test, nilai rata-rata dari seluruh siswa adalah 54.4, hanya ada
satu siswa yang lulus KKM, sementara persentase dari seluruh siswa yang lulus
KKM adalah 3.44%, kemudian nilai tersebut naik pada post test 1, yakni pada
penelitian siklus 1, nilai rata-rata dari seluruh siswa adalah 74, ada 15 siswa yang
lulus KKM, dengan persentase 51.72%, nilai tersebut naik lagi pada post test 2,
nilai rata-rata siswa menjadi 84, dengan siswa yang lulus KKM berjumlah 25
orang, adapun persentasenya naik menjadi 86.20%. Dari hasil keseluruhan test
tersebut, bisa disimpulkan bahwa, penggunaan word card untuk memperkaya kosa
kata siswa telah berhasil, karena persentase kriteria dari keberhasilan tindakan ini
adalah 75%.

iv

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds, who gives the writer guidance
and strength to complete this skripsi. Peace and blessing be upon to our prophet
Mohammed (PBUH), his family, companions, and followers.
This skripsi is presented to English Education Department of Tarbiya and
Teachers‟ Training Faculty, State Islamic University of syarif Hidayatullah
Jakarta, as a partial fulfillment of the requirement for strata 1 (S1). This skripsi
would not be able to be completed without a great deal of help from many people
especially, the writer‟s mother (Akasa), father (Muanam), sister (Zuhrofiyah),
brother (Prihatin), and the entire of her family members, thanks for help
financially and spiritually, the writer‟s gratitude also toward her cousin (Mabrul)
thanks for the laptop, her close friend Luthfiyah and Annisa, beloved roommates
(Iir, Ilya, Ika and Saida), thanks for help, support, and prayers, then my classmate
class B 2006, she thanks also to Drs. H. Bahrul Hasibuan, M.Ed, who has patienly
given the advice to complete this skripsi.
The writer‟s gratitude also goes to those who helped her in finishing her work,
among others:
1. Prof. Dr. H. Dede Rosyada, MA, the dean of Tarbiya and Teachers‟
Training Faculty.
2. Drs. Syauki, M.Pd the head of English Education Department of
Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University.
3. Mrs. Neneng Sunengsih, as the secretary of English Education
Department of Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University.
iv

4. All lectures in English Education Department of Syarif Hidayatullh
State Islamic University.
5. Mr. Faisal Bakar, S.E, the headmaster of SMK Nusantara
6. Mrs. Rini Ramdani Yafas, S.E, the English teacher of SMK Nusantara
class XI.2 marketing program.

The writer realizes this skripsi is still so far from being perfect, therefore,
the writer expects some suggestions and critiques for this skripsi.

Jakarta, May 31st 2011

The Writer

v

TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Approval Sheet of Advisor..................................................................................................i
The endorsement sheet of Examination Committe....................................................................ii
Abstract.....................................................................................................................................iii
Acknowledgement....................................................................................................................iv
Table of Contents......................................................................................................................vi
List of Tables............................................................................................................................ix
List of Charts............................................................................................................................x
List of Figures..........................................................................................................................xi
List of Appendices...................................................................................................................xii
Chapter I Introduction
A. The Background of Research ........................................................................................1
B. The Research Question...................................................................................................3
C. The Objectives of Research............................................................................................3
D. The Significances of Research.......................................................................................4
E. The Limitations of Research...........................................................................................4
F. The Method of Research.................................................................................................4
Chapter II Theoretical Framework
A. Vocabulary
1. The Definition of Vocabulary...............................................................................5
2. Types of Vocabulary.............................................................................................6
3. The Objectives of Teaching Vocabulary for Secondary Students.......................10
4. The Difficulties in Teaching Vocabulary............................................................11
B. Word Cards
1. The Definition of Word Cards........................................................................13
2. Techniques in Using Word Cards...................................................................14

vi

3. Some Activities in Using word Cards............................................................16
4. The Advantages and The Disadvantages of Using Word Card.....................17
Chapter III Research Methodology
A. The Objective of Research........................................................................................20
B. The Place and Time...................................................................................................20
C. The Research Design.................................................................................................20
D. The Procedures of Research......................................................................................23
E. Collecting Data Techniques.......................................................................................24
F. Data analysis Techniques...........................................................................................25
G. The Trustworthiness Study.......................................................................................27
H. The Criterion of Action Success...............................................................................29
Chapter IV Research Finding
A. Before Implementing CAR
1. The Result of Interview.......................................................................................30
2. Pre Observation....................................................................................................30
3. The Result of Pre Test..........................................................................................31
B. After Implementing CAR
1. Cycle I..................................................................................................................33
2. Cycle II.................................................................................................................37
C. The Discussion of The Data After CAR
1. The Result of Post Interview..............................................................................40
2. The Result of Post Tests.....................................................................................40
D. The Interpretation of Data...........................................................................................47
Chapter V Conclusion and Suggestion
A. Conclusions..................................................................................................................49
B. suggestions...................................................................................................................50
Bibliography
Appendices

vii

List of Charts
Chart 4.1 : Students‟ Pre Test Score………………………………………………………..39
Chart 4.2 : Students‟ Post Test 1 Score…………………………………………………….43
Chart 4.3 : Students‟ Post Test 2 score…………………………………………………….46
Chart 4.4 : Students‟ Pre Test and Post Tests Score Comparation………………………....48

List of Figures
Figure 3.1 : Kemmis and Taggart Action Research Design…………………………………21
Figure 3.2 : Research Cycle Design………………………………………………………….22

ix

List of Tables
Table 3.1 : The Classification of Item Descrimination…………………………28
Table 3.2 : The Classification of Item Facility…………………………………29
Table 3.3 : The Test Scoring Criteria ………………………………………….29
Table 4.1 : Students‟ Pre Test Score…………………………………………...31
Table 4.2 : Students‟ Post Test 1 Score………………………………………..35
Table 4.3 : Students‟ Post Test 2 Score………………………………………..39
Table 4.4 : Students‟ Pre Test and Post Tests Comparation…………………..41

List of Appendices
Appendix 1:The Interview Guidelines Before CAR ...............................................................52
Appendix 2: The Interview Guidelines after CAR..................................................................54
Appendix 3: The Syllabus.......................................................................................................56
Appendix 4: The Lesson Plans.................................................................................................64
Appendix 5: The Blue Print of Test........................................................................................73
Appendix 6: The Test...............................................................................................................75
Appendix 7: The Answer Key.................................................................................................79
Appendix 8: The Item Descrimination Analysis......................................................................81
Appendix 9: Item Facility Analysis.........................................................................................82
Appendix 10: The Chart of Students‟ Improvement...............................................................83

Chapter I
Introduction

A. The Background of Research
Vocabulary as one of language components is a very important thing
besides other language components. Without vocabulary, people will not be
able to say anything. People with large vocabulary are more proficient in
language skills than people with little vocabulary. Large vocabulary makes a
significant contribution to almost all of the aspects of language.
“Without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary
nothing can be conveyed”.1 This is how the linguist David Wilkins summed
up the importance of vocabulary learning. When people have large amount of
vocabulary, people can express their idea precisely, and of course, it is very
helpful for them, whether in listening, speaking, reading or writing skills.
While Jeremy Harmer made an analogue, “If language structures
make up the skeleton of language, then it is vocabulary that provides the vital
organs and the flesh”.2 It shows that vocabulary is very important, even
though people have good ability in structures, but they do not have enough
vocabulary to express their idea, the structures are useless.

1

Scott Thornbury(2002) cited in David Wilkins ( 1972 ), How to Teach Vocabulary.
( London: Person Education Limited,2002)P.16
2
Jeremy Harmer, The Practice of English Language Teaching(Harlow: Longman Group
UK Limited,1991) P.153

1

2

English is taught in almost all of Indonesian schools, even though
every level has different status and purpose. It has been mentioned in Permen
Diknas number 19 2005 Standar Nasional Pendidikan that in elementary
school, English is taught as local contents, it means that the students learn
English if it is relevant to local needs and regional condition. It is different
with junior and senior high schools that English is taught as a compulsory
subject, every student of junior and senior high school must learn English,
students are expected to have ability in listening, speaking, reading, and
writing. While in university, students learn English as a complementary
subject, they learn English in order to have a good command of English and
to participate in various academic activities3.
Nevertheless, many learners in many schools now have very limited
vocabulary. They have little vocabulary, even, their vocabularies are misused
and do not have any relationship with their daily activity or their tests. It
causes learners stressful and under pressure when they are taking test or
forced to give their idea by using English language.
Nusantara vocational high school is one of schools in Ciputat,
Tangerang in which the learners have problem with their vocabulary. They
have very limited vocabulary. When teachers asked them to say something,
actually, they knew what they wanted to say, but it was hard for them to
express it in English language due to their limited vocabulary. Learners just
kept silent. It was different when teacher asked them to give their idea by
using Indonesian language, they said everything what they felt and what they
wanted to say, they did not feel ashamed or afraid of making mistakes and
did not feel that others would not get what they said.
Teachers sometimes give students some new vocabularies, but they
never review the words. Teachers only make a list of vocabulary and then ask

3

http://www.scribd.com/doc/21685064/Lampiran-Permen-Diknas-23-Th-2006-SKL

3

the students to memorize them. It can cause the students lose their vocabulary
easily.
When the writer observed students of Nusantara vocational high
school class XI Marketing 2, she found that students were full of enthusiasm
while they were learning English, but the problem that students face was
vocabulary mastery. The writer tried to speak with them by using English, but
they said that they did not get what she was talking about, then she translated
into Indonesian language, they tried to answer, but they did not know how to
express the sentence in English, they always asked how to say the words in
English.
The writer conducted an interview with the teacher of Nusantara
vocational high school class XI marketing 1, she said that students usually
memorized the words by using traditional method, the teacher wrote on the
whiteboard, and then asked them to memorize the words, but some days later,
students usually forgot what they had memorized. Sometimes they still
remembered the words, but just a few of them. Therefore, the writer is
interested in investigating students of Nusantara vocational high school class
XI marketing 1
The writer chooses word cards as the media to enrich students‟
vocabulary because word cards are portable, students can take them wherever
they are, they can review all of the words on their word cards anytime and
anywhere, when they forget their memorized vocabularies they just need to
open the cards and check them.

B. The Research Questions
According to the problems that the writer describes above, she
formulates a research question. “Do the students get the higher score after
they are trained by using word cards?”

4

C. The Objectives of Research
The objectives of this research are to improve the students‟
achievement and enrich students‟ vocabulary by using word cards.
D. The Significances of Research
In conducting this research, the writer will get knowledge how to use
word cards in enriching learners‟ vocabularies and know its effectiveness.
This research also gives teacher knowledge about a method that can
be used by him/her to improve students‟ vocabulary, and if it is a good way,
teachers should consider applying it for other classes.
E. The Limitations of Research
This research is conducted in Nusantara vocational high school class
XI.2. It is all about using word cards in enriching students‟ vocabulary; it
includes the vocabularies which are presented in material book of vocational
high school class XI semester 2.
F. The Method of Research
In this research, the writer gives a pre-test to the students, which
consists of vocabulary knowledge based on their English materials; it is given
to know their vocabulary mastery. After giving the test and knowing
students‟ vocabulary mastery, the writer finds what kinds of words that he
must give to the students, and then, give those words to the students by using
word cards.
This research consists of 2 cycles, in the last of each cycle, the writer
gives the students a test, to know their vocabulary progress and she knows
what she must do in the next cycle.

Chapter II
Theoretical Framework

A.

Vocabulary

1. The Definition of Vocabulary
Talking about language, it is inseparable from vocabulary, learning
language means learning its component, including vocabulary. The importance
of vocabulary knowledge has long been recognized in language development.
Vocabulary mastery becomes one of the requirements for people to speak a
language; it cannot be denied that without vocabulary, people cannot say
anything. That is, language students need to learn vocabulary of language.
Even though vocabulary is not the only one component that students must
have, it is undeniable that vocabulary becomes one of important components in
developing language.
According to Oxford English dictionary, vocabulary is defined as “total
number of words in a language, words known to a person, list of words and
their meaning especially at the back of a book used for teaching a foreign
language.”1
Vocabulary is total number or list of words, and then it can be arranged
into broader forms, such as phrase, clause, or sentence. Those arrangements
forming ideas that can be understood by others, ideas will not be able to be
performed without vocabulary.
In The New Lexicon Webster’s Dictionary, vocabulary is defined as:
1

Oxford Learners Pocket Dictionary(Oxford: Oxford University Press,1991),p.461

5

6

“A list of words, usually arranged alphabetically and defined, explained
or translated. A range of language, the stock of words at a person‟s command,
or used in a particular work, branch of a subject, language etc”2.
People has been supplied with language faculty since they were born,
they also have some words stored on their brain that he/she has got from
her/his environment, especially from his/her mother, as a modal to make
interaction with others3, however, words always change and improve from time
to time; some new words appear while some old words may be out of date,
people need enrich the storage of vocabulary to get along with the environment
and its situation.
According to Hatch and Brown vocabulary is “a list or set of words for
a particular language or a list or set of word that individual speakers of
language might use”.4
Every person must have vocabulary for communicating with others, it
is a very significant element of language, with vocabulary he/she can express
their idea. Even though vocabulary does not always affect in the fluency of
language, there are some language aspects that must be known and mastered by
learners, such as grammar, pronunciation, diction, and so on, vocabulary still
becomes requirement for mastering a language.

2. Types of Vocabulary
Based on the people capability in implementing the vocabulary, Paul
Nation mentions two types of vocabulary, those are:
a. “Receptive Vocabulary: Knowing a word involves being able to
recognize it when it is heard (What is the sound like?) or when it seen
(What does it look like?) and having an expectation of what grammatical
pattern the word will occurrence. This includes being able to distinguish
it from word with a similar form and being able to judge if the word form
sounds right or look right.

The New Lexicon Webster’s Dictionary(Danbury: Lexicon Publication, Inc,1994),p.1101
Noam Chomsky. Aspect of The Theory of Sintax(Massachusetts: The MIT Press,1965),p. 47
4
Evelyn Hatch and Cheryl Brown. Vocabulary, Semantic and Language Education
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1995)p.1
2

3

7

b. Productive Vocabulary: Knowing a word involves being able to
pronounce the word, how to write and to spell it, how to use it in
grammatical pattern along with the word in usually collocates with it, it
also involves not using the word too often if it is typically a low
frequency word and using it in a suitable situation using the word to
stand for the meaning it represents and being able to think of suitable
substitutes for the word if there any”.5
Jo Ann Aeborsold and Mary Lee Field give another term for types of
vocabulary:
a. “Active Vocabulary refers to items the learner can use appropriately in
speaking or writing and it is also called as productive vocabulary,
although, in fact, it is more difficult to put into practice. It means that to
use the productive vocabulary, the students are supposed to know how
to pronounce it well, they must know and be able to use grammar of the
language target, they are also hoped to familiar with collocation and
understand the connotation meaning of the words. This type is often
used in speaking and writing skill.
b. Passive Vocabulary refers to a language items that can be recognized and
understood in the context of reading or listening and also called as
receptive”.6
Nation uses the term of receptive and productive in explaining the types
of vocabulary, meanwhile, Jo Ann Aeborsold and Mary Lee Field use the term
of active and passive.
The writer can say that receptive or passive vocabulary is the word that
someone knows when it is heard or seen, she/he can mention the meaning of
the word, and recognizes it when it appears in reading.
In contrast, productive or active vocabulary is the word that someone
knows and she/he can apply it into sentence correctly, it is more difficult to put
into practice than receptive or passive one. It means, using productive
vocabulary, she/he must know to pronounce the word well, be able to use
grammar, and be familiar with the collocation.
From the explanation above, it is received that person with productive
or active vocabulary have better language capability than person with receptive
or passive vocabulary, because knowing vocabulary is not only knowing the

5

ISP Nation, Teaching and Learning Language (New York: New Burry house,1990),p.29
Jo Ann Aeborsold and Mary lee Field, From Reader to Reading Teacher (New
York:Cambridge University Pres,1977),p.139
6

8

meaning, vocabulary does not stand alone, there are some aspects that make
vocabulary more useful.
Teacher should have been able to transfer learners‟ receptive into
productive

vocabulary,

to

make

the

vocabulary

more

useful

and

communicative as the standard competency of teaching-learning English
language, it is students are able to communicate by using English.
While, Keith S Folse devided vocabulary based on its items, those are:
a. Single word
“This is the word that people think of first, this group includes the
bulk of vocabulary of any languages, this group includes not only
more items, but also used items”7:
Animal: cat, dog, mouse, and so on
Time periods: Monday, January, today, and so on.
Countries: Indonesia, Mexico, Japan, and so on.
Action: fly, stay, drink, and so on.
Description: Happy, sad, amazing, and so on.
Counters: Dozens, plenty, decade, and so on.
b. Set Phrases
Keith S Folse, in his book Vocabulary Myth Defined set phrases
as follow:
“It consists more than one word and do not usually change. For
example, in the phrase of „ in other words‟ , people cannot say „
with other words‟ or „in other terms‟ with „ in other remarks, even
though, „terms‟ and „remarks‟ might seem to be able to fit.
Below some examples of set phrases:
Raining cats and dogs
not : raining kittens and puppies
The bottom line
not : the lowest line
It‟s up to you
not : it‟s above you
Other set phrases must be arranged in a certain order, even though
rearranging the ordering would not really affect the meaning.
However, English conventions have locked these phrases into only
one possible ordering:
Raining cats and dogs
not : raining dogs and cats
Up and down
not : down and up
From head to toe
not : from toe to head
Back and forth
not : forth and back8
7

Keith S Folse. Vocabulary Myth Applying Second Language Research to Classroom Testing.
(Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2004),p. 2

9

c. Variable Phrases
“The components of variable phrases usually stay same; however, it has
some variation. The variation often involves in personal pronoun or
possessive. For example when a person says “it has come to our
attention that....................”, it can change to be “it has come to my
attention that............. “, from that phrase, the listeners or readers will
know that the message is usually not good, that phrase really means
„I‟m going to tell you what you did and the problems it has caused‟, the
phrase is not about knowing anyone‟s attention.
The only thing can change in that expression is the possessive adjective
before the word “attention”, with “my” or “our” being much more
common than “her” or “his”, even though, any possessive adjective can
work here”.9
d. Phrasal Verb
“It consists of more than two or three words, the first word is always
verb, the second word is preposition, article, or adverb, if there is the
third word, it is usually a preposition”.
Many verbs can serve as phrasal verb, such as: come, put, take, get, and
so on”10.
For example: come back, put away, take off, get up, and so on.
Many English words are phrasal verbs, and do not have connected
meaning with the root words. People may know the meaning of “put” and
“away”, however, it does not guarantee that they know the meaning of “put
away”.
Look at the following example, with the word “Take” as base, each
sentence has different meaning:
Andy is taking his book
We take the clock apart
If you take away 3 from 7, you get 4
8

Keith S Folse. Vocabulary Myth Applying Second Language Research to Classroom
Testing..................p.3
9

Keith S Folse. Vocabulary Myth Applying Second Language Research to Classroom
Testing..................p.4
10

Keith S Folse. Vocabulary Myth Applying Second Language Research to Classroom
Testing..................p.5

10

You must take your shoes off
“Most phrasal verbs are idiomatic expression”11, and of course idiomatic
expressions are vocabulary items. As the writer has mentioned above that
phrasal verb does not have connected meaning with its root word, when a
person says “lets the cat out of the bag”, it does not mean that there is a cat in
the bag. However, knowing the meaning of each those words, people cannot
always figure out the meaning of that phrasal verb.
From those types of vocabularies, it can be seen that, mastery vocabulary
is not an easy way, people cannot master the whole words, especially English
that have so many idioms. Idiom usually becomes the first problem for foreign
language students to master vocabulary; however, teacher can give the students
some phrasal verbs or idiomatic expressions that most frequently they use.

3. The Objectives of Vocabulary Teaching for Secondary Students

Learning language is learning vocabulary; people will have good English
skills if they have sufficient vocabulary supporting them to have a good
communication.
In the newest Indonesian curriculum, educational integrated curriculumkurikulum tingkat satuan pendidikan, it is mentioned English syllabus for
secondary schools that the objective of teaching English language is for
communicating, even though, in the simple expression, such as asking
permission or offering12, however, it cannot be reached if the students do not
have sufficient vocabulary.
Learning vocabulary is not only about memorizing, students need to see,
say, and write the new word they have got. Student cannot learn vocabulary
just one time, then they can remember all the words, they need to practise the
vocabulary, whether in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Practice will

11

Keith S Folse. Vocabulary Myth Applying Second Language Research to Classroom
Testing..................p.9
12

Sillabus Bahasa Inggris KTSP SMA 2006

11

help the students getting long memorization and improving the vocabulary they
have.
English has been a compulsory subject for secondary students in
Indonesia, students have to be able make an English expression, respond a
dialog in written or form, understanding a text in kind of narration, exposition,
and so on.
In addition, English has been included in the national examination-ujian
nasional since elementary until secondary school. It is undeniable that one of
factor affecting their success or fault in that examination is the capacity of
vocabulary they have.

4. The Difficulties in Teaching English Vocabulary
Indonesian and English Language are so different, so are in the words,
the differences make learners hard to learn the language, Scott Thornbury
mentioned some factors causing second or foreign language learners feel some
words more difficult, those are:
a. Pronunciation
“Words that are more difficult to pronounce are usually more difficult to
learn. Potentially, difficult words will be typically those that contain sounds
that are unfamiliar for some groups of learners”.13 For example, Sundanese
speakers who are hard to distinguish between „p‟ and „f‟, such in the word
paper, some of them pronounce it „fafer‟, „faper‟ or „pafer‟, then „flash‟
becomes „ples‟, the difficult pronunciation can be caused some letters do not
exist in the learners first language.
b. Spelling
Spelling usually becomes the problem for second or foreign language
learners.
“Sound-spelling mismatches are likely to be the cause of errors, either of
pronunciation or of spelling. Some words containing silent letters may

13

Scott Thornbury, How to Teach Vocabulary …………………………….,p.27

12

become the problem: foreign, listen, climbing, honest, muscle, and so
on”.14
c. Length and complexity
“The long words seem to be more difficult for learners, also variable
stress, such as in the word families like: necessary, necessity, and necessarily,
can add their difficulties”.15

d. Meaning
“When two words overlap in meaning, learners are likely to confuse
them, such as in „make‟ and „do‟, like in sentences „you make a
breakfast‟ and „you make an appointment‟, but „you do the homework‟
and „do a questionnaire‟. Words with multiple meaning, such as „since‟
and „still‟, can also troublesome for learners.”16
e. Idiomaticity
“English contains so many idiomatic expression, they are generally more
difficult than the words whose meaning is transparant”17. The writer has
discussed about idiomatic expression in types of vocabulary subbab.
f. Grammar
“Also problematic is grammar associated with word, especially if this
differs from L1 equivalent”18. Indonesian speakers know that adjective is
following verb, such as in the phrase „buku baru‟ that influences when the
speakers are translating the English phrase, such as „red balloon‟ most of
them translate it becomes „ merah balon‟.
Another problem in grammar is using verb+ing, to+infinitive, or bare
infinitive, after some verbs, they usually confuse to decide, which one
followed by verb+ing, to+infinitive, or bare infinitive.

Scott Thornbury, How to Teach Vocabulary …………………………….,p.27
Scott Thornbury, How to Teach Vocabulary …………………………….,p.27
16
Scott Thornbury, How to Teach Vocabulary …………………………….,p.27
17
Scott Thornbury, How to Teach Vocabulary …………………………….,p.28
18
Scott Thornbury, How to Teach Vocabulary …………………………….,p.28
14

15

13

B. Word Cards
1. The Definition of Word Cards
Word card is one of teaching vocabulary technique suggested by Paul
Nation in his book New Ways in Teaching Vocabulary and Learning
Vocabulary in Another Language

19

. Nation preferred a systematic

technique in teaching vocabulary to incidental approach.
Word card is one kind of form focused instruction, it is a type of teaching
which “involves some attempts to focus learners‟ attention on specific
properties of the L2 so that they will learn them”20, it means, using word
cards is intended to “develop some elements of language such as
pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and so on”21. As the writer
mentioned in the paragraph above, using word cards is a systematic
technique, the students are introduced into new words explicitly and teacher
has known what words that she/he is going to give to the students.
“The term learning from word cards is the association between a foreign
language word form (written or spoken) and its meaning (often in the form
of a first language translation, although it could be a second language
definition or a picture or a real object, for example).”22
Using word cards is not only memorizing the words, it also supplies the
words repetition that can be helpful for their memorization. The words are
stored longer on their mind than just memorizing the words list. It is also
flexible because the words on the cards can be adjusted with students
material.
In the simplest form of learning from word cards, a learner writes a
foreign word on side of small, easily carried card and its first language
19

Norbert Schmitt and Michael McCarthy, Vocabulary: Description, Acquisition, and
Pedagogy................................p.11
20

Rod Ellis, The Study of Second Language Acquisition, Second Edition ( Oxford: Oxford
University Press,2008),p.963
21
Long, M., & Robinson, Focus on form instruction in classroom second
language acquisition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1998).p.15
22
ISP Nation, Learning vocabulary in Another Language ( Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press,2001 ),p.169

14

translation on the other. “The learner goes through a set of cards looking at
each foreign language and trying to retrieve its meaning. If it cannot be
retrieved, the learner turns the card over and looks at the translation.”23
2. Techniques in Using Word Cards

There are some techniques that teacher can use to teaching vocabulary by
using word cards, Scott Thornbury has suggested some steps that teacher can
do in teaching vocabulary through word cards, they are24:
a. Learners write a word to be learned on one side of a small card and its
mother tongue translation on the other.
Front

Back

Put
Meletakkan

b. Depending on the difficulty of the words a full set at any one time
should consists of between 20 and 50 cards.
c. Words do not have belonged to lexical sets – in fact it is probably better
that they do not, to avoid the interference effect of words of similar
meaning being learned together.
d. Learners test themselves on the words by first recalling the meaning of
the new words.
e. They then reverse the process, using the translation to trigger the form
of new word.
f. Words that cause difficulty should be moved to the top of the pile. In
any case, the cards should be shuffled periodically to avoid „serial
effect‟ – that is, remembering words because of the order they come in
and not for any other reason.

23

ISP Nation, Learning vocabulary in Another Language ( Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press,2001 ),p.169
24
Scott Thornbury, How to Teach Vocabulary……………………….,p.147

15

g. The sequence of learning and review should become increasingly
spaced.
h. As words are learned they should be discarded, and new word cards
made and added to the set.
Dr. Irfan Tosuncuoglu in Teaching vocabulary for active use also gives
some steps that teachers or students use in enriching vocabulary through word
cards, the steps include25:
a. Write the vocabulary items on individual cards with their translation on
the reverse side. See how many words you can remember from the
English definition by turning them over one by one; then try it the other
way round. (This game is more fun if played with two or more people!)
Separate out the ones you find hard to recall and carry them around with
you in your pocket, reviewing them while waiting for buses, standing in
line to buy tickets, etc.
b. Learn the words in the context of the sentences in the dialogues of your
textbook.
c. Say the words out loudly.
d. Write down the words that are most difficult to memorize on a separate
sheet of paper and give extra time to them,
e. Tape-record the words and their definitions; then listen to the tape
several times. Use the 'pause' button to test yourself. Associate words
with pictures,
f. Group them by generic categories, e.g. furniture, foods.
g. Make sentences using the new vocabulary (and grammar patterns) ready
for use in class.
Comparing between the first technique (suggested by Scott Thornbury)
and second technique (suggested by Irfan Tosuncuoglu), the second technique
is more adjustable with the senior high school curriculum which demands the
students more active in the class. Learning vocabulary is not only memorizing
the words and their meaning, but also applying them into sentences and
paragraphs.
The second technique covers what students need more than the first, that is
the writer prefers implementing the second technique in the classroom.
3. Some Activities in Using Word Cards

25

Irfan Tosuncuoglu, Teaching Vocabulary for Active Use ( Kyrgyz: Manas University
Press,2008),p.143

16

Scott Thornbury, in his book How to Teach Vocabulary, gives some
activities in using word cards that teacher can use during the class, those
are26:
b. Peer teaching and testing
At the beginning of the lesson, pair students off, and ask them to
compare their current word cards sets. Encourage them to teach other the
words in their sets that they do not share, and to test each other.
c. Association games
Each learner lays down one card at the same time, with the L2 face
up. The first to make a coherent sentence incorporating both words gets a
point. (The teacher may have to adjudicate the coherence of some of the
sentences). If no association can be made by either player, put the cards
aside and deal two more. Continue in this way until all the cards are
used.
d. Guess my word
When learners are already familiar with each other‟s word card,
each takes a word by random, and other has to guess which word it is by
asking
yes/no
question,
questions,
such
as
is
it
a
noun/verb/adjective……? Does it begin with…..? Has it got
one/two/three syllables…..?etc
e. De-vowelled words
Each of pair selects a word from their word cards and writes it down
without its vowel, their partner has to work out what the word is.
f. Ghost writing
After giving some vocabularies by using word cards, teacher can
review the vocabularies by using this activity. Teacher asks students to
make a pair; each of pair takes turns into write the word in the air or on
their partner back. Their partner has to work out what the word is.
g. Categories
In pairs or small groups, learners organize their vocabularies on the
word cards into categories, for example: according to the whether the
words have hot or cold, or masculine or feminine, or good or bad, or
sweet of sour, associations.
h. Back to board
This is another guessing game, but this time the student who is „it‟
has to guess a word, which teacher has given by using word cards by
asking the rest of the class questions. The student sit facing the class,
back to the board; the teacher writes recently studied word on the board,
out of sight of the student. The student asks different students yes/no or
either/or questions in order to guess the word. For example: Mandy, is it
a verb or a noun? joe, is it an action? And so on. To make the game
easier, the words chosen can be limited in some way, for example: kinds
of verbs.
i. Pictionary
26

Scott Thornbury, How to Teach Vocabulary……………………….,p.147

17

Based on the commercialized game of the same name, this
involves students guessing word from drawings. They work in team,
each member of team taking turns to be the „artist‟. If there are three
teams, for example, the three „ artists‟ go to the front of the class where
the teacher shows them a word on a card. At the cue, they quickly return
to their group and try to get their group team to guess correctly earns a
point, and three new „artists‟ have turn with another word. At the end of
game, groups can use the pictures as memory prompts in order to recall
and write down the expressions that came up in the game, and then to put
them into a sentence to show what they mean.
i. Word Race
The class is divided into teams and each team is given a board
marker pen. The board is divided into as many sections as there are
teams. The teacher ( or a specially appointed student ) says a word from
word cards in the students‟ language, and the first team to get the correct
English translation on the board earns a point. The game continues for as
many words as it is felt necessary to review.
From some activities that the writer has mentioned above, she chooses
association game because based on the educational integrated curriculumkurikulum tingkat satuan pendidikan, students should not only be able to
recognize the meaning of the words, but they also can apply the words into
sentences, it will make the words meaningful for the students.

3. The Advantages and disadvantages of Using Word Cards
a. The Advantages
Students can get many advantages by using word cards in enriching
their vocabularies, such as27;
a. Word cards can give a sense of progress and a sense of
achievement, particularly if numerical targets are set and met.
b. Word cards are readily portable and can be used in idle
moments in or out of class either for learning new words or for
revising old ones.
c. Word cards can be specifically made suit to particular learners
and their needs and are thus self-motivating.
d. Word cards are learning tool for use at any level of vocabulary
proficiency.

27

Norbert Schmitt and Michael McCarthy, Vocabulary: Description, Acquisition, and Pedagogy
( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1997 ),p. 10

18

e. Learning from word cards will usually involve repetition of the
same material because the cards themselves do not change from
one repetition to another. However, learners can change the
way they process the cards by thinking of new sentences
containing word, applying new mnemonic techniques, thinking
of new instantiations of the word and imagining context.
f. When words are met in reading and listening or used in
speaking and writing, the generativeness of the context will
influence learning. That is, if the words occur in new sentence
context in the reading text, learning will be helped.
Word cards technique is really helpful for reinforcing students‟
memorization, the teacher does not only give the students words, then ask
them to memorize, because it will cause the students easily forget.
As the writer mentions above, that word cards are portable,
students can review them wherever and whenever. In addition, word
cards can be adjusted based on students level. Using word cards also
includes repetition, which is an important aid in learning and students can
actively recall the words.

b. The Disadvantages of Using Word Cards
Using word cards has some advantages that the writer has explained
above, however, some teaching techniques have the weakness, and so
does using word cards, it has some disadvantages28.
a. Using word cards is an outdated method of learning and it is not
agreement with communicative approach to language teaching.
b.It should not be assumed that learning from word cards means
that the words are learned forever.
c. Using word cards does not mean that all knowledge of a word
has been learned, even though it can be designed to include a
wide range of information about a word.
Teaching vocabulary through word cards needs the patience of
teacher, she/he should be patient to ask the students review their
vocabulary if teacher does not encourage them to check their cards, they

28

Norbert Schmitt and Michael McCarthy, Vocabulary: Description, Acquisition, and
Pedagogy................................p.12

19

have chance to forget their memorized vocabulary, more over for lazy
students.
Some English teaching experts regard that word cards technique is an
out of date method; it does not require the students learn English
communicatively; it is not being used in communicative purpose.
Today, in Indonesia, the students need to learn English language
communicatively; students must be able to express, interact each other
through English language, understand the reading passage, meanwhile,
word cards do not give all of what students need.

Chapter III
Research Methodology
A. The Objectives of Research
The objectives of this research are to improve students‟
achievement and enrich students‟ vocabulary by using word cards.
B. The Place and time
This research is conducted in SMK Nusantara, Jl. Tarumanegara
no. 01, Pisangan, Ciputat, on April 2011.
The object of the research is students of SMK Nusantara at
marketing program, class XI.2.
C. The Research Design
In this research, the writer uses action research designed by
Kemmis Taggart,
This research focuses on enriching students vocabulary by using
word cards, the design of classroom action reseach is as follow:

20

21

Figure 3.11

1

Rochiati Wiriaatmadja, Metode Penelitian Tindakan Kelas(Bandung: PT.Rosdakarya
Remaja,2008)p.66

22

Based on the design above, the writer describes the research design
below:
Research Cycles Design

Introduction
1. observing the school

2.interviewing the teacher
3. deciding the class

Reflecting I:

Observing I:
1. Observing the student in
the class
2. Analyzing the data
3. Giving first post test

1. Analyzing the test
2. Discussing with English
teacher

Cycle I
Acting I:
1. Teaching an

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