IMPROVING STUDENTS WRITING SKILL
BY WRITING DIARIES REGULARLY
Submitted to the English Education Program of Teaching and Education
Ibn Khaldun University Bogor
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for Final Assignment of Subject
Writing In Professional Context 2 In Semester 5 Grade
Gita Grantika Sukmawati
ENGLISH EDUCATION PROGRAM
TEACHING AND EDUCATION FACULTY
IBN KHALDUN UNIVERSITY BOGOR
Today, students are expected to be able to communicate in English as one of the international languages that is important in the world. There are many printed materials such as scientific books, magazines and newspaper written in English. These certainly give knowledge and information for the people need. In order to help the Indonesian students master science and technology. English is the first language to be taught ( Departement of Education and Culture, 1993: 28 ) however, for some of English students might be difficult to learn. Therefore, having English as a subject at their school seems to be a burden for some of them.
There are many strategies that can make English teaching and learning process communicative but none is the best. Therefore a teacher must try to find out the appropriate strategies to teach his or her students because the teacher has a very important role in the teaching and learning process. One of strategies is using creative language arts, such as song, essay, writing diary, and so on.
Structure is one of linguistic aspects which students the should learn, even thought the students may find difficulties in learning and mastering English writing skill. It is important to learn because it permeates all language skill. Subiyakti ( 1988: 12 ) mentions that the objectives of the teaching of English structure is as follows :
“Tujuan pengajaran structure ialah membimbing para siswa dalam membentuk dan memakai kalimat yang benar dan baik secara lisan maupun tulisan. Keterampilan dalam struktur ini menunjang para siswa dalam pemahaman tulisan atau bacaan maupun pemahaman bahasa inggris lisan” ( The objectives of teaching structure are to help the students form and use the right sentence orally as well as in writing. The mastery of the structure enables the students to comprehend the hard written and oral English materials ).
To get the writing skill, there are five components of the materials to be taught, namely: structure, reading, vocabulary, conversation/ dialogue and composition or writing.
Relating to the importance of teaching writing skill at the senior high school, as far it is known some students are always faced with problems of using the right sentences. In order to help students improve their English writing skill, strategy is needed to be found. It is writing diaries regulary in every English class. In this study, teachers can help their students build their motivation through writing diaries and make them interested in what they are learning.
A. The Concept of Writing
Oshima and Hogue ( 1983: 2 ) state that a paragraph writing is a basic unit of organization in writing in which a group of related sentences develops one main idea. They further explain that three major structural parts of paragraph of : the topic sentence, supporting sentences, and concluding sentence.
It can be said that writing is : (1) a. The act of one who writes, b. The act, practice, or occupation of literary composition. (2) a. A written letter or words, b. A written composition, c. A written or printed, notice, document (3) Composition in specific manner or for a specific purpose.
Furthemore, Oshima and Hogue ( 1983: 2 ) say that three major structural parts of paragraph, they are the topic sentence, supporting sentences, and concluding sentence.
• Topic Sentence
A topic sentence is a sentence which states the main idea of paragraph ( of diary ). It is called the topic of the paragraph and limits the topic that can be discussed completely in the space of single paragraph of diary ( controlling idea ).
• Supporting Sentences
Supporting sentences are sentences that develop the topic sentences by giving reasons, examples, facts, statistic, quotation, comparison, definition, classifications, descriptive.
• Concluding Sentences
A concluding sentence is a sentence which signals the end of the paragraph of diary and leaves the reader with importation points to remember. Oshima ang Hogue ( 1983: 4 ) state there are two additional elements of paragraph : unity and coherence.
- Unity means that there is only one main idea in the paragraph of diary. The main idea is stated in the topic sentence and then each and every suppoting sentence develops.
- Coherence means that the paragraph ( in this study is diary ) is easy to read and understand because, (1) The supporting sentences are in some kind of logical order, and (2) The ideas are connected by the use of appropriate transition signals. The relationship between the ideas is clearly shown by using appropriate transition words and phrases such as “first of all”, the second important characteristic”, “for example” and “in conclusion”.
In summary, a well-written diary contains five elements : a topic sentence, supporting sentence, a concluding sentence, unity, and coherence.
B. Concept of the Teaching of Diary Writing
Saleh ( 1985: 2 ) states that teaching English as a foreign language means that English is taught as school subject or a dual level solely for the purpose of giving the learner a foreign language competence which he/ she may use to read literature technical words and scientific book, to understand the dialogue in films, and to communicate orally or in writing, with the people of other countries.
Beside that the writing skill is the fourth skills, the learner of English should develop it. It is the hardest one, but the learner should be able to use written English for the purpose of writing out forms, informal letters and business letter also for diary.
The way of writing composition can be seperated into two ways, guided composition and free-Composition. Guided composition is developed at the intermediate level. Free-composition is writing on a topic of her or his choices in which the students are taught to express their ideas clearly in practical writing, and it is engaged at the advanced level.
The teaching of writing diary in this study is doing through guided writing. “Guide” means something that direct or influences ( conduct, etc ). The words “guide” refers to the way that directs the students’ conduct, and writing refers to the skill of expressing ideas in written form. It means that students enable them to express their ideas in the form of diary, a group of sentences using main idea.
In order to make students’ able to express their ideas in writing diaries, it is necessary for the teacher of English to teach them how a good diary is and what should they have made a good diary or a standard of writing.
C. Diary Writing
This instance of personal, expressive writing based on experience or recollection offers very good insight on the students’ own perception of their learning process by reflecting on their own lives. Additionally, they will gradually gain independence from the teacher and autonomy in their learning. Learning diary, in particular, is multidimensional self-evaluations that create a visible record of the students’ linguistic growth and simulate the development of meaning-making strategies, critical thinking and habits of reflective questioning.
A diary is personal record of events that happen over a period of time, usually consist of date of each diary item, and be as brief or detailed as the writer of diary like. Record events in the order in which they happened it. Includes descriptions of the events, impressions about the events, feelings triggered, and opinions the writer of diary formed based on the events.
A diary is personal and generally not meant for someone else unless the owner gives permission for it to be shared. Concept of diary is a firsthand record of ideas, impressions, feelings and opinions about the events in a persons’s life. Record the events in the order in which they happen, in as brief or as detailed a way as the writer of diary wish, for example :
October 21st, 2003.
Dear diary, today I met Amy after I have been no see her for long time. We talked everything that remains us fourth years ago, where we as a good friend in high school. Hanging out and share everything together. That was a beautiful moment, now she is a wife and mother for two daughters. I’m so glad to know that, but also make jealous for her beautiful life, I wish that I can be like her someday.
A written diary consist of one or more sentences and the sentences should have a clear relation with each other. In technical fields, the communicative aspect of writing has gained widespread. Attention as writing has become one of the most widely used modes of communication. Technical writing involves several genres of reporting: oral presentations, technical reports, proposals, business letters, journal articles ( Huckin and Olsen 1983 ). However the basic skill involved in writing diaries as their activity and report.
The diary writing describes their daily activity, write on their private book or in other media, telling about their life. Besides its training teh students to write well, this could be made the students closer to their teacher. It can also make the students no seperated walls to learn. The content based approach, which connects language with the study of specific academics, is widely advocated. In teaching English for specific purposes. In teaching writing, it is seen as a good way to develop thinking, researching, and writing ( Shih, 1986: 58 ).
Diary is a book, sometimes with spaces for each day of the year, in which one writes about one daily experiences, record one’s private history. In US, diary also means calender of a book with spaces for each day of the year, in which one can write down appointments, things to be done in the future, etc. example a desk diary which consists of a note of the next meeting in diary.
Beach and Bridwell ( 1984: 47 ) state that if writing is linked to the specific subject matter students are learning, the ability to think and learn can be strengthened simultaneosly because of the students’ high motivation to study. In a word, the content based approach in teaching writing enables student writing to experience the process of learning to write and writing to learn. ( Shih 1986: 26 ).
Saleh ( 1996: 14-15 ) states that research findings indicate that successful language learners are those who are not only able to use the language correctly and appropriately in oral communication, but also in written communication actively ( speaking and writing ) as well as passively ( reading and listening ). It means that written communication plays an important role in communicative activities, especially in daily activities.
Diary writing, although not the focus of most writing courses, has probably been one of the most effective and popular additions to writing activities. Diary writing can allow a personal voice to develop, which is often lost when only traditional basic writing skills are stressed. Because diary involves students in non-threatening exploration and development of ideas.
Diary usually saves the secret of the writer’s life, the open sentences to help you write as follows:
My favorite things are........
I am happy if........>< I hate if.........
The best thing of........is........
When I grow up, I will........
CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS
Based on the data from taken from research findings, it can be concluded that motivation that was given by the teacher can improve the writing skill of the students. The writer would give conclusion as follows:
1) In fact, diary witing was difficult subject because many students rarely taught the writing subject.
2) The students got difficulty in using summarizing to mention or make decision which the best main idea of each paragraph given.
3) The students got difficulty in reordering sentences to make a good paragraph, the difficulties were in using vocabulary. They couldn’t arrange the sentences into logical order.
The teaching and learning activities in the classroom, review the tense in paragraph, and gave the students to ask some difficult words were helpful in teaching writing skill by diary writing through summarizing and reordering sentences.
In this moment, the writer would like to give some suggestions to the teacher and the students as follows:
1) Students should memorize regular and irregular verb. It is better for them to practice their writing skill by writing diaries regularly if they have spare time.
2) Students should enlarge their vocabulary stock, having dictionaries in English class which can help them find the meaning, stress and pronunciation of the new words.
3) Students should try to do exercise of diary writing before the teacher asks.
4) The Engish teacher is suggested to be more creative in teaching and always apply new methods teaching English writing.
5) Teacher can use diary writing to evaluate the students mastery of the structure being learned. It means that the teacher also has to teach writing beside structure grammar.
6) To solve problems about some students who always get bad score, the teacher must given them motivation based on their characteristics so that the students are willing to follow the learning diary writing process.
7) It is expected that the teacher will always give more motivation to the students and do not stop and get bored to give the students motivation in learning diary writing.