TEACHING VOCABULARY IN WRITING SKILL THROUGH GAMES IN COMPUTER
ENGLISH EDUCATION PROGRAM
FACULTY OF TEACHERS TRAINING & EDUCATION
BOGOR IBN KHALDUN UNIVERSITY
A. The Background
English an international language is used almost in every country. The growing of English an as international language is difficult to be denied. English is used in every sector such industry, trade, education and so on. Considering the important role of English in human resources development, the government includes English in the educational curriculum as an obligatory school subject.
The educational development has been improving side by side the technology development. The educational world has been trying to use some benefits of the technology especially in computer field.
Although computers have been with us since the 1940s when they were used in commerce and government administration (in America) the computers were not used for educational purposes until 1960s. Some sources say that the computers can play in the teaching and learning process in general and in learning languages in particular.
The varieties of the ways of teaching vocabulary are presented by games usually loved by the learners because contain of game and enjoyable to be participated, and so the vocabulary game programs in computer.
Surely the game and enjoyable factors are not the main purposes of teaching vocabulary through games in computer. These are also important factors for the students to learn vocabulary and giving them a new or another situation of teaching learning process that could support the students in learning English particularly in increasing their vocabulary.
Computer is a machine that manipulates data according to a set of instructions. For many years in the history of education students use the slate and the teacher uses blackboard. And until now blackboard is still used as a teaching aid because besides it is a most effective mean of communication between the teacher and students, the blackboard is also cheaper so it is easer to be prepared.
Talking about the computer, it differs from any other teaching aids that have come into classroom. Addison mentions in his book Microcomputer in the classroom, as follows “The computers offers new ways of teaching and make it possible to introduce new practices and emphasis into education”. (Addison, 1984: 65).
Education is not just transmitting knowledge; it is far more than that. The involvement of computer in education especially in teaching-learning process cannot be denied. The computer is use to enhance the learning situation. The use of the computer does not mean to eliminate the role of the teacher, but to help the teacher develops the learning situation to be in the direction of greater interaction with the students.
Looking at the effectiveness of the teaching-learning process, teachers should select the materials they prepare to fit the students’ knowledge level and circumstances so that they can support the effectiveness of teaching-learning process.
Computer is not going to be appropriate in all situations where the use of the computer will increase the effectiveness of the learning, or facilitate further learning. The computer may be able to reduce the teacher domination in the classroom and make learning condition become more natural.
By the development of the technology, the teaching aid expanded. Now there are some teaching aids and some schools or educational institutions which have one or more teaching aids such as slide projector, film projector, tape recorder, television, video recorder and computer. From those all teaching aids above the computer is the most effective teaching aid that can overcome the problems that can not be solved by any others.
The computer as an electronic blackboard is interactive (Mullan, 1984: 45). It means that the computer can appear the dynamic aspects of some ideas. For example, when we having mistake in typing the text in the computer (spelling), the computer can help us to correct our spelling by mark the text by red underline. The computer is more flexible than other teaching aids: even it is limited to what has been programmed.
A game is a structured activity, usually undertaken for enjoyment and sometimes used as an educational tool. Games generally involve mental or physical stimulation, and often both. Many games help develop practical skills, serve as a form of exercise, or otherwise perform an educational, stimulation or psychological role. Recently games have become more widely used in learning English, especially learning vocabulary. We can find there are many vocabulary games such as; cross puzzle, scramble, jumbled letter, adventures and so on.
A brief definition about game explained by Steinberg in his book Teaching Computers to Teach. He states that “Game is an educational activity presented in a game format” (Steinberg, 1984: 144). The basic aim of vocabulary games is to develop the learner vocabulary and perhaps there are other additional aims which may be more or less important according to the circumstances such as fun, relaxation and enjoyment to the lesson, and motivation. It is not wrong because sometimes the teachers and the learners need to relax but do not forget to the main teaching –learning purposes.
1. Educational Aspects of Games
The computer provides facilities for game and role playing. Exercises to develop skill can be presented in a game. In designing a game a teacher has to be concerned that a game has to be carefully organized. The explanation should be easy to be understood.
2. Motivational Aspects of Games
The potential motivations of games are manifold. Thomas Malone distinguished between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. An activity is intrinsically motivating if there is no obvious external reward, and an activity extrinsically motivating if there is some form of reward, such as money or social reinforcement. (Steinberg: 1984:150).
It is cited from Malon (1984), Steinberg wrote that there are three characteristics of intrinsically motivating games. There are challenge, fantasy, and curiosity (Steinberg,1984:150).
To be challenging, a game must have an obvious goal to the player, and includes multiple-goal levels. Sometimes hidden information can also add challenge to a game. Fantasy is a situation that evokes mental imagine, in extrinsic fantasy the student does not need skill in task. Thomas Malone says that curiosity involves an element of novelty programs present the learner with a novelty. The programs teach in different and more interesting learning situation and present material through games and problem-solving techniques.
3. The Advantages of Computers Games
There are some of the advantages of computer games:
a. Games have a high motivational value.
b. Games can be played by small groups and therefore encourage co-operation.
c. Games impose discipline through rules.
d. Games encourage discussion through tactics.
e. Games introduce new ideas for exploration.
f. Games can increase concentration.
g. Games can encourage creativity. (Martin, 1984:60)
Other advantages of games according to Bond are:
a. Motivation. Games are fun, and the students are motivated by this aspect.
b. Safe environment. Social and life skills cannot easily be passed on without the opportunities to practice them. Games provide a safe environment in which to do this. They allow group members to experiment with new behavior and to make errors without incurring the cost of similar mistakes in real life.
c. People can change. Games are one way of conveying the message that everyone can choose to change themselves or their relationships with others. Games by themselves are unlikely to change long-term or more intractable problems but they can motivate participants to seek help from counselor or elsewhere. Games used correctly can support this process and are often sufficient to effect some changes or to begin the process of personal change if the participants want this.
d. Involvement. Games encourage the participant of the less expressive and less dominant group members. Typically everyone has a role in the game and either by the structure of small group discussions or because of involvement in the activity a greater number of people becomes involved in discussion afterwards. The discussion is usually more exciting for the participants because it grows out of activity.
e. Taking responsibility. Games provide a structure which can be used to reduce dependency on the leader as the one who is all powerful or who knows it all. The participants are forced to accept some responsibility for making their part of activates work especially if a democratic style of leadership is adopted, in this way games can encourage self-reliance and improve self-confidence.
f. Flexibility and relevance. Because the participants contribute their own experiences and skills, and the rules encourage this to happen, each group uses the games at its own level and in its own way. This input by the group also helps to ensure that the game seems relevant to the participants.
g. Receptiveness. Because the games take place is an atmosphere of fun and the levels of anxiety remain relatively low, people do not feel defensive. This mean they are more likely to hear what is said and to be able to evaluate it for themselves. The heightened emotions that are produce by anxiety create selective hearing or even a total inability to hear what is said.
h. Group cohesiveness. Games encourage cohesiveness in the group and a sense of group identity. This is particularly true if the games selected encourage cooperation and improved communication in the group.
i. Framework and structure. Games offer a framework and structure to group experiences which allow leaders to work within their own limitations of experience and skill by selecting appropriate games. They are an effective method of achieving rapid learning within a task-orientated setting and this process can be considerably helped or hindered by the leader. (Bond, 1986: 13).
B. Vocabulary in Writing
Vocabulary is the set of words they are familiar with in a language. A vocabulary usually grows and evolves with age, and serves as a useful and fundamental tool for communication and acquiring knowledge. Or, vocabulary is defined as "all the words known and used by a particular person". However, the words known and used by a particular person do not constitute all the words a person is exposed to. Writing vocabulary is all the words he or she can employ in writing. Contrary to the previous two vocabulary types, the writing vocabulary is stimulated by its user.
The definition of writing itself is the representation of language in a textual medium through the use of a set of signs or symbols (known as a writing system). Writing is an extension of human language across time and space.
Writing most likely began as a consequence of political expansion in ancient cultures, which needed reliable means for transmitting information, maintaining financial accounts, keeping historical records, and similar activities. So, by many of vocabulary we can write anything, we can master all skill such as speaking, reading, listening and especially in writing.
We can application the simple vocabulary into making sentences by each unit contains a cryptogram, missing letter(s), vocabulary quiz, word chop, word scramble, word list, and word search worksheet or alphabetic order cryptogram handwriting missing letter(s) vocabulary quiz word list word chop word scramble word search, for the first grade.
As we known all of children are very like playing games in computer. And the instructions of computers used English and exactly in games so. The children can understand all instruction of games computer because they are habitual with the English instruction of it. At the case, we can conclusion how much they get vocabulary from the computer and also game. They can add some new vocabularies.
In fact, the main point in learning foreign language is vocabulary, if we have many vocabularies, we can speak English fluently beside of the structure or grammar is also important in learning foreign language. We can improve our vocabulary by reading some English book, or from the instruction in the ways or some places such as restaurant, hospital, etc, and also by some instructions in computer.
And the prospect of the development of computer to be used as a teaching aid especially at teaching vocabulary will have supports from many sides both from educational circle and students or anyone who learn English and surely hopes that computers will give a great motivation for students or anyone who learn English.
Intensive English Course as one of the English courses which has been admitted as on of the qualified English courses in Indonesia, has brought out the students to have good ability of English. By motivating them through the programs such games in computer, the students can improve their vocabulary ability.
Even now computers have been used in all fields including educational field, not all of the people can use computer because the price of the computer is high enough especially for the schools in the coastal-territory which do not have much fund to have computers. Not all schools or English courses have computers to be used by teachers and students as teaching-learning aid.
Alan, Madison. Microcomputer in the Classroom. British: The Chaucer Press Ltd., 1984.
David, A. Husain. Can Computers Teach Languages? Article of The Teaching English Forum. United States: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1989.
David, G. Hawkridge. New Information Technology in Education. London: Biddles Ltd., 1983.
Tim, Bond. Games for Social and Life Skill. London: Hutchinson and Co Ltd., 1986.
Wallace, Michael. J. Teaching Vocabulary (Practical Language Teaching). London: Heinemann Educational Books Ltd., 1982.