BLOG AS A MEDIA FOR TEACHING FRIENDLY LETTER
CUNONG NUNUK SURAJA
ENGLISH EDUCATION PROGRAM
TEACHING AND EDUCATION FACULTY
IBN KHALDUN UNIVERSITY BOGOR
A. Background of the Study
Improving writing would benefit someone in their life. It is used to send ones’ imagination enriching ideas, sharing the feeling and experience to other people as a useful tool for discovering and thinking (Barbara, 1985: 1). In other words, writing enables someone to transfer the information to other people. To improve students’ writing skills, the students must be given opportunities to write, in a variety of ways and contexts. Helping the students to improve their communication skills through writing a letter can help in developing the ability to write English (Little 2005: 75).
Writing is included in the curriculum but it makes boring to the students and it is often viewed by the students as the irrelevant persuasive, expository, narrative and reflective writing. All of these types of writing are effectively to use to communicate in the world.
Many teaching techniques or methods can be applied in teaching learning English. It must be chosen the best way in accordance with the situation and condition of the classroom. It is very useful for the students to express their ideas through writing. One technique which can be chosen is the friendly letter writing. This technique is enjoyable, simple, and effective in the teaching-learning process through writing it the students can communicate naturally. A friendly letter is a way of communicating between two people (sometimes more) who are usually well acquainted. There are many uses and reasons for writing a friendly letter, but usually it will consist of a personal topic.
The good news is technology can help us. Technology, used effectively, can help add the component of relevance to writing an authentic audience, collaboration, purpose, and student motivation. Technology is ever increasing part of the English language arts classroom. Today’s teachers are developing new and exciting means of integrating language, writing, and literature with innovative technologies. One of the techniques which could be effective to language learning and teaching through any internet services are considered as beneficial facilities to implement such learning are, it provide help for much more modern classroom, activities like, online learning (Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, Chat, etc.) students are getting familiar with the internet. They could spend much time to, for example using blog. Because students are interested in using blog that the researcher made dissection to use blog a teaching media to language teaching functioning to improve their ability. As Richard stated that “different writers adapt to word processing in different ways” (1989:11). You need to experiment until you find some ways that seem suited to your own writing processes and intentions.
Blog is one technological tool that can help improve writing. To improve at anything, individuals need practice and feedback. They also need to be able to chart their progress, to compare their work and see improvement. With this in mind blog can be used by teachers as a formative assessment tool. Since blog is online there is the potential for feedback from inside the classroom as well as outside the classroom. Blog is a great way to get students motivated and hooked on writing.
B. Statement of the Problem
Based on the background of the study, the researcher intended to find out what is the effectiveness of teaching friendly letter writing by using blog to improve students’ writing?
C. Purpose of the Study
The purposes of writing this research is to identify whether teaching friendly letter writing by using blog is effective or not to be applied at the school.
D. Limitation of the Study
As researcher knows, there are many ways to teach friendly letter writing. But in this research, the researcher focuses on what is the effectiveness of teaching friendly letter writing by using blog to improve students’ writing.
E. Research Methodology
In this research, the researcher uses the qualitative method. The researcher wants to know the different improvement increased by the students after learning friendly letter writing by using blog. In this case, the researcher used the experiment method to answer the question.
1. Population and Sample
The population is the first grade students of senior high school as a sample the researcher took two classes consisting of 33 students at the experimental class and 33 students at the control class.
In the research activity, research instrument is a means of collecting data that proposed to obtain information about the condition, ability and characteristics of the population to know the students’ attention and motivation in learning friendly letter writing by using blog.
The instruments of the study are:
a. Observation: to get information directly from school about the teaching friendly letter by using blog.
b. Post test: to find out the progress of writing ability of the students which were taught using blog in teaching friendly letter and find out the different result between the control class and experimental class.
c. Questionnaire: to know whether the students are interested in learning friendly letter by using blog.
F. Organization of the Paper
The paper divides into four chapters. Chapter One introduces about Background of the Study, Statement of the Problem, Purpose of the Study, Limitation of the Study, Research Methodology and Organization the Paper. Chapter Two consists of the Theoretical Foundation that explains method and techniques in teaching writing and how to use blog. Chapter Three is about Analysis and Research Findings through data interpretation. And Chapter Four contains Conclusions and Suggestion.
A. Definition of Writing
Writing refers to two things: writing as a noun, the thing that is written, and writing as a verb, which designates the activity of writing. It refers to the inscription of characters on a medium, thereby forming words, and larger units of language, known as a text. It also refers to the creation of meaning and the information thereby generated. In that regard, linguistics (and related sciences) distinguishes between the written language and the spoken language. The significance of the medium by which meaning and information is conveyed is indicated by the distinction made in the arts and sciences. For example, while public speaking and poetry reading are both types of speech, the former is governed by the rules of rhetoric and the latter by poetics. Writing, then, is a means of communication that people must consciously learn. It is sported by Eric Gould Writing is a tool to communicate between writer and reader, by writing the writer can tell anything. The reader will get information, situation and many others” (1989:86). In writing people have to communicate without facial expression, gestures, or body English of many kinds. They have to speak with words and punctuation alone.
When people talk, they normally talk to someone who talks back, who raises questions, which lets people know whether or not they are making their self clear. But when people write, they work alone. James A. W Heffernan said that “writing is a solitary act” (1982: 5). Even if people are writing a letter to a friend, he or she will not suddenly materialize to prod or prompt people into speech, to help them fill in the gaps that so often occur when they try to tell a story or give an explanation off the top their head to write well, they have to anticipate the reaction of the reader writers cannot see and hear. Many people are intimidated by writing. Even so, there are times when writing is the best way to communicate, and often times the only way to get writer’s message across. John E. Lincoln stated that
”No one learns to write automatically. Writing cannot even a single letter of the alphabet without a conscious effort of mind and hand, and to get beyond the single letter, you must show how to form words, how to put words together into sentences, and now to punctuate those sentence” (1982 :34).
Writing does have one big advantage over speaking. It gives time to think, to try idea on paper, to choose words, to read what have written, to rethink, revise, and rearrange it, and most importantly, to consider its effect on a reader. Writing gives people time to find the best possible way of stating what they mean. And the more people study the craft of writing, the better they will use their writing more.
B. Writing Letter
There are definitions of letter: first writing is one who lets or permits; one who lets anything for hire. Second a mark or character used as the representative of a or an sound. Third articulation of the human organs of speech; a first element of written language. Fourth writing is an inscription, written or printed communication; a message expressed in intelligible characters on something adapted to conveyance, as paper, parchment, etc. And the last, writing is to impress with letters; to mark with letters or words; as a book gilt and lettered.
There are three basic kinds of letters: personal, social, and business. All letters contain four elements: the date, a salutation, the body of the letter, and the signature. In more formal letters, particularly business correspondence, a number of other features are added to this basic structure.
Letter writing is a skill that students are likely to need at some point in their lives, regardless of where they end up, whether writing an absence excuse to their children's teacher, writing a letter of complaint to a store, writing a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, or writing a letter of appreciation or a thank you note to someone who has made a difference in their lives, all students, at one point or another, will end up writing a letter.
Beyond the simple usefulness of the skill, letter writing makes a nice classroom assignment because it foregrounds issues of audience and the ways that audience affects tone, content, and style. Further, letter writing is a familiar kind of writing for most of our students unlike literary analysis, letters are something our students are likely to sit down and write on their own, with control a teacher in sight. These assignments involve writing letters or analyzing the letters that others have written.
C. Writing Friendly Letter
Writing Letters is a two week communication skills project. The flexibility of this project should allow teachers to focus on certain issues. This can shorten or lengthen the scope and sequence of the lessons. This is a fun and motivating process to teach and review letter writing with your students. This project invites the teacher and students to enjoy letter writing in various ways. Students are offered an opportunity to understand how letter styles vary. Together, teacher and students, will work together to support themselves with a letter writing talent improving and strengthening thinking and communication skills.
A friendly letter is a way of communicating between two people (sometimes more) who are usually well acquainted. There are many uses and reasons for writing a friendly letter, but usually friendly letters consists of topics on a personal level. Friendly letters can either be printed or hand-written.
D. Teaching Writing
The most important factor in writing exercises is that students need to be personally involved in order to make the learning experience of lasting value. Encouraging student participation in the exercise, while at the same time refining and expanding writing skills, requires a certain pragmatic approach. It means that the teacher should be clear on what skills he/she is trying to develop. And the teacher needs to decide on which means (or type of exercise) can facilitate learning of the target area. Once the target skill areas and means of implementation are defined, the teacher can then proceed to focus on what topic can be employed to ensure student participation. By pragmatically combing these objectives, the teacher can expect both enthusiasm and effective learning. Teaching can be defined apart fro learning. Nathan Gage stated that “teaching is guiding and facilitating learning, enabling the learner to learn, setting the conditions for learning” (1964:74).
E. Definition of Blog
Internet is a wide computer network that can connect computer users from one country to other countries in the world in which there are lot of static, dynamic and interactive information. Internet is an International Network. It means there is a connection between computer networks.
Blogs are one technological tool that can help improve writing. To improve at anything, individuals need practice and feedback. They also need to be able to chart their progress, to compare their work and see improvement. With this in mind blogs can be used by teachers as a formative assessment tool in place of writing portfolios. Since blogs are on-line there is the potential for feedback from inside the classroom as well as outside the classroom. Blogs are a great way to get students motivated and hooked on writing. Gavin Dudeney and Nicky Hockly said that a blog is essentially a web page with a regular diary or journal entries. A blog is one of the internet facilities which enable the users to send their data and regular diaries that can be accessed by other people (2007:84). Generally, a blog is used to present opinion, thought, analyzing, and experience including photo, video and music. It means that the students can use the facility to share any information including material for learning, so do the teachers. The teachers can use the facility as a simple and effective media to collect student assignments.
A blog (a contraction of the term Web log) is a Web site, usually maintained by an individual, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.
Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (artlog), photographs (photoblog), sketches (sketchblog), videos (vlog), music (MP3 blog), audio (podcasting), which are part of a wider network of social media. Micron blogging is another type of blogging, one which consists of blogs with very short posts. As of December 2007, blog search engine Technorati was tracking more than 112 million blogs. With the advent of video blogging, the word blog has taken on an even looser meaning that of any bit of media wherein the subject expresses his opinion or simply talks about something.
F. Types of Blog
There are many different types of blogs, differing not only in the type of content, but also in the way that content is delivered or written.
1. Personal Blogs
The personal blog, an ongoing diary or commentary by an individual, is the traditional, most common blog. Personal bloggers usually take pride in their blog posts, even if their blog is never read by anyone but them. Blogs often become more than a way to just communicate; they become a way to reflect on life or works of art. Blogging can have a sentimental quality. Few personal blogs rise to fame and the mainstream, but some personal blogs quickly garner an extensive following. A type of personal blog is referred to as microblogging, which is extremely detailed blogging as it seeks to capture a moment in time. Sites, such as Twitter, allow bloggers to share thoughts and feelings instantaneously with friends and family, it is much faster than e-mailing or writing. This form of social media lends to an online generation already too busy to keep in touch.
2. Corporate Blogs
A blog can be private, as in most cases, or it can be for business purposes. Blogs, either used internally to enhance the communication and culture in a corporation or externally for marketing, branding or public relations purposes are called corporate blogs.
3. Question Blogging
Is a type of blog that answers questions. Questions can be submitted in the form of a submittal form, or through email or other means such as telephone or VOIP. Ologs can be used to display shownotes from podcasts or the means of conveying information through the internet. Many question logs use syndication such as RSS as a means of conveying answers to questions.
4. By Media Type
A blog comprising videos is called a vlog, one comprising links is called a linklog, a site containing a portfolio of sketches is called a sketchblog or one comprising photos is called a photoblog. Blogs with shorter posts and mixed media types are called tumblelogs.
A rare type of blog hosted on the Gopher Protocol is known as a Phlog.
5. By Device
Blogs can also be defined by which type of device is used to compose it. A blog written by a mobile device like a mobile phone or PDA could be called a moblog. One early blog was Wearable Wireless Webcam, an online shared diary of a person's personal life combining text, video, and pictures transmitted live from a wearable computer and EyeTap device to a web site. This practice of semi-automated blogging with live video together with text was referred to as sousveillance. Such journals have been used as evidence in legal matters.
6. By Genre
Some blogs focus on a particular subject, such as political blogs, travel blogs, house blogs, fashion blogs, project blogs, education blogs, niche blogs, classical music blogs, quizzing blogs and legal blogs (often referred to as a blawgs) or dreamlogs. While not a legitimate type of blog, one used for the sole purpose of spamming is known as a Splog.
Students are always happy when they see something happening in class that they think of as a practical skill and it blogging is for them a practical skill, when for faculty members it means to a liberal arts education. Students see this as connecting to a broader sort of technology or social movement in society. Finally, the public nature of blogging improves students’ writing because they know that their peers and other people besides the instructor will be reading their work.
ANALYSIS AND RESEARCH FINDING
A. Research Methodology
In this research, the researcher used blog to teach friendly letter writing to the first grade of senior high school, as an alternative technique in teaching letter writing. There were several advantages to be applied with technique. This study would give advantages to both teachers and students in improving English writing. The advantages are as follows:
1. The teacher was more creative and got more information about the alternative way in teaching English.
2. The students were motivated in learning English especially in writing exercise because the activity was fun and enjoyable.
3. The students could overcome their difficulties in formatting letter writing, arranging words into sentence and making good structure or grammar.
4. The students were more creative in creating alliteration sentence and enriching their English vocabulary.
5. The students could write the English words or sentences effectively and accurately, especially when studied in the class.
Based on the advantages above, the writer realized some weakness. Teacher should improve their knowledge and ability in English especially in writing letter because a teacher should be a good model for their students. Once the teacher seemed doubtful in writing particular words, at the same time, the students hesitated to write those particular words. It effected to students’ writing. Teacher should prepare the material well in order to avoid problems that would arise during the learning process.
The researcher found out that blog could motivate the students to learn and foster them to able to write English words correctly. Furthermore, they also felt enjoy in learning English writing because they had a chance to cooperate and correct each other in a group work. Using blog was applied in such a way to meet the object of the lesson and students’ interest. As the result, the students found out that using blog was fun and enjoyable because they felt they were finding new media while learning English writing.
The aims of this research is to find out the progress of writing letter ability of the students who were taught friendly letter by using blog and find out the difference result between the control and experimental class. The researcher gained and compared the scores from two groups. The researcher used qualitative research method by the experimental class and the control class. The following was the data of the students’ score between the control and the experimental class after the researcher did the experiment in the class by using and giving the post test. It was needed to know the effectiveness of teaching friendly letter by using blog. Technique sampling was used in random sampling; there were two classes, which were consisted 33 students for the control class and 33 for the experimental class. The description above was taken from the teaching learning activity which using presentation technique to improve writing ability for students.
B. Technique of Collecting Data
The techniques of collecting data in this research are:
The observation at first grade of senior high school was done to know something concerning with the first grade students, the English teacher, English curriculum and English teaching learning process in the classroom. To know how far the teaching friendly letter writing was effective, the writer tried to observe by giving questionnaire to the students to know their attitude development after they had been given the treatment of teaching friendly letter writing by using blog.
In teaching learning in the class, the writer should use interesting method of teaching in the classroom. Teaching friendly letter writing by using blog would be an alternative way to motivate the students. In the research, the writer observed:
1. The procedure of teaching friendly letter writing by using blog
2. The effectiveness of teaching friendly letter writing by using blog.
3. The students’ interest to study English writing by using blog.
4. The experiment.
The researched acted as a teacher in teaching friendly letter by using blog at the first grade of students of senior high school.
The researcher gave the material of how to write friendly letter and how to make blog. Then the researcher gave written post test to the control and the experimental class. The students had to answer the question and then they sent to their blog. The test was held after having finished the study.
The researcher gave the questionnaires to the experimental class, to know whether the students are interested in learning friendly letter writing by using blog.
C. The Difference of Students Score
Based on the result of post test class after the experiment (without using blog), told that the experimental class had different result from the control class. The score of the experimental was higher than the control class. The results of research show that the score of the experimental class was better than the control class. The mean of sample class was 82,3 and the control class was 70,8. The writer concludes the teaching friendly letter by using blog helped the students improve their language skill in the class, especially in writing ability.
D. The Students’ Interest in Studying Friendly Letter Writing by Using Blog.
To know the students’ interest in studying friendly letter writing by using blog, the researcher gave the questionnaires to the students in the experimental class. The writer gained and explained the result of the questionnaires. The following was the table of students’ interest in studying friendly letter writing by using blog based on their experience and feeling.
The questionnaires explained that the students needed a lot of exposures in method of teaching. Based on answering of the students, the researcher analyzed how the students liked being given teaching friendly letter writing by using blog. The writer tried to make students easy and fun to learn friendly letter. As an English teacher, he should use in interesting method while teaching in the classroom. Teaching friendly letter by using blog could make the students more creative and active while teaching learning in the classroom. The result of students’ questionnaires told teaching writing by using blog was relevant and it shows that the students were very enthusiastic in learning friendly letter by using blog.
Most of students stated that English was very useful for the students because English as a foreign language was needed for their future. Basically, English was very difficult to learn for students but if the teacher could facilitate and motivate them in learning English, the students would enjoy and interest above showed that students liked to study English.
Blog is one technological tool that can help improve writing. To improve at anything, individuals need practice and feedback. They also need to be able to chart their progress and to compare their work and see improvement. With this in mind blog can be used by teachers as a formative assessment tool. Since blog is on-line there is the potential for feedback from inside the classroom as well as outside the classroom. Blog is a great way to get students motivated and hooked on writing.
Learners need a positive and supportive environment in which to enjoy writing as well as to discuss problems overcome difficulties. An example of positive and supportive environment is by leading the students to write letter, such as friendly letter and using blog. The approach that is adopted will clearly defend on the individual style of the teacher, the type of learners and the teaching context. Thus, writing letter should be well organized and effectively implemented to assist students in improving their English writing.
Teaching friendly letter by using blog was effective for the students. That reason based on students stating. They said that method could give easy to write word of their mind and they could correct the words directly. This method was not found before. It could make students enthusiast in learning English, especially friendly letter because, this method use the material by using blog. They did not feel difficult in learning even though did not know the method before. The writer made the students prefer studying friendly letter writing by using blog.
Writing is one of the most important skills in English. Through writing, we are able to get a lot of advantages. It is used to send ones’ thought and imagination enriching ideas, sharing the feeling and experience to other people. We can also immortalize our life journey through writing on piece of paper. That is why writing is really crucial to be mastered by students of senior high school.
But we face some problems in teaching writing. Moreover writing is indeed difficult. We need interesting media to overcome such a thing. It was proved that by using blog as one of the internet service, students got more excited and interested to write. It was a good starting point. Whenever they liked it, they enjoyed doing the activity, as the result a better writing skill could be gained.
Blog was one technological tool that could help improve writing. To improve at anything, individuals needed practice and feedback. They also needed to be able to chart their progress and to compare their work and see improvement. Finally, blog could be used by teachers as a formative assessment tool.
The achievement of writing of the students who were taught by using blog was effective than those who were not taught without using blog. It was proven by the result of mean of the experimental class and the mean of the control class. And based on the student’ questionnaires that they were more interested in studying writing by using blog than without using blog. In this case, the teacher could teach writing in improving writing letter skill using blog.
Technology is becoming increasingly important in both of personal and professional lives and learners are using technology more and more. Yet teacher training programmers often ignore training in the use of information and communication technology, and teachers are often far less skilled and knowledgeable than their own students when it comes to using current technology.
Teaching friendly letter by using blog is one way to improve students’ English, especially their writing skill. The writer hopes this paper could give an interest method to readers and teachers, because it gives students interest and effective method.
The teacher should apply teaching by using blog, because it was proven effective for students’ skill in learning writing mainly writing letter. And the teacher should give motivation how to teach students by using blog technique. This technique is very simply but many teachers feel difficult to apply it.
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