Jumat, 14 Mei 2010

IMPROVING THE STUDENTS’ LISTENING SKILL BY LISTENING GAMES

A.Ghufran Ferdiant*


*Madura University

ABSTRACT
The main objective of this study was intended to describe the phenomenon
obtained by L2 learners in improving their listening skill by listening games.
The specific objectives of this study were: (1) How listening games were
applied by the lecturer in teaching learning process of listening; (2) whether
listening games could improve the students’ listening skill; (3) which type
of game the students like most in teaching learning process of listening. The
data were taken 25 university students by using test, observation,
questionnaire, documentation, and interview. After the data were analyzed,
it was known that There was a significant increase of mean score from
4.52 for students' pre-test to 7.44 for the students' post-test. By
using percentage, it was known that there were 9 students (36%) could
pass the criteria of success.

Key Words: Improving, listening skill, listening games.

INTRODUCTION
There are four skills in English that should be mastered by the students who are studying English. One of the skills is listening. Listening is anything but a passive activity. It is a complex, active process in which the listener must discriminate between sounds, understand vocabulary and grammatical structures, interpret stress and intonation, retain what was gathered in all of the above, and interpret it within the immediate as well as the larger sociocultural context of the utterance. Co-ordinating all of this involves a great deal of mental activity on the part of the listener. Listening is hard work, and deserves more analysis and support. Therefore, most Indonesian students admit that listening subject is the most difficult subject among the others. In line with the statement above, once Dalton (2007) in a workshop for English teachers and students in Pamekasan stated that the big problem in Indonesia is most Indonesians are lazy to listen.
Listening comprehension as a separate and important component of language learning only came into focus after significant debate about its validity. Recent research has demonstrated the critical role of language input in language learning ( Dunkel et.al, 1991). This has led Dunkel to confirm that listening skill should be possessed by those who are involved in language learning.

As mentioned above, it is now generally known that listening skill plays a key role in facilitating, language learning. According to Gary (1975), giving pre-eminence to listening comprehen¬sion, particularly in the early stages of second language teaching or learning, provides advantages of four different types: cognitive,
efficiency, utility. and affective.

In accordance with the explanation above, it tends the usefulness of the receptive skill, or the utility advantage. Research has demonstrated that adults spend 40¬50% of communication time listening. 25-30% speaking, 11-16% reading, and about 9% writing (Rivers in Gilman and Moody, 1984: 331). It follows that language learners will make greater use of comprehension skills. Whereas speakers can, at their own pace, use paralinguistics and other communication strategies to maintain commu¬nication, listeners must adjust to the speaker's tempo and active vocabulary. This is probably the most important reason for teaching listening comprehension strategies, and provides the rationale for the continued inclusion of listening activities throughout a language program, even at advanced levels.
The final advantage of an emphasis on listening comprehension is the psychological advantage. Without the pressure of early oral production there is less potential embarrassment about producing sounds that are difficult to master. especially for adults and teenagers. Once this pressure is eliminated, they can relax and focus on developing the listening skill, and on internalizing the rules which will facilitate the emergence of the other skills. Moreover, listening comprehension results in earlier achievement and a sense of success. The student has greater motivation to continue learning; as one student commented to Rubin (1988: 1): I like this (exercise). It makes me feel smart.
Hence, listening comprehension is a highly integrative skill. It plays an important role in the process of language learning/acquisition, facilitating the emergence of other language skills. For these reasons, an awareness and deployment of effective listening comprehension strategies can help students capitalize on the language input they are receiving. One of the strategies is applying games in listening teaching process.
Games not only function as time filling activities but also bring some educational values. Lee (1979:2) stated that most language games make learners use the language instead of thinking about learning the correct form. Besides, games should be treated as a central not peripheral to the foreign language teaching program. Even, Steinberg (1988:ix) emphasized that games are a viable method to achieve many educational objectives such as reinforcement, review, reward, relax, inhibition reduction, attentiveness, retention, and motivation. This implied that any English teacher or lecturer should know and master the skill of using language games in his or her class.
Then, Richard and Amato (1988:14) believed that games could be fun. They can lower anxiety. They can add diversion to the regular classroom activities, break the ice, and introduce new ideas. Hansen (1994:118) asserted that they can innovate, and entertain. They can also give shy students more opportunity to express their opinion and feelings. They also enable learners to acquire new experiences within a foreign language. Furthermore, Zdybiewska (1994:6) supported that games can become a good way of practicing language, because they provide a model of what learners will use the language for in real life in the future.
In line with the explanation above, Dalton et.al (2009:20-32) confirmed that there are twenty games which can be applied in teaching learning process of listening, they are as follows: (1) tic-tac-toe, (2) how many things can you think of that….?, (3) Chinese whispers, (4) backs to the board, (5) four corners, (6) brainstorming vocabulary, (7) crossword and word search, (8) word snake, (9) oral cloze, (10) who ,where, and what?, (11) oral reading, (12) choral reading or speaking, (13) interrupting the story, (14) tongue twisters, (15) chain story, (16) running dictation, (17) bingo, (18) translation on the wall, (19) translation on the wall-groups, and (20) find your partner.
The main objective of this study was intended to describe the phenomenon obtained by L2 learners in improving their listening skill by listening games. The specific objectives of this study were: (1) How listening games were applied by the lecturer in teaching learning process of listening; (2) whether listening games could improve the students’ listening skill; (3) which type of game the students like most in teaching learning process of listening.

RESEARCH METHOD
The research was purposed to investigate the students’ listening achievement after being taught by listening games. Based on the purpose of the research, the research design was Classroom Action Research. In conducting the classroom action research, the researcher used Kempis and Mc Taggart’s model (1982, in water-Adam,2004). Theoretically this model includes some amount of cycle as many as a researcher needs. Each cycle usually has several phases: planning, action, observation, and reflection. In this research, there is only one cycle because criteria of success can be achieved in one cycle.
In conducting research, the researcher applied listening games in teaching listening and the action will be observed at the same time.
The action research began as soon as possible after the problems were identified and defined. Planning to solve the problem and preparing the action were made. The next step was doing the action based on the planning and preparation which had been made. The observation was done at the time with the action. Based on the observation, the researcher made reflection to what had happened and evaluated the result of the action.
The first action that was done by the observer before starting the cycle was conducting a pre-test. The objective of this test was to measure the students’ listening competence. The test was done on Monday, November 14, 2009. Thirty students joined this pre-test. The students dealt with missing words and multiple choice questions in which they answered the question based on what they listened.
The subjects of the research were the first semester students of English Department (class A) of Teacher Training and Education Faculty of Madura University in academic year 2009/2010. This class consisted of 30 students.
Preliminary study was carried to define the real problems in listening. It was done before the researcher began the action research to know what problems were really existing during the teaching learning process of listening.
The procedures of collecting data used in this research described as follows: There was one cycle conducted by the researcher. There were four meetings in his cycle, meeting I, meeting II, meeting III, and meeting IV. The cycle has four phases: planning, action, observation, and reflection. In meeting I, the students were taught listening by using Chinese Whispers game. In meeting II, the students were taught listening by using Running Dictation game. In meeting III, the students was taught listening by using Who, Where and What game. In meeting IV, the students was taught listening by using Tic-Tac-Toe game. In every meeting the students played the game as what the lecturer instructed.
To obtain data as complete and valid as possible, the researcher used instruments or devices for recording, measuring or controlling data being searched. The instruments which were used:1) Observation sheet. It was to observe the process happening during the action and to note the classroom events. Observation was intended to know whether the action in line with the planning used in the teaching learning process. The researcher was non-participant observation. He observed the subjects of the study without taking active part in the situation. The observation sheet used is a check list. The check list is to check if the implementation of the listening games is done and effective in the class. 2) Test. It is used to measure the students’ listening skill. The result of the test is compared with the criteria of success to know whether the students get improvement in listening. 3) Questionnaire. It is to know the lecturer’s opinion and students’ response related to listening learning through listening games. To gain the data, the researcher used the questionnaire items addressed to the students and teacher as the subjects of the action research. 4) Documentation. The researcher used documentation such as a syllabus and listening materials. 5) Interview guide. The goal of interview was to explore the students’ view deeply in improving listening skill by listening games to the first semester students of English Department of Teacher and Training education Faculty of Madura University in academic year 2009/2010.
The researcher needed valid data. Validity refers to the essential truthfulness of the data. With valid data the researcher confirmed that the data actually measured and reflected the specific phenomenon claimed. The data sources were paper, person or place. In this research the data were collected by the researcher himself. The data consisted of score of questionnaire of the instruction model, score of the students’ listening test and result of interview, transcription of lecturer’s instruction and students’ listening.
Data analysis was an essential aspect in research. Data analysis was the process of looking at and summarizing data with the intent to extract useful information and develop conclusion (Wikipedia,2008). In accordance with data analysis, Bryman in Brannen (1992:75) stated that Quantitative and qualitative research have distinctive characteristics that make the possibility of combining them. Here there were two types of the data: quantitative data (numerical data) and qualitative data (non-numerical data). The numerical data were obtained from score of questionnaire and the students’ test and non-numerical data were collected through interview.
The researcher analyzed the qualitative data descriptively. In analyzing the quantitative data the researcher applied statistical method. To analyze the questionnaire’s answer, he used Guttmann Scale. “Yes” answer scores 1 and “no” scores 0 (Riduwan,2003:17). Each item in questionnaire was counted using the following formula:
%S = 1 x Y x 100%
1 x N
% S = percentage of score
Y = number students who answer “yes”
N = total number
Then the researcher compared the percentage to the criteria of interpretation score as displayed below:
0% - 19% is dislike it very much.
20% - 39% is dislike it
40% - 59% is so and so
60% - 79% is like it
80% - 100% is like it very much

FINDING AND DISCUSSION
This part present the findings and discussion of the action research on listening games s, interview in improving the students’ listening skill. The findings of the actions were based on the result of the observation sheet, interviews, questionaire and the documentations of the students’ score for one cycle.
The first action that was done by the observer before starting the cycle was conducting a pre-test. The objective of this test was to measure the students’ listening competence. This test was done on Saturday, November 14, 2009. Twenty five students joined this pre-test. Students took listening test individually. It was about10 minutes. The result of the pre-test is displayed in the following table.
Table 1
The Students’ Score of Pre-test
No Name Preliminary Study
1 AS 6
2 AM 6
3 AT 6
4 AMB 6
5 AW 5
6 AEK 5
7 AZ 6
8 ASI 5
9 BW 5
10 BR 5
11 CT 6
12 CA 5
13 CH 5
14 DA 5
15 DW 5
16 EA 5
17 ES 6
18 FH 5
19 FAF 4
20 GR 5
21 GRA 6
22 IPS 4
23 IZ 5
24 SA 5
25 TY 5

M = ∑S m = mean
∑N ∑S = students’ total score
M = 131 = 4.52 ∑N = total students
25
The result showed that the students were under the average level. In addition to this quantitative data, the result of free interview with the students when they were asked whether the listening was difficu1t, some of them answered "yes" because listening in some cases make the students’ ears difficult to capture the information based on a dialogue or a recording. The students did not listen to the whole conversation but word by word. They left some information if the dialogue ran fast. They were not familiar with difficult words, idioms, and phrases that they never heard before. Moreover, they were lazy to listen. In other words, they were not interested in getting involved in listening because there had been prejudice that listening is the most difficult and boring subject.
Findings of Cycle. This part presents the planning, the implementation, observation and the reflection. Before doing the action to the first semester students of English Department of Madura University, the lecturer designed the lesson plan. Rubin and Thompson (1994) stated that in order to attract the students' attention in the classroom, it was important for a teacher to use a lesson plan. The lesson plan was made in order to help the teacher to identify the students’ need. preference, and also to motivate them to learn. The lesson plan was arranged and developed based on the fist semester program. It covered deciding topic, the objective, the steps of teaching learning process, and choosing media.
The Implementation, the action of the cycle was done in class A, the first semester students of English Department of Madura University. It was done on Saturday, November 14, 2009. The action of cycle consisted of four phases, i.e. ( 1) Planning, (2) Implementation/ action, (3)Observation, and (4)Reflection.
Meeting I was conducted on Sunday, November 15, 2009. The students were expected to improve their listening skill using Chinese Whispers game. The lecturer divided the class into manageable groups. 6 or 7 students per group is ideal. He gave one student in each group a piece of paper with a sentence on it. The student had to read the sentence, put down the paper and whisper the sentence to the second student. The second student had to whisper it to the third student, and so on down the line. The last student either said the sentence as they heard it or wrote it on the board. Each group then checked their sentence against the original. The winning group was the one which had the same or closest version of the original.
Meeting II was conducted on Monday, November 16, 2009. The lecturer taught listening using Running Dictation Game. The lecturer prepared a short passage or dialogue and made several copies. Then he put the copies up around the walls of the classroom. the students were divided into four groups. the groups played the game at the same time. One of the students in each group had to walk or run to read the text on the wall. The student memorized some of the text and ran back to his/her own group. The student quietly dictated what he/she remembered to his/her group, one who wrote it down. Then the next student of each group ran to the text on the wall, read and memorized some and ran back to the group. Over several runs each group would build the whole passage. Each student really had to run back and forth because a student might only remember three or four words at a time. The winning group was the one that finished first and most accurately. If there were mistakes, one of each group had to keep returning to the text on the wall to check.
Meeting III was conducted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009. The students were taught using Who, Where and What game. The lecturer provided some cards with the names of person, place, or thing. The student were divided into groups of six or seven. Each group chose one of the students to be the leader. Then he asked a group to come forward. The leader stood up in front of the class while facing his/her members. The lecturer gave him a card with 4 words. The leader had to describe each of word one by one. Whereas the members tried to guess what it was, where it was, or who it was. The winning group was one which could guess the hidden words the most.
Meeting IV was conducted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009. The lecturer taught the students using Tic-tac-toe game. He divided the class into two teams – A and B. Then he drew two grids. One grid consisted of nine squares. Each square had a hidden word or phrase. The lecturer described each word or phrase. Each group tried to guess it. The other one was left for scoring. As each team got an answer right he wrote their team letter in the corresponding box. If the letter had formed a line horizontally or diagonally, it meant the group was the winner.
Generally, the implementation of listening games in teaching listening in cycle I could improve the students' listening skill. The data obtained were from the result of the interview with English listening lecturer and the students, observation sheet, questionnaire, listening test and documentation.
From the observation sheet and documentation, it showed that the lecturer was quite good (80%) and he was ready to do the teaching and learning process. The lecturer did all the steps/ activities in teaching learning process of listening starting from preparing lesson plan as well as doing pre-listening activities. while-listening activities and post- listening activities.
While from the preliminary study. it was found that the students' score were less than the criteria of success (7. 5). Eight students got 6, 15 students got 5, and 2 students got 4. But the students' result of test after they were taught using listening games showed that 36 % (9) the students got scores passing the criteria of success.
In order to obtain the lecturer response related to the implementation of listening games in teaching learning process of listening, the researcher tried to get more information about it by conducting interview with the English listening lecturer. The result of interview showed that the lecturer gave good responses toward the implementation of listening game. He proposed to apply better to help students increase their listening ability. He said that listening games could arise their spirit and motivation to get involved in listening class.
The Result of interview with some students before the implementation of listening games showed that studying listening was boring and not interesting for the students. They thought that listening was difficult to practice. They admitted that they couldn’t listen to English well because of their laziness in listening to English.
Meanwhile the result of the students' questionnaire toward the implementation of the listening games can be described as follows: 8 students (32 %) were interested in the listening games because each game invited the students to compete each other. 6 students (24%) were very interested very much in playing the listening games that could make them listen better. 5 students ( 20%) were interested in the listening games because there was challenge in each game.6 students (24% ) liked listening games because the games could increase their motivation to improve their own listening skill. Moreover, the students stated the game they liked most. 10 students (40% ) liked Chinese Whisper game because they admitted that it was the most enjoyable and challenging game among the others. While 15 (60%) students really liked Running Dictation game because it needed the speed of memorizing, listening, and writing. In addition, it needed an accuracy in writing what the writer had listened from his friend.
Post-test was done on Thursday, November 19 2009. Twenty five students joined the post-test. The test consisted of two parts. Part A was multiple choice and part B was missing word. The aim of giving a post-test was to know the improvement of the students' listening skill. The average score of the post test as presented below was 7, 44. This mean score was better than the pre-test (4,52). There were 2 students who got 9 , 7 students who got 8, and 16 students who got 7.
Table II
The Result of Post-test on Cycle I
No Name The result of cycle I
1 AS 8
2 AM 8
3 AT 8
4 AMB 8
5 AW 7
6 AEK 7
7 AZ 9
8 ASI 7
9 BW 7
10 BR 7
11 CT 9
12 CA 7
13 CH 7
14 DA 7
15 DW 8
16 EA 7
17 ES 8
18 FH 7
19 FAF 7
20 GR 7
21 GRA 8
22 IPS 7
23 IZ 7
24 SA 7
25 TY 7

M = ∑S M = 186 = 7.44
∑N 25


The implication of listening games to listening class at the first semester of English Department of Teacher and Training education Faculty of Madura University in academic year 2009/2010 could improve the students listening skill. It was obviously seen that the scores gained in post-test were higher than the pre-test. There were 9 students (36%) who passed the criteria of success. The mean also increased from 4.52 to 7.44. Theoretically, the students' improvement in listening could be seen as language acquisition through practicing language. They learned by listening to everything related to English such as song, poem, dialogue, news, etc. and tried to express what they had heard by telling it to the other, or making a note on their own diary. More enjoyable in listening could make the students enable to increase their capability in listening. By the time, finally the students could acquire listening games that their teacher had introduced to them. This was what we called learning by playing. In fact game is not only loved by children and teenagers but also university students.

CONCLUSION
Based on the research findings obtained from the instruments of research, the researcher comes to the following conclusions: First, the use of listening games had positive impacts on the students' listening skill. There was a significant increase of mean score from 4.52 for students' pre-test to 7.44 for the students' post-test. There were 9 students (36%) could pass the criteria of success.
Second, from the observation and documentation, the researcher knew that the listening teacher and the students did all the teaching learning process of listening starting from the preparing Lesson Plan, doing pre- listening activities, main- listening activities and post- listening activities.
Third, from the free interviews with the teacher and students, the researcher got the answers stating that they respond positively to the implementation of the listening games. According to them, the technique was attractive, challenging, joyful and helpful to practice their listening skill.
Fourth, from the questionnaire, the result showed that 25 students (100%) answered that listening games was very interesting because they were challenging, competitive, enjoyable, and helpful in increasing the students’ motivation to practice listening skill better. Besides, the students stated the game they liked most. 10 students (40% ) liked Chinese Whisper game because they admitted that it was the most enjoyable and challenging game among the others. While 15 (60%) students really liked Running Dictation game because it needed the speed of memorizing, listening, and writing. In addition, it needed an accuracy in writing what the writer had listened from his friend.
Based on the above conclusions, the researcher proposes that the listening lecturers or English teachers who are teaching listening should apply the listening games to help the students increase their listening skill. For the students, they can use and have more exercises with the same games in daily activities in order to improve their capability in listening.





























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