The Advantages Of Kangguru Magazine For Improving The High School Students’ English Ability
This research aims to investigate the usage of KangGuru magazine as an English magazine published by Australian government as a native country that use English as their language. The contents of magazine are simple, communicative, full of ideas and really help the learners to build up their vocabularies and English in general. Since more than 10 years, KangGuru magazine has contributed its magazine free of charge to all Indonesian society who wants to learn and deepen English.
Therefore, I try to find out some high school students’ English ability who are subscribing the magazine to get to know to what extent they get the advantages of it. The result shows that 10 percent of respondents answered that KangGuru English magazine has an excellent role in improving their English. 70 percent of other respondents thought that KangGuru English magazine has good role in improving their English and 20 percent remaining said that KangGuru English magazine has moderate role in improving their English. Nevertheless, other strategies and kinds of other materials are needed to improve their English ability.
Language has an important role for human as a communication device, expressing their ideas, talking their problem heart to heart, teaching to the students and so on. And since past a few years, language had been being investigated as a research source for their speakers. Now days, many people learn and investigate an international language as their science discipline. Indonesian society must be able to understand and use the international language such as English.
The reason discussing about the advantages of KangGuru magazine is simple, besides it is free of charge, KangGuru staffs also support many learners especially English institution or Education institution, like English club, universities or even Diknas. They give the quiz for the students, free English CDs or cassettes and other complement books for teachers, or even visited by them to conduct the communicative activities. And their goal is helping the students to get a lot of advantages from its existence. So that both junior high school students and senior high school students can get the advantages from the magazine to improve their vocabularies, English idioms, comprehension the text, a lot of information and knowledge. Therefore its result, they can practice to find out a lot of vocabularies, the Idiom and other functions they get from the magazine to be used in the conversation. To get satisfactory result, the activities must be guided and explained by the instructor or teacher in order to get effective ways in using the magazine supplemented by the cassettes or CDs.
English magazine is needed as an original English text to help the high school students to understand English. Perhaps in our mind will arise a big question, why must use magazine? If we analyze, the English books at school contain only the material that discuss how students learn English, no game or quiz, just a little bit puzzle, only focus to the formal text and the grammar. And the result, the students will feel bored in learning it. In contrast, in KangGuru English magazine contains many puzzles, quiz that of course if the students go along with it and send the entries, they will get souvenir from Australia besides conciliation prizes and even grand prize going holiday to Bali and visiting some important places. Besides that KangGuru magazine provides English Idiom forum, Different Fond Different Fish, Information about education both in Indonesia and Australia, Scholarship for studying in Australia, The Joeys club for elementary school and junior high school students and many other forums that support the students’ study besides the grammar.
This magazine is good if will be used as the supplement at school because completed by KangGuru in the classroom set. Therefore through this magazine, the students will not feel bored in learning English. And the most important thing, all materials are provided free of charge by AUSAID.
To begin with, the term improving as the key word of this research report, can be defined clearly enough that improving is taken from improve as a verb. Improve has a meaning: 1. to become better than before or 2. to make something/somebody better than before (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary: 2003).
To improve the high school students’ English ability, at first we have to know the rules targeted by Depdiknas as starting point of thoughts in the government as quoted by Surahmat (2008:1) The learning English activity in SMP/MTS is targeted that students are able to reach functional level i.e. communicating orally to accomplish daily need, whereas for SMA/MA students, they are supposed to be able to get informational level, since they are prepared to continue their study to university level. So that, both the teacher and the students can measure to what extent they have to focus for the material as the target studies.
There are some worth-noting points concerning how to improve the high school students’ English ability taken from Wikipedia second language learning (2008). It is about learner strategies to improve the learner’s English ability:
Learner strategies are strategies which help a learner to optimize his or her learning and make it more effective. There are two types of learner strategies:
• Cognitive learner strategies: Cognitive learner strategies deal directly with the second language. Examples are memorization or repetition of vocabulary.
• Metacognitive learner strategies: In contrast to the cognitive learner strategies, metacognitive learner strategies do not deal with the language itself, but with the regulation of the learning process. This includes planning, self-monitoring, and evaluation of the learning.
To make a student be more self-reliant, the typical classroom situation in which students very often learn foreign languages (e.g. at school, university, or language courses) does not seem to be adequate. All the more it is a very important task of a teacher to help the students develop and improve their learner strategies. In order to improve second language learning and make it more effective, he or she should prepare the students both practically and psychologically. The practical preparation is the teaching itself, for example of grammar rules or vocabulary. Besides that, it is practical knowledge like how to use a dictionary or where to find information like an appropriate grammar rule. The psychological preparation, however, includes also learner training.
Learner training is a classroom process which is organized by the teacher and which helps the students to become a better, self-directed learner. It includes the improvement of classroom learning, but also of self-access learning and independent learning at home.
This research focuses to analyze the high school students in learning English through another media besides the English textbooks provided at their school and strong motivation encouraged by their teacher. Motivation has an important role in every goal of success. There are two types of motivation, Giles and Coupland (1991) state that:
(1) Instrumental motivation which is for a practical purpose, for example you need to learn English in order to do a job effectively or to study at an English-speaking institution, and
(2) Integrative motivation which is for personal goals or cultural interest. In the classroom, teachers can contribute to their students’ motivation creating a comfortable atmosphere and making the learning content interesting.
And Zoltán Dörnyei (2001a) designed a motivation model consisting of the three cycle phases a second language learner goes through, he states that:
1. In the ‘choice motivation’ the learner gets started and sets goals.
2. In the second phrase, the ‘executive motivation’, the learner has to work in order to maintain the motivation.
3. And the third phrase, the ‘motivation retrospection’, self-appraisal and self-confidence develops.
Crookes and Schmidt (1991) also say that motivation has been identified as the learner’s orientation with regard to the goal of learning a second language. Whereas Falk (1978) states that motivation is thought that students who are most successful when learning a target language are those who like the people that speak the language, admire the culture and have a desire to become familiar with or even integrate into the society in which the language is used. This form of motivation is known as integrative motivation.
From several explanations above, motivation is the main factor for each learner to get goal in their study. But besides motivation is not enough. The learners also need the facilities or media to improve their study. One of them is reading material. The media can be English newspaper or an English magazine. And there are still more another medias for the learners to learn English as according to Byrne (1976) as quoted by Didi Asopwan (2003) says that Audio–Visual Aids to language learning are the textbooks, the blackboard, the magnet board, the filmstrips, slides and films, the tape recorder and the record player. From the statement above, many things can be used to help improving the learners’ English ability. In this case, we will discuss about magazine’s role as a medium in helping students to improve their English ability. Many kinds of English magazines are read around us, but they are not free of charge and not sure it is originally organized and written by the native. But different from another magazine, KangGuru English magazine is free of charge, besides it is organized by the native and originally comes from Australia. Generally, most of Indonesian students cannot purchase the magazine in every edition, caused by their economic condition. Even for the time being Indonesian economic is collapsing caused by price of Petroleum Sources. To overcome this problem, KangGuru English magazine was the alternative magazine for the learners to learn and deepen their English study. The magazine is originally designed specifically for students in Elementary School, Junior High School, Senior High School and University students. To get qualitative data, ten copies of questionnaire were distributed to each respondent and all were returned.
This research involved ten respondents; they were high school students (all males). Five were from Junior High School students and five others were from Senior High School students.
This research is taken place at two Islamic Boarding Schools. At first was at Muad bin Jabal Islamic Boarding School located in Cicapar village. And one another was at Al Hidayah Islamic Boarding School located in Ciulu village.
RESULT AND DISCUSSION
According to their comment on the first question, all respondents said ‘Yes’ that they have subscribed KangGuru English magazine.
Responding to the second question, two of respondents have subscribed the magazine for 1 year, two others have subscribed the magazine for 2 years, three respondents have subscribed the magazine for 3 years. And three others have subscribed for 4 years.
In line with their comment on the third question, two of respondents answered ‘Yes’ that they have been able to speak English before subscribing the magazine. And eight of other respondents answered ‘No’ that they have not been able to speak English yet before subscribing the magazine. And the comment on the fourth question, most of respondents like to Idiom Inggris and Quick Fix forum, Different Pond Different Fish, The Joeys Club (Forum for Elementary school and Junior High School Students) and only some respondents who like entertainment and fashion forum.
The comment on the fifth question, one of respondent feels that KangGuru English magazine has an excellent role in improving his English ability. Seven of respondents answered that KangGuru English magazine has good role in improving their English ability. And two others of respondents answered that KangGuru English magazine has moderate role in improving their English ability.
Responding to the sixth question, most of the respondents hope that after having English proficiency, they wish to continue their study to university to deepen English more. The remaining hopes that they want to be the successes people such a businessman. And according to their comment on the last question, they answered that they can practice some aspects such as reading, grammar and translating through the magazine. All the statements above can be approximately described by the chart below:
CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS
The research reported in this paper investigated the high school students’ opinions toward their success in learning English through using KangGuru English magazine.
Referring to the result and discussion above, we can see the chart that 10 percent of respondents regarded that KangGuru English magazine has an excellent role in improving their English ability. 70 percent of respondents regarded that KangGuru English magazine has good role in improving their English ability. And 20 percent remaining of respondents stated that KangGuru English magazine has moderate role in improving their English ability.
The implication of this research is to get to know to what extent the KangGuru English magazine has influenced their study especially in learning English. And possibly can be sought a new way or method in using this magazine in order to be able more explore the advantages of it as a great contribution from Australian government for Indonesian society as their slogan “Good Neighbor Makes Good Friend”.
Finally, the strategies to improve English not only using KangGuru English magazine but also through using other facilities according to their occasion, location and of course the financial. It is also important for whoever who want to explore more about the topic of this research to undertake further researches.
Asopwan, Didin. (2003). Some causes of failure in English Teaching System At Technical School (SMK YPS 1 Ciamis). Unpublished Paper. Galuh University Ciamis.
Hornby, AS. (2003). Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. Oxford: University Press.
Norris Holt, Jacqueline. (2001). “Motivation as Contributing Factor in Second Language Acquisition”. The TESL Journal, Vol. VII, No. 6, June 2001 24 May 2008.
Surahmat, A.M. 2008. TEFL PART 2. Unpublished Paper. Galuh University Ciamis.
Retrieved from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_language_learning” (24 May 2008)