CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION
1.1 General Background of the Study
Language is the most important thing for people as a means of communication. It is basically a means of both oral and written communication. People use language to express their ideas and wishes to others’ people such as when they need others help so that close relation among members of the group can be carried out (Ramelan, 1993: 8). Ramelan further states that “the use of language enables the members of a social group to cooperate with one another for their own benefit.”
It is important to learn English because it is an international language which is used in many countries over the world and widely used in many sectors such as information, trade, education, etc.
In Indonesia, English has an important role especially in education. Therefore, English is taught as the first foreign language in all levels of schools and language courses. In elementary school, English has been taught as a local content. Since The Basic Course Outlines of the 2004 Curriculum states that the objective of learning English at elementary school as a local content is to develop students’ communication ability in the context of school (2004: 7). It means that the students are expected to be able to make simple transactional and interpersonal conversation which is potentially needed to communicate in the context of school. Here, the teacher plays important role since he has to be able to set students
interest and motivation in learning English in order to develop students’ ability to
communicate using all the resources they have already acquired to interact with others about their needs and interest.
In this study, I will focus on teaching listening in elementary school considering that in learning language listening is the skill that children acquire first. Listening is important to support learning English especially in enriching vocabulary and gaining a large portion of their education. Therefore I consider that listening can be taught at elementary schools.
There is no doubt that elementary students face some difficulties in learning English because learning English as a second language is something new for them, and it is different from learning their native language. Some of the students think that English is difficult and some of them are curious and like to learn English. The way in encouraging children to become accustomed to learn English is by giving them listening material occasionally, in order to make the children familiar with the language by listening its word and sentences.
In fact, listening is seldom taught in primary school. Although it is the first skill which will be learned before the students have mastered the three other skills; speaking, reading, and writing. Rost (1991: 3) states that progress in listening will provide a basis for development of other language skills. In learning language, students use listening to begin the process of learning to comprehend and produce language. By listening to the language around them, they are demanded to get the knowledge of speaking and get an introduction to reading and writing.
Due to the importance of listening as explained above, the teachers have to develop students’ listening ability since it is the first stage they learned English. By developing students’ ability to listen well, the teachers develop their students’ ability to become more independent learners, as the students will be able to reproduce language accurately and refine their understanding of grammar and develop their own vocabulary. The better students improve their listening ability, the better they reach the achievement in listening. Teachers, therefore, should explore a new productive strategy in brightening listening classes in order to encourage students in learning listening skill. They should create interesting and entertaining materials to motivate the students’ active responds in doing listening exercise. After the teaching and learning process and all the materials are given to the students, there is an expectation that students will make a progress in their study. To know whether the students make some progress in their study, it is useful for teacher to conduct a test or an examination at the end of a program. So the students will be motivated to learn and master the materials which have been taught by the teacher.
In this research, I suggest to the teachers to choose appropriate testing techniques of listening in order to encourage students in learning English. The teachers should carefully select the testing techniques so that the students are not beyond the students’ level of proficiency. One of listening tests which is suitable for measuring students’ achievement in mastering listening material is dictation. I assume that dictation is close related to listening activity and the further application is that it can be used as a testing device as well. Dictation is one kind of testing techniques that can be prepared for any level. By using dictation, the teacher can realize the weakness of the students in comprehending the language as well as the weaknesses of the previous teaching method.
Since dictation is used to check the ability of the students in understanding the foreign language phenomenon, the teacher hopes that within a short time he can check whether the teaching aims have been satisfactorily fulfilled or not.