A. Background of the Study
Indonesians have to master English as an International language either for communicative purpose or for academic purpose. English is used for mastering science and technology. Mastering English as a means of communication and transferring information in this global era becomes important reason for teaching English since the early years of play group and kindergarten.
At the moment the ability of speaking English is really needed on many fields. In Indonesia, English is taught and learnt as a compulsory subject from junior high school until university level. English is learnt in elementary school as a local content and it is also learnt in Kindergarten as a favorite program. English is taught in kindergarten just for introducing the children English as a foreign language. Besides that, it functions to give students basic knowledge of English so that they will do much better in elementary school. Brewter, et al. (1992: 102) support the statement by saying that "early foreign language learning also aims to prepare pupils for the more formal and exam-oriented courses in next school."
In many countries in the world, a foreign language such as English is learnt since primary school or kindergarten. Brewster, Ellis, and Girard (1992: 12) say that "In most countries, children are confronted with learning a foreign or second language at about the age of eleven, except where an earlier start is made in primary or pre school."
Learning English as early as possible is important. Some experts propose the reasons of early learning of a foreign language. Long in Ur (1996: 287) says that an early start to language learning is likely to lead to better long-term results if early learning is maintained and reinforced as the child gets older. According to Ohlsen (1961: 269), there is probably no best age for all individuals to begin to learn a foreign language. In childhood, the advantages are probably greater in developing linguistic flexibility and learning directly the concepts of a second language.
From those statements above, it can be concluded that early learning of a foreign language is recommended because, in long term, it will give better results for children. Besides, in childhood, children have a greater opportunity in terms of the development of linguistic flexibility and they have a better facility in understanding language than adolescents.
Furthermore, they say that children who have benefited from a properly thought out program of foreign language learning early, even if it has only been for two years, are better prepared to respond to the teaching in the next school as a natural continuation and development of what has gone before. (Brewter, 1992: 48). It means that learning a foreign language early has an advantages for students to be prepared in learning process in elementary school.
According to UU No. 20/2003, 1: 14 say that:
Pendidikan anak usia dini (PAUD) adalah suatu upaya pembinaan yang ditujukan kepada anak sejak lahir sampai dengan usia enam tahun yang dilakukan melalui pemberian rangsangan pendidikan untuk membantu pertumbuhan dan perkembangan jasmani dan rohani agar anak memiliki kesiapan dalam memasuki pendidikan lebih lanjut.
From the explanation above it can be concluded that the purpose of learning something in the kindergarten or preschool just for preparing the next education.
The potential of children's language trained and improved, because the children will appear good in using language since under five years olds. According to Brumfit, Moon, and Tongue (1997: 6), there are a number of reasons for teaching English at primary level that do not rely simply on the claim that is the best time to learn language well. One of them is the need to expose children from an early age to an understanding of foreign cultures so that they grow up tolerant and sympathetic to others. This is similar to what Brewster et al say: "Early foreign language learning in the more relaxed context of primary school has a good change of encouraging children to take an interest and develop a positive attitude towards the foreign country and its people" (1992: 50). It means that by learning a foreign language early, children can have an understanding about the country, the people, and also the culture where the language is spoken, so that they have a positive attitude towards them.
Another reason for teaching English since early is the need for maximum learning time for important languages-the earlier you start the more time you get. Brewster, et al. propose the same opinion. They say that:
"One reason for starting to learn a foreign language two or three years earlier (at five or six instead of eight or nine) might be simply to increase the total numbers of years spent learning the language in the belief that such an approach can't but be of benefit, no matter what the circumstances" (1992: 23).
It means that the longer students learn a foreign language the better result they will get from it. The students will have a lot of opportunity to learn English more.
Learning English particularly vocabulary is very important for supporting the ability of speaking, listening, writing and reading. Without mastering vocabulary one will face difficulties in improving the ability of communication with others, like the expert states that "Without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed." This is how the linguist David Wilkins summed up the importance of vocabulary learning. His view is echoed in this advice to students from a recent course book (Dellar H and Hocking D, Innovation).
"If you spend most of your time studying grammar, your English will not improve very much. You will see most improvement if you learn more words and expression. You can say very little with grammar, but you can say almost anything with words!" (Thornbury: 13, 2002).
Most learners, too, acknowledge the importance of vocabulary acquisition. Here are some statements made by learners, in answer to the question. How would you like to improve your English?
"Oral is my weakness and I can't speak a fluent sentence in English. Sometimes, I am lack of useful vocabularies to express my opinion."
"I'd like to enlarge my vocabulary (this word I also had to find in dictionary). Too often my speaking is hard caused by missing words. (Thornbury:14, 2002).
However, vocabulary teaching has not always been very responsive to such problems, and teachers have not fully recognized the tremendous communicative advantage in developing an extensive vocabulary. In other word, most of teachers don't pay attention much in developing teaching vocabulary. They teach much for grammar, reading, speaking, listening, writing, etc,
To prepare students who are having good ability in communicating, the teacher should pay attention much in teaching vocabulary. Therefore, the students don't face difficulties in building sentences, and the difficulties in speaking caused missing words can be avoided. Teaching vocabulary can start from elementary or kindergarten when the students still in optimum grow up. When they gain vocabulary from early education, they can't face problem in higher education.
In Indonesia teaching vocabulary hasn't done optimal yet, it can be seen that the average students face difficulties in speaking. When the students in speech competition, they often stop speaking because they miss words. It caused their vocabulary is still limited. Besides, the teacher doesn't teach vocabulary to the students in early education (elementary or kindergarten). The students who are having limited vocabulary will face some problems, e.g. speaking, listening, reading, writing, etc.
Generally for secondary school, the teacher seldom teaches vocabulary, the students get new vocabulary only by reading. Meanwhile, for elementary or kindergarten the teacher still faces difficulties how to teach vocabulary to the students. The teacher hasn't found a good method how to teach vocabulary to the students. This paradigm needs to overcome soon, therefore for the future the students will get successful in learning vocabulary.
From the explanation above it can be concluded that vocabulary has an important role in mastering English. By mastering vocabulary the students will study English easily. This fact may support the English teacher to improve their role in teaching English. It is hoped by increasing the teaching and learning process the problem will overcome soon. The teacher is able to find a good method how to teach vocabulary to the students.
In X Kindergarten, the students have difficulties in learning English, particularly vocabulary in pronunciation, the use of words and understanding meaning. The students don't enjoy learning English. It can be seen from the result of test and interviewing the teacher and students. In X Kindergarten, learning English includes vocabulary, listening, and speaking. One of the teacher says that: "Yang diajarkan di sekolah kami antara lain kosa kata, kalimat perintah sederhana, juga percakapan sederhana." (SB, 2008: 5).
From the explanation above it can be concluded that vocabulary includes one of material that is taught at X Kindergarten. Related to vocabulary mastery, the students of X Kindergarten face difficulties or problems as follows:
1. The students get difficulties in using words.
2. The students get difficulties in grasping the meaning.
3. The students get difficulties in pronouncing the words .
They can be seen from the result of daily quiz, the mean of their mark is not good (5.5). (It can be seen at the appendix 18 p. 201).
From the result of the pre-test it can be concluded that the students have low ability in learning English, especially mastering vocabulary (understanding meaning, the use of words, and pronunciation). From 20 students, 3 students or (15%) gain good mark and 17 students or (85%). still get bad mark.
Besides, the difficulties come from the students. From the result of interviewing the student, one of the student says that one of her difficulties in learning English is how to pronounce the words. Dalam mengucapkan bahasa Inggris itu agak sulit (NS, 2008:9).
Because English is foreign language, most of the students have difficulties how to pronounce the words. It is caused their mother tounge is Javanese, English is still strange for most of them. Besides, some of them still have difficulties how to pronounce the words because of the function of their tongue. (Javanese: pelo), in other words the difficulties come from the students themselves.
Besides from the students, it is noticed that the difficulties come from the teacher himself. The teacher doesn't use the right method in teaching English, especially vocabulary. The teacher doesn't master any methods, therefore in teaching learning process the teacher uses one method only. The students just study in the classroom without doing something in other room or outside. It makes the students feel bored.
The material of teaching English is limited. In teaching learning process the teacher uses the material from the LKS and internal curriculum. The teacher cannot combine other material or create new material. The activities of students just focus in coloring, drawing, imitating and speaking without playing. The teacher does not give opportunity for the children for playing while they are studying. In this case, the technique of teaching is not appropriate to children's period.
He still has minimum English skill. Therefore, it makes the teaching learning process monotonous and makes the students bored. The teacher seldom uses the media in the classroom. To make the students easier in understanding English, using media is very important, because it will be more interesting for the children. Without using good media the teaching learning process become boring. The English teacher says that: "Saya kurang pede karena kadang belum menguasai betul (masih ragu-ragu) " (SS, 2008: 7).
Besides, the time is limited. In X Kindergarten, the students learn English only 30 minutes every week. It is taught by the teacher with other material such as Aqidah, Akhlaq, Javanese, Arabic, etc. Sometimes the teacher has difficulties in managing the time, because he must teach other material beside English. X Kindergarten is full day school, therefore the students have to study many fields everyday. The English teacher says that: Sekitar 30 menit, tapi terintegrasi dengan materi lain misalnya tema bentuk, warna, Aqidah, akhlaq dsb. (SS, 2008: 1).
To overcome the problems teacher has to find out the appropriate method of teaching English for children. It is hoped the student gets the good result in mastering vocabulary in English. Because of the reason, the researcher would like to provide a suitable method which is expected to help the teachers as educator in improving students' vocabulary.
Using beyond centers and circle time method (BCCT) may certainly be an effective way of teaching English for children. BCCT method is a curriculum theme series that is designed to provide a blend between a development and a didactic approach to working with young children. This theme series will provide teachers with lesson ideas that will allow opportunities to offer direct information while allowing children to experiment and explore materials in order to create their own knowledge. There are a lot of activities in BCCT method and the students can play in some places suitable to their skill and interest while they are learning. They can study English indoor or outdoor. The students have a lot of opportunities to play with their friends while they are on the process of learning. The teaching learning process becomes more interesting for children. They can play in the corners at least one hour, so they can enjoy learning English.
Using BCCT method the teacher has opportunity to create new play or media that is supporting the teaching learning process. Therefore, the teaching learning process become more interesting for the students. The teacher is able to practice English while giving instruction to the students using simple instruction, so they do not feel strange with English, because they use it everyday. It can be done when the students in the circle time or play in the corners.
In BCCT method there are many places for playing, they are called corner or playing place. The corner consist of preparation corner, art corner, building corner, nature corner, drama corner and pray corner. The corners are used for supporting the teaching and learning process. Every student is able to use the corner suitable to his interest. The teacher has to prepare them early, before learning English begins. In BCCT method, there are three kinds of play, those are: (1) role play (micro and macro); (2) building play; (3) sensory motor play.
BCCT is one of method that is suitable to children education, because in BCCT method the students have a lot of time to learn especially English, because there are many places using for teaching learning process and each place can be used for learning English. The students are not bored. The students are able to study by playing. It is suitable to children period, the children like playing. The activities in the corner help learners to forget they are studying, they lose themselves in playing in many places. Learning together in the corner involves the student actively in learning process. The learners don't feel bored, because they can choose a place for playing suitables to their interest and need. It will be easier for the teacher to conduct the students in teaching learning process. Hopefully, they can enjoy learning English by playing in many places. In other words, learning by doing in BCCT method can be used for improving student's competence of vocabulary.
Hopefully, learning English using BCCT method the students will gain a lot of advantages. First, they can study English indoor or outdoor, they can learn English together in the corners, they can learn by playing. Second, the students will be more active in doing activities, such as: answering teacher's question, learning and working together with their friends, making simple experiment, etc. Third, the students don't feel bored. Finally, they can enjoy learning English.
From the explanation above it can be concluded that BCCT is a method that is designed to provide a blend between a development and a didactic approach to working with young children, focused in children-centered in the corners. It is used to support teaching and learning process where students are able to move from a corner to different corner to improve their skill and knowledge.
B. Problem Statements
Based on the background above, the writer in her study formulates the problem being studied as follows :
1. Can the use of beyond centers and circle time method improve students' vocabulary at X Kindergarten?
2. How active is the students in the classroom when the teacher applies BCCT method at X Kindergarten?
3. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the implementation of BCCT method in improving the students' English vocabulary at X Kindergarten?
C. Objectives of the Study
General objective: the objective of the study is to overcome the students' problem in mastering vocabulary using learning by doing in beyond centers and circle time method at X Kindergarten. Specific objective: the objective of the study is to gain information about:
1. Describing the improvement of students English vocabulary in the Kindergarten of X after being instructed by using Beyond Center and Circle Time method;
2. To know how active is the students in the classroom when the teacher applies Beyond Centers and Circle Time method at X Kindergarten?
3. To identify the strengths and the weaknesses of the implementation of Beyond Centers and Circle Time method.
D. The Benefit of the Study
The result of the action research is expected to be able to give some advantages for the students, the teacher, the school, and other researchers.
1. For the students
First, it can motivate students to study English. Through BCCT method, they will get an enjoyable situation, they won't feel bored. The students will get a better learning system, they will be able to improve their ability to memorize vocabulary by using beyond centers and circle time method. At last, they can learn English particularly vocabulary easily.
2. For the Teacher
Second, by understanding the result of this study, the teacher can be careful in selecting teaching technique in their class. It is hoped that the result of this study helps teachers to teach vocabulary properly by using BCCT method for kindergarten students. The teachers can improve their ability to make innovation, effective strategies, and scenario of teaching vocabulary. It also enriches teacher's technique to teach vocabulary so that their problems that faced in classroom can be solved.
3. For the School
Third, the school can compare the advantages of BCCT method to other method in learning English. So the school will be more selective in determining the technique of teaching English. Using BCCT method will be used for the school to increase the quality of its out put. Therefore, the school will get good reputation from government or society.
4. For other Researcher
Fourth, for other researcher the result of the research is able to use reference to furthermore research in developing teaching vocabulary. It is hoped that the data can open other researchers' mind in completing vocabulary field research. Therefore, for other research will be got a good result related to teaching vocabulary. The data can use to improve other research, particularly the difficulties in mastering vocabulary.