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WORD PUZZLES AS MEDIA FOR TEACHING VOCABULARY


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
 1. 1 Background of the study
English is the most important language in the world, which is used by people all over the world as an international language to  communicate to one another either in spoken or written interaction. Based on the needs to communicate to others, people more realized that English is very important to be learnt. However, students sometimes do not realize that mastering English is important. They learn English just because it is a compulsory subject and what they want to achieve is getting good  marks and passing the exam. Because of motivation that depends on needs, interests and sense of values, they start to learn
English seriously. Although some cannot reach the optimal target sometimes. Mackey (1965: 125) said that somebody has different motivation, by saying:  Motivation determines how much a person will learn and when he will learn it. This depends on what he wants to know and how badly he wants to know it. It depends on how he thinks he can learn it, and on what he believes to be to his advantages, it depends on the needs, interests, and senses of values of an individual.  
Nowadays, in line with the government’s plan for the nine-year basic education, English teaching at elementary school has been possible. According to the 1994 curriculum, elementary school may add any lesson  as far as it is not in the contradiction with the goal of the  national education. The additional lesson should be in line with the needs of the local community. The examples of the additional lessons offered by some school are dancing, handicraft, gardening, and English. So English can be taught as Muatan Lokal (Mulok), or a local content subject.
The objectives of teaching English to elementary school students as a local content subject are: “The students are expected to have the skills to communicate in simple English, with the emphasis to have speaking skills using selected topics related to their environmental needs such as tourism industry” (Depdikbud, 1995: 2). It is said before that in elementary school, English is taught as one of the local contents subject. Here, the students learn English for the first time. The function of teaching English in the elementary school is to introduce English as the first foreign language of our country to the elementary school students. Teachers teach English to 4, 5, and 6 grades of students. The aim of teaching English here is to motivate these students to learn English at higher levels of education, in this case is in junior high  schools. Therefore, they just learn the simple English patterns including vocabulary, grammar etc. Wells say:” All but a small minority of children reach the age of schooling with a vocabulary of several thousand word, control of the basic grammar of the language of their community, and an ability to deploy these resources in conversation arising from the many and varied situations that occur in their everyday lives”(1978: 16) in Wray (1994: 10). From the quotation above, the writer concludes that children learn vocabulary both at home and school. In daily life, they use their mother tongue to  communicate with their family, teachers, friends, and others. They do not feel difficult because they use it since they were children. As the writer’s statement above, English is a foreign language not the first language. Therefore, the children cannot master the vocabulary items automatically.
Teaching vocabulary is not easy for  teachers. Although the teaching of English vocabulary starts at elementary  schools for several areas, the result has been considered unsatisfactory. In this  case, effective and professional teachers are needed. The teachers must be creative to select the best technique to be used in the classroom. It is supported by Finnochiaro who says that learning methods and techniques of teaching English as a second language should be needed by teachers to develop????????????????????????????????????????

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