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106. The Teaching Of Reading Comprehension By Using A Small Group Discussion At The First Year Students Of Smp 1 Wanadadi


1.1 Background of The Study

English as an international language is spoken in most international events and is used as the medium of information flow on science, technology and culture. As we understand that learning a foreign language is more difficult than learning a national language or learning a mother tongue. It is because the foreign language has completely different aspects and systems, which should be understood by the students or the learners, such as pronunciation, spelling, and the cultural background of the language. Besides that we also remember that there are some important factors in foreign language learning, which will mostly influence students, or learners in mastering the language. Bustami Subhan (1990: 18) in his paper (entitled) “Some important factors in foreign language learning” explained that learning a foreign language involved five factors. The first of all is intelligence. It is a gate for knowledge. Secondly, motivation plays influential role in encouraging students to learn the language. It covers both intrinsic motivation which comes from the students themselves and extrinsic one which comes from outside.

The third and fourth ones have close relation with each other that are students’ attitudes and strategy of language learning. Facilities of language learning are the last factor which is not less important than the others.

In the Basic Course Outline (GBPP) of English curriculum 2004, it is stated that English is considered as a tool or instrument for expressing meanings. Based on the concept and the function of English as stated in that BCO the teaching of English at secondary school aims to develop the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing). The Indonesian students start learning English at the Junior High School (SMP). The process continues at Senior High School (SMA). In fact, now, English is also taught in some elementary schools as the local content and even in some kindergartens.

The pupils are introduced to some English vocabularies. In addition to learning the language in formal education as mentioned above, people also learn it in non-formal education. English courses and private lessons are the examples of non-formal education. This indicates the failure of teaching English in this country; as Ramelan (1992:4) stated that the teaching of English in Junior high School in Indonesia is not successful. It can be seen from the quality of SMP graduates’ mastery of English. Ramelan (1992:3) also stated that most SMU graduates are still very poor in reading comprehension, since they cannot usually read or understand articles in English dailies, magazines which are now in circulation in this country, even though the Basic Course Outline of English (BCOE) 2002 stated that among the four language skills, (listening, speaking, reading and writing), reading is the most emphasized in English teaching and learning process. Quite simply, without solid reading second language readers cannot perform at levels they must succeed in reading. Thus, reading is not passive but rather an active
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