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112. Using Visual Dictionary In Teaching Vocabulary To Elementary School Students ( A Case At The Fourth Graders Of Sd Negeri 06 Cendono


1.1 Background of the Study

Learning English is very important, because English has become an international language, which is used by most communities in the world. Many countries use English as their second language. In spite of the difficulties in studying English, it is worthwhile to study the language because it plays a very important role in almost all fields of life such as: communication, commerce, economy, politics, education, science, technology and so on.

Finocchiaro stated that “Language is a system of arbitrary, vocal symbol, which permits all people in given culture or other people who have learned the system of that culture, to communicate or to interact”. (Finocchiaro, 1974:3). In Indonesia, English is the first foreign language. English has a major position in Indonesian educational system. It is one of the compulsory subjects to be studied in junior and senior high school in today’s Indonesian curriculum. A large number of public and private universities and colleges realizing the demand of producing graduates mastering English. That’s why English is included as one of the subject to be taken in early semester of the study. More over, now there is a preference to teach English at Elementary Schools even in kindergartens.

According to 2004 Curriculum of Elementary School, elementary school may add a lesson that is called local content or “muatan lokal”. There are many kinds of local content taught in different elementary school such as gardening, dancing, handicraft, regional language, English, etc. As one of the local content subjects taught in elementary school, English has some function as follow:
(1) By studying English, students are expected to have a means to develop their knowledge of science, technology, and culture so that they can grow up with Indonesian personality.
(2) Later, the students are expected to be able to support the development of tourism. It means that students are expected to have skills of language in simple English with the emphasis to have speaking skills using selected topics related to their environmental need such as tourism industry (Kurikulum Mulok SD 2004:4)

Based on the function above, the students are expected to have skills of language in simple English with emphasis to have speaking skill using selected topics related to their environmental needs such as tourism industry. It is in line with the objectives of learning English at Elementary School as stated in the local content of teaching guidelines (Kurikulum Muatan Lokal SD,2004) that one of the objectives of learning English at Elementary School is that the students are expected to have skills for listening, speaking, reading, and writing English with the emphasis on mastery of speaking skill for communication using selected topics related to the environmental needs such as tourism and business in Central Java Province. Why is English taught at Elementary School? Answering the question, some people say that children learn languages faster than adults do. They argue that children seem to pick up new languages effortlessly. Perhaps it
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