Posts Tagged ‘reading’

The Effectiveness of Peer Tutoring to Teach Reading Viewed from Students’ Self-Esteem

(An Experimental Research in the Second Semester Students of English Department of UNISKA Kediri in the Academic Year of 2011/2012)

(Kutipan referensi/citation: Jurnal Linguistik terapan Vol 3/1, Mei 2013)

 

By Arina Chusnatayaini and Eka Wulandari

 

ABSTRACT

This research aims at finding out whether: (1) Peer Tutoring technique is more effective than Direct Instruction in teaching reading to the second semester students of English department of UNISKA in the Academic Year of 2011/2012; (2) the second semester students of English department of UNISKA who have high self-esteem have better reading skill than those having low self-esteem; and (3) there is interaction between teaching techniques and students’ self-esteem in teaching reading.

The method which was applied in this research was an experimental study. The research was conducted at UNISKA Kediri in the academic year of 2011/2012. The population of the research was the second semester students of UNISKA Kediri. Two samples were taken by using cluster random sampling technique. Class B1 was used as the experimental class and class B2 as the control class. Each class consists of 22 students. The steps for the research were: (1) distributing self-esteem questionnaire to know students’ self-esteem; (2) applying teaching techniques to the students; (3) distributing post test; and (4) analyzing the students’ reading ability. The data were obtained from self-esteem questionnaire and reading test. Furthermore, to analyze the data, the researcher applied descriptive and inferential statistics using ANOVA and Tukey’s test.

The result of the study leads to the conclusions that: (1) Peer Tutoring is more effective than Direct Instruction to teach reading for the second semester students of UNISKA Kediri in the Academic Year of 2011/2012; (2) The students who have high self-esteem have better reading ability than those who have low self-esteem; and (3) There is an interaction between teaching techniques and students’ self-esteem to teach reading at the second semester students of UNISKA Kediri. Finally, the results of this research imply that Peer Tutoring is more effective than Direct Instruction to teach reading.

Keywords: reading, peer tutoring, direct instruction, self-esteem

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Reading is one of four skills that must be mastered by students of English Education program. Reading taught in university becomes a demanded skill which students have to master. Through reading, they are able to comprehend the content of the subject matters and catch the information. Thus, it is very important for advanced level students to master reading skill, because reading would give them knowledge, information, and indirect experience.

Therefore, students must have an ability to comprehend texts. The understanding of the text varies according to both one’s knowledge of the word and the purpose one has in reading. It also varies according to one’s knowledge of language and of text types. A reader has several possible purposes for reading, and each purpose emphasizes a different combination of skills and strategies. Reading emphasizes many criteria that define the nature of fluent reading abilities, it also reveals the many skills, processes, and knowledge bases that act in combination, and often in parallel, to create the overall reading comprehension abilities. It is necessary to have adequate understanding to suit a purpose since it is central to reading.

However, many students have low reading skill which can be seen from their achievement. They have difficulties to know the words in the text and they have low understanding of the message from the text. The students probably know the words but they do not know the meaning of the text. Some students may know the meaning of the words or vocabularies of the text but they cannot get the message of the text. Even, there are some students who do not know the meaning of the text at all.

There are many factors influence teaching learning. The first factor is the technique of teaching. Technique of teaching is one of the important factors in the teaching learning process. There are many kinds of techniques. One of them is Peer Tutoring technique. Peer tutoring technique can be applied in teaching reading. Peer tutoring is a collaborative learning strategy in which students alternate between the role of tutor and tutee in pairs or groups.

Peer tutoring refers to students working in pairs to help one another learn material or practice an academic task. Peer tutoring works best when students of different ability levels work together (Kunsh, Jitendra & Sood, 2010). During a peer tutoring assignment, it is common for the teacher to have students switch roles partway through. Since explaining a concept to another person helps extend one’s own learning, this practice gives both students the opportunity to better understand the material being studied.

In addition, peer tutoring is a type of instructional strategy in which students are taught by their peers, who have been trained and supervised by the teacher. Peer tutoring involves having students work in pairs, with another student of the same age or grade. Peer tutoring is an extremely powerful way to improve students’ academic, social, and behaviors (Gresham, 2010).

However, many teachers still apply direct instruction technique in teaching reading. The activity in direct instruction technique is teacher-centered. Direct instruction technique encourages one-way communication. Students just become the followers and depend on the teacher during the teaching-learning process. It makes the students passively participate the teaching learning process. The students just receive the materials from the teacher without any discussion or sharing with other students

The second factor that influences the learning process is the affective domain. Affective as stated by Brown (2000: 143) refers to emotion and feelings. It is considered as the emotional side of human behavior. Affective factors in reading include attitude, motivation, self-esteem, and self-actualization (Davies, 1995: 73). Brown in Aebersold and Field (2000: 8) details several individual factors that influence language learning, including self-esteem, inhibition, risk-taking, anxiety, and motivation. They can be positive or negative factors. All of these factors operate in reading classroom as well. For this reason, researchers call upon reducing anxiety and inhibition and enhancing students’ motivation and self-esteem in the classroom context.

Self-esteem is the evaluation which the individual makes and customarily maintains with regard to himself; it expresses an attitude of approval or disapproval, and indicates the extent to which an individual believes himself to be capable, significant, successful, and worthy (Coopersmith in Brown, 2000: 103). Such evaluation is built up through repeated experiences of success and failure, other people’s impressions, and the self-appraisals in relation to ideal selves.

Self-esteem plays a crucial role in learning since it is the best predictors of academic success. It appears that high self-esteem is both a cause and a consequence of better academic grades (Biggs and Watkins, 1995: 75). Educators have long realized that self-esteem plays a crucial role in learning. Students with high esteem forge ahead academically while those with low esteem fall behind (Atwater, 1990: 155).

To make the students achieve adequate skill in reading, the writer applies Peer Tutoring technique on the consideration that it can improve the students’ reading skill and encourage students’ active role in the teaching learning process. It also to know whether peer tutoring technique is suitable for students who have high self-esteem or those who have low self-esteem, and to know whether expository technique is suitable for students who have high self-esteem or those who have low self-esteem. Since students’ self esteem and the method of teaching applied by the teachers are important factors in teaching reading, the writers were interested in conducting a research entitled: THE EFFECTIVENESS OF PEER TUTORING TO TEACH READING VIEWED FROM STUDENTS’ SELF-ESTEEM.

 

RESERCH METHODOLODY

Research Objectives

This research is find out whether:

  1. Peer tutoring technique is more effective than direct instruction to teach reading in the second semester students of English Department of UNISKA Kediri in the academic year of 2011/2012
  2. The students who have high self-esteem have better reading skill than those who have low self-esteem in the second semester students of English Department of UNISKA Kediri in the academic year of 2011/2012
  3. There is an interaction between teaching techniques and self-esteem to teach reading in the second semester students of English Department of UNISKA Kediri in the academic year of 2011/2012

Research Design

Experimental study is chosen in conducting this research. The purpose of experimental study is to determine cause-and-effect relationship. Through experimentations, cause and effect relationship can be identified. Because of this ability to identify caution, the experimental approach has come to represent the prototype of scientific method for solving problems (Johnson and Cristensen, 2000: 23).

The experimental research in this study involves three kinds of variable. They are two independent variables and one dependent variable. The two independent variables are teaching techniques and the students’s self-esteem, and the dependent variable is reading skill.

Research Setting

This research was conducted in Universitas Islam Kadiri (UNISKA), Kediri which is located on Jl. Sersan Suharmaji no. 38 Kediri.

 Research Subjects

The population of this research was all second semester students of English Department, UNISKA Kediri in the academic year of 2011/2012. The total number of the population in this research was 75 students who were divided into 3 classes, B1, B2, and B3.

Research Procedure

This research was conducted from January 2012 to July 2012. The factorial design was used in this experiment study because it allows the researchers to study the interaction of an independent variable with one or more variables. The factorial design is as follows:

ermyna-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research Instruments

1. Questionnaire      

Fraennkel and Wallen (1993: 79) say that questionnaire is an instrument that can be used for collecting data in a research. In a questionnaire, the subjects respond to the questions by writing or, more commonly, marking an answer sheet. The researchers gave a sheet of questionnaire dealing with students’ self-esteem. It is a cloze questionnaire, where the students must answer some statements by choosing alternative answer given by the researcher. The questionnaire consists of 50 statements with four-point rating scale measuring their self-esteem.

The questionnaire must be valid and reliable before it is administered in the experimental and control class. To check the validity and the reliability of the questionnaire, firstly, the researchers tried it out to the students of the class which does not belong to the experimental and control class.

  1. Validity

The validity of the questionnaire is analyzed by using the following formula (Biserial Point Correlation):

(Ary in Ngadiso, 2006: 2)

If ro is higher than rt, the item is valid.

 

  1. Reliability

O’Malley(1996: 19) states that reliability is the consistency of the assessment in producing the same score on different testing occasions or with different raters. Brown (2004: 20) states that a reliable test is consistent and dependable.

Then, to know the reliability of the questionnaire, the following Alpha Formula is used:

(Ary in Ngadiso, 2006: 2)

If rkk is higher than rt, the instrument is reliable.

The research uses a Likert scale using four points instead of five points, in which the interval between each point on the scale is assumed to be equal. The undecided point is omitted to avoid   neutral answers, since mostly students tend to choose the neutral answers. It is used to register the extent of agreement and disagreement to a particular statement.

The items of the questionnaire are in the positive and negative direction. The score is as follows:

Table 1.2. Likert Scale

Answer Positive Item Negative Items
SAADSD 4321 1234

 

Note: SA (Strongly Agree), A (Agree), D (Disagree), SD (Strongly Disagree)

 

  1. Reading Test

Arikunto (2010: 139) defines that test is a set of questions or exercises or other means used to measure skill, knowledge, intelligence, ability, or talent of an individuals or group of people. Based on the definition above, a test is a profile of the study results in the written form. This profile is then used to know standard of students’ achievement. For educators, this profile will be used to determine the next learning process. In administering a test, it is important to set and determine an understandable instruction.

The reading test is used to know the students’ ability in reading. The reading test is in form of objective test with four options. Instruments, questionnaire and reading test must be valid and reliable. Therefore, the questionnaire and reading test are tried out to know the validity and reliability at the first step. It is done before the treatment. The try out is done to the other class which doesn’t belong to experimental and the control one. At the end the valid and reliable items are used to get the data. The reading test is conducted after treatment.

The formula that is used to know the validity of reading test is:

If ro is higher than rt the item is valid.

Then, the reliability of the test is analyzed using the following formula:

rkk=

If rkk is higher than rt, the instrument is reliable.

After all instruments are valid and reliable, they can be used to get the data. The reading test was conducted after treatment as the post test.

 

Techniques of Analyzing the Data

The writers use a descriptive analysis and inferential analysis in this research. The descriptive analysis is used to know the mean, median, mode, and standard deviation of the score of reading. Meanwhile, the normality and homogeneity of the data should also be known, they must be done before testing the hypothesis.

Then, multifactor analysis of variance 2×2 (ANOVA 2×2) was used to test the hypothesis. Ho is rejected if Fo > Ft and if Ho is rejected the analysis is continued to know the difference of the groups by using Tukey Test. The design of multifactor analysis of variance is as follows:

 

Table 1.3. The Design of Multifactor Analysis of Variance or 2X2 ANOVA

 

         Teaching Technique Self-esteem Peer TutoringA1 Direct InstructionA2 Result
High B1 A1B1 A2 B1
Low B2 A1 B2 A2 B2
Result

 

Note:

A1B1: the mean score of reading test of students having high self-esteem who are taught by using peer tutoring

A2B1 : the mean score of reading test of students having high self-esteem who are taught by Direct Instruction technique

A1B2 : the mean score of reading test of students having low self-esteem who are taught by using peer tutoring

A2B2 : the mean score of reading test of students having low self-esteem who are taught by using Direct Instruction technique

A1   : the mean score of reading test of experimental class which is taught by using peer tutoring

A2          : the mean score of reading test of control class which is taught by Direct Instruction technique

B1        : the mean score of reading test of students having high self-esteem

B2        : the mean score of reading test of students having low self-esteem

After analyzing the data by ANOVA 2×2, the writer uses Tukey test to find the level of mean difference. The finding of q is found by dividing the difference between the means by the square root of the ratio of the within group variation and the sample size.

 

Statistical Hypothesis

The statistical hypotheses for this research were as follow:

a. The difference between Peer tutoring technique and Direct Instruction technique to teach reading to the second semester students of UNISKA Kediri

Ho: µ A1 = µ A2

H1: µ A1 > µ A2

 

Note:

Ho : There is no significant difference in reading ability between the students who are taught by using Peer tutoring tehnique and students who are taught by using Direct Instruction tehnique.

H1 : The students who are taught by using Peer tutoring technique have better reading ability than students who are taught by using Direct Instruction technique.

 

b. The difference in reading ability between students who have low level of self-esteem with the students who have high level of self-esteem in reading.

Ho: µ B1 = µ B2

H1: µ B1 > µ B2

Note:

Ho : There is no significant difference in reading ability between the students who have low level of self-esteem and students who have high level of self-esteem

H1 : The students who have high level of self-esteem have better reading than the students who have low level of self-esteem

c. The interaction between teaching techniques and students’ self-esteem in teaching reading.

Ho: µA × µB = O

H1 : µA × µB > O

Note:

Ho: There is no interaction between teaching techniques and students’ self-esteem in reading. It means that the effect of self-esteem level on writing ability does not depend on teaching technique.

H1: There is an interaction effect between teaching techniques and students’ self-esteem in teaching writing. It means that the effect of self-esteem level on reading depends on teaching techniques.

 

Result and Discussion

The data collected in this research were analyzed using ANOVA followed by Tukey Test. The hypothesis testing is to know whether the null hypotheses (Ho) will be rejected or accepted. The data analysis by using ANOVA can be summed up as follows:

  1. Fobservation (Fo) between columns,the comparative analysis between the effect of teaching reading using peer tutoring and direct instruction, shows the value of 6.86. The F table (Ft) at the level of significant α = 0.05 (Ft(.05)) is 4.08. Fo (6.86) is higher than Ft(.05) (4.08). Ho stating that there is no significant difference between Peer Tutoring and Direct Instruction is rejected. Then, a conclusion can be drawn that there is a significant difference between Peer tutoring and Direct Instruction to teach reading. The mean score of the students taught peer tutoring technique (62.09) is higher than the mean score of the students who are taught by using direct instruction (56.90). It means that peer tutoring technique is more effective than direct instruction to teach reading.
  1. The value of Fo between rows, the comparative analysis of the learning achievement between the students having high self esteem and those having low self esteem, is 123.77. Fo (123.77) is higher than Ft at the significance level α = 0.05 (Ft(.05)(4.08)). Ho stating that there is no significant difference between students’ high and low self-esteem upon the students’ reading skill is rejected. It means that there is a significant difference between students’ high and low self-esteem upon the students’ reading ability. The mean of reading scores of students who have high self-esteem (70.05) is higher than the mean scores of students who have low self-esteem (48.05). It can be concluded that students who have high self-esteem have better reading competence than those having low self-esteem.
  1. The value of Fo interaction, the interaction between teaching techniques and self esteem, is 42.61. So, Fo interaction (42.61) is higher than Ft at the significance level α = 0.05 (Ft(.05)(4.08)). Ho stating that there is no interaction between teaching technique and the self-esteem upon the students’ reading ability is rejected. It means that there is an interaction between the teaching techniques and self-esteem. It can be concluded that the effect of teaching techniques on the students’ ability in reading depends on students’ self-esteem.

From the findings above, it can be concluded that:

Peer tutoring is more effective than direct instruction to teach reading.

Peer tutoring is a type of collaborative learning strategy in which students support each other’s learning rather than relying solely on an adult teacher, it is one of the types of collaborative approaches where pairs of students interact to assist each other’s academic achievement by one student adopting the role of a tutor and the other has the role of a tutee. Peer tutoring has also been well validated for promoting the development of low-level skills, such as reading.

Peer tutoring can enhance learning by enabling learners to take responsibility for reviewing, organizing, and consolidating existing knowledge and material; understanding its basic structure; filling in the gaps; finding additional meanings, and reformulating knowledge into new conceptual frameworks. in either co-peer or near peer situations, both learners are likely to understand the material better by applying it in the peer tutoring setting.

When peer tutoring is used, the instructional environment usually becomes more learner (as opposed to the teacher) directed, and the learners have a more significant role in helping model of the learning. The teacher becomes a co-learner and facilitator, acting as a guide and a coach. The teacher is no longer the person with all answers; instead, the teacher talks with learners and offers opinions, explores strategies, and helps set goals.

In conclusion, peer tutoring gives teacher specific instructional techniques to helps students improve their skill and critical thinking abilities. It can become an important learning element that assist the students in learning how to solve problems, collaborate with others, and think creatively.

On the other hand, direct instruction is the oldest teaching technique. The activity in direct instruction technique is teacher-centered. Direct instruction technique encourages one-way communication. Students just become the followers and depend on the teacher during the teaching-learning process. It makes the students passively participate the teaching learning process. The students just receive the materials from the teacher without any discussion or sharing with other students. Since reading process requires the students for being active and not depending to the teacher, it will not gain best result if direct instruction is applied in the teaching reading because it does not give enough challenge for the students to develop their achievement. Finally, the result of this study shows that peer tutoring technique is more effective than direct instruction to teach reading.

 

The students who have high self-esteem have better reading ability than the students who have low self-esteem.

Self-esteem is the evaluation which the individual makes and customarily maintains with regard to himself; it expresses an attitude of approval or disapproval, and indicates the extent to which an individual believes himself to be capable, significant, successful, and worthy (Coopersmith in Brown, 2000: 103). Such evaluation is built up through repeated experiences of success and failure, other people’s impressions, and the self-appraisals in relation to ideal selves.

Self-esteem plays a crucial role in learning since it is the best predictors of academic success. It appears that high self-esteem is both a cause and a consequence of better academic grades (Biggs and Watkins, 1995: 75). Educators have long realized that self-esteem plays a crucial role in learning. Students with high esteem forge ahead academically while those with low esteem fall behind (Atwater, 1990: 155).

In addition, self-esteem is considered as one of the important affective factors because success or failure of a person depends mostly on the degree of one’s self-esteem. The students who have high self esteem will be encouraged if the teacher gives them a chance to involve in teaching learning process. They have better attitude in joining the teaching and learning process. They have high interest to pay attention to the teacher and all of the activities in the class and always do the reading task well. They are not bored in joining the class because they are more active than the students who have low self esteem. It means that the students who have high self esteem will have high ability in understanding the text.

The students who have low level of self esteem don’t have any interest in joining the learning process and they do so since they don’t have desire to learn more. They have little attention to the teacher and the material that is given. They are passive in the class and tend to listen the teacher’s explanation during the lesson rather than express the opinion and ask the question. Their low self esteem makes them unable to express their ideas better. This can be seen from the results of their reading ability in which the scores of both control and experimental groups are lower than those having high level of self esteem from both groups given treatment.

 

There is an interaction between teaching techniques and self-esteem in teaching reading.

In reading process, the teacher also needs to use suitable technique that motivates the students to join the class. Direct instruction can’t motivate the students because this technique just focuses on the academic content. The students are passive in learning. On the other hand, peer tutoring technique requires the students to be active in learning process.

In addition, peer tutoring is a type of instructional strategy in which students are taught by their peers, who have been trained and supervised by the teacher. Peer tutoring involves having students work in pairs, with another student of the same age or grade. Peer tutoring is an extremely powerful way to improve students’ academic, social, and behaviors.

The fact shows that the students having high self esteem perform very well in the class when they are taught by using peer tutoring, they attempt to be active in teaching learning process and do the task better. The students will not depend on the teacher and they try to find the meaning and messages from the text by themselves. This technique makes the students develop their social relation with other students. The students who have high level of self esteem will have high ability in reading many texts. They can read anything that the teacher gives to them. They will be active in joining the teaching learning process especially in reading because they have high level of self esteem. So, peer tutoring technique is more effective for the students having high self esteem in reading skill.

On the contrary, the students taught by using direct instruction learn reading material as usual. They don’t need to be more active, and just wait for their teacher’s translation and explanation to know the message of the text. They are passive in joining reading class and they are slower in doing the task. The students having low self esteem, therefore, will be suitable when they are taught using direct instruction in their classroom activity.

Finally, the result of this research shows that teaching techniques and self esteem play an important role to the students’ reading ability. This can be seen from the finding that the students who have high self esteem and who are taught by peer tutoring technique are able to get a better reading ability than those having low self esteem and taught by using direct instruction.

 

Conclusion

Referring to the result of this research, in general, Peer Tutoring is an effective technique to teach reading. Therefore, it is good to be applied in teaching reading for some reasons. First, Peer tutoring is very good way to get students involved in learning so that they are not just passive learners receiving the information. Second, students receive feedback and error correction immediately and more frequently. Third, students are able to work together in equal position and gain better understanding of the materials by learning from each other.

Self esteem determines the success of learning. Students with high self esteem perform better learning than those with low self esteem. This is because students with high self esteem perform harder effort to gain the goal of learning than those with low self esteem. Teachers, therefore, should always promote and stimulate students’ self esteem through various activities in which they can interact and share ideas with peer students.

Viewed from students’ self esteem, Peer tutoring is an effective technique of teaching reading for students with high self esteem. The students having high self esteem who are taught by using peer tutoring have higher score than the students having high self esteem who are taught by using direct instruction, while the students having low level of self esteem that are taught by using peer tutoring have lower score than the students having low self esteem who are taught by using direct instruction. It means that peer tutoring is well used for high self esteem and direct instruction is effective for low self esteem.

 

Suggestions

This research is expected to be useful for teachers, students, and future researchers, therefore, some suggestions are listed as follows:

For the teachers

Referring to the result of study, Peer Tutoring is effective for students’ reading skill. Teacher should use this model to improve the students’ reading skill. In choosing the technique of teaching, the teacher should consider some factors. One of the factors is students’ psychological condition including students’ self esteem. Self esteem influence the students in teaching learning process. The teacher has to know the students’ self esteem, so he/she can choose the appropriate technique for their students.

For the students

Students have to be more active in teaching learning process in order to improve their reading skill. For low self esteem student, they must be aware of the importance of active involvement in teaching learning process and their teacher is not only source in learning, then they have to encourage themselves. They also need to find other learning resources out of the given material in the classroom, such as from internet. This can be done by reading books related to the lesson or learning from electronic media such as TV, cassette, or CDs.

For the future researchers

A replication of this research design using Peer Tutoring can be done with some revisions. A similar research with different population characteristics is also possible. It may be worth while to have another research with different attributive variables such as students’ habit or interest.

 

REFERENCES

Aebersold, Jo Ann and Field, Mary. 2000. From Reader to Reading Teacher: Issues and Strategies for Second Language Classrooms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Arikunto, Suharsimi. 2010. Prosedur Penelitian: Suatu Pendekatan Praktek. Jakarta: PT Rineka Cipta.

Atwater, Eastwood. 1990. Psychology of Adjustment: Personal Growth in a Changing World. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Biggs, John and Watkins, David. 1995. Classroom Learning: Educational Psychology for the Asian Teacher. London: Prentice Hall.

 Brown, H. Douglas. 2000. Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. New York: Longman.

Brown, H. Douglas. 2004. Language Assessment: Principles and Classroom Practices. New York: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.

Davies, Florence. 1995. Introducing Reading. England: Penguin Books.

Fraenkel, Jack R. and Wallen, Norman E. 2000. How to Design and Evaluate Research in Education. 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Gresham, Frank. 2010. Project reach; Peer Tutoring. http://www.lehigh.edu/projrctreach/teachers/peer_tutoring/peer-tutoring_step_1.htm. PDF accessed on May 11th, 2012.

Johnson, Burke and Christensen, Larry. 2000. Educational Research: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Kunsch, Jitendra, & Sood. 2010. Peer Tutoring. http//www.nichcy.org/Research/EvidenceForeducation/pages/mathPeerTutoring.aspx.Aaccessed on May 11th, 2012

Ngadiso. 2006. Statistics. Surakarta: Universitas Negeri Sebelas Maret Surakarta

REPORT SECTIONS IN ENGLISH MAGAZINES: AN ALTERNATIVE READING MEDIA FOR THE ENGLISH IMPROVEMENT

Bambang Suryanto

State Polytechnic of Malang

 

 ABSTRACT

One of the factors that can boost the students’ vocabulary expansion of English rapidly is reading. As the students are limited to reading texts provided in their daily English class, they may find it is boring to read English passages. They can get maximum benefit from their reading, the teacher may encourage the students to choose for themselves what they read and to do so for pleasure and general language improvement (Harmer: 2007). It would be a good idea if they are introduced to more varied genres of reading text, say, English newspaper and magazines. Besides these texts provide more up-to-date discourse, they are also easily obtained. Moreover, newspapers and magazines are authentic in terms that they are not simplified reading texts as the students find in the classroom. With an extensive activity of reading these kinds of materials they are trained to cope with the same kinds of reading that are encountered by native speakers of the target language (Ur: 1996).

 Key-words: reading, vocabulary expansion, reading text, newspaper, magazine

***

In this article, the writer is introducing several aspects related to the magazine articles such as the types, the viewpoints and/or perspectives, and finally the special report, a typical part of today’s newspapers or magazines especially for the students who are interested in more exposure to a wider variety of English texts available around us and hopefully for the English teachers who are keen on finding more resourceful reading materials for the enrichment of their daily teaching practice.

To begin with, let us see the variety of magazine articles. The great number and wide variety of occurrences happen every day, and many types of articles are written based on them. Although a writer may not need to classify his article each time he begins writing, we, readers, need to be aware of the availability of different types of articles in magazines. There are many types of articles, and new types may keep arising.

Furthermore, we need to know that there are two basic types of mass media writing; they are news story and feature story. News story is the fundamental form of writing for the mass media. It is said to be news story as it has news value. News value consists of any of seven elements: impact, timeliness, prominence, proximity, conflict, uniqueness and currency. News value has an impact quality, meaning that the event written in the news affects people’s lives. The news that does not have such an impact is said not to have news event; thus, it has no news value. News value also depends on the recency of the event; that’s why; a journalist is always under pressure of a deadline. Another news value is prominence. Often an activity, program, or another casual happening becomes an event if it is done by the prominent people such as a famous public figure and a celebrity. The people belonging to the latter are called the “newsmakers” even if they only do something very casual and trivial. Next, by proximity, the events that occur close to home are more likely to have news value than the same events that occur elsewhere. If the story contains two opposing or competing forces, it is more likely to have news value because it draws attention. Another attractive quality is the uniqueness of a story. When the news presents something unique such as something bizarre or unusual, it has more potential to attract readers’ attention. Finally, the news that bears current interest of the readers often has news values. For example, the time approaching to the change of millennium and sometime after the moment, the discussion of Y2K in many mass media still held attention a lot of people. In short, any of the seven elements of news value must be present in news story. Even there are attempts to enrich a story that has already had news value from different perspectives such as the ones in the special report sections in many different publications in the world. This can add the quality of the news value.The types of magazine articles can be roughly described into twelve types based on the content (Writers’ Encyclopedia). First, informational article is one that primarily contains facts. Second, how-to article is an article that describes the method to accomplish something. Third, A service article is an article about a consumer product or service. Fourth, a personal experience article is an article that, like what the name suggests, tells an experience, especially special, meaningful or entertaining, of a person. A success story belongs to this type. Fifth, the interview article is article based primarily on an interview with one person. Sixth, the think article is one that contains an analysis of facts, events or trends, as the writer perceives them. Sixth, the historical article is an article that contains a historical account of events. Seventh, the travel article is article that tells the travel experience. It may focus on the beauty of a place or the excitement of traveling to a certain place. Eight, spot-news article is an article about a piece of current news described in depth. Ninth, the expose article is article written as the result of the writer’s intensive research and investigation. It may include a factual element of shock. Tenth, a seasonal article is one that is written about a holiday, season of the year or timely observance. Eleventh, the inspirational article is an article about the successful efforts of an individual or group to improve a situation that affected them. Different from success story, this type of article often has a philosophical or religious theme.  Twelfth, the humorous article is article about a topic with good humor, and it is said to be one of the most difficult kinds to write.

The second type is feature story. There is no essential difference between feature and news story. The main difference lies in the emphasis. It gives more details and description as the feature story writers assume that the readers have more time to read and deserve an interesting side of an event that may not be covered in the news story type. This type varies in styles and structures. Stovall proposes three kinds of feature story.  The first type is anecdotal feature. In the anecdotal feature, the article presents quotations, anecdotes, and facts that collaborate to create an interesting piece of news. The second is suspended interest features. This kind of feature story tries to give an effect that works like a short story. The writer of this kind of feature can skillfully lead readers through a series of paragraphs and embrace them into the story plot until the unexpected ending. The last is question and answer. The article begins with an explanatory paragraph and is followed by question and answer dialogs to the end. It is an effective to show the readers an unfiltered use of the interviewee’s language. In short, feature story seems to give more relaxed style and more detailed descriptions, assuming that the readers have more time to read, than news story does. Hence, more craftsmanship in writing is required besides the ability to present factual accounts. It can be concluded that this type of story is more likely found in magazines, while the news story style is more adopted by newspaper writers although in some part of the daily newspaper feature stories can be found, especially in the middle pages. Even one of Indonesian leading daily newspapers, Kompas, presents a series of feature collection in its special issues such as the commemoration of 100 years of Bung Karno and the Indonesian economic review, in which it presents a series of feature stories from notable politic and economic authorities.

There may be other types of articles accommodated in magazines as the creativity of the writers develops. Many magazines demand different types of articles in one issue as it can accommodate the needs of a wide variety of audience.  The types previously mentioned can help a writer structure his work and accommodate the needs of the editors of the magazines.

It is important to note here that the article in the magazine is factual piece of writing. It is written more for the purpose of giving information or presenting news. However, its factual quality is still strong although there is freedom of using some narrative dialog or anecdote made up by the writer, for instance, in the introduction. It is common as an article is not fiction although it might contain semi-fictious anecdotes or imaginary dialog to illustrate certain points in conveying the information.

Beside the types of the magazine articles based on the contents, there is another important aspect of the articles, that is, point of view or viewpoint. It is the way the writer perceives an event or an issue. The choice of point of view determines the voice of writing and impacts the way the writer develops the story. Point of view is the perspective from which a narrative is presented; it is analogous to the point from which the camera sees the action in cinema. Point of view in writing an article is like a camera in TV and movie. The camera direction indicates that the audience sees the scene as if they were looking through the eyes of the actor in that scene. In photography, it is called angle. The angle that is formed from a certain camera position can be used to highlight a dramatic scene. In writing, the point of view is employed by the writer to facilitate his approach to the topic of his writing. It can also be used to create a certain effect on the readers as the choice of viewpoint influences the way the readers look at the topic. It is also defined as the person through whose eyes the reader is seeing the story. Those eyes might belong to a character, or to a non-character narrator, that is, a narrator who isn’t in the story.

The point of view in many fictions belongs to one or more characters but in essays the point of view is a non-character narrator, who is often the author herself. A non-character narrator is also referred as the omniscient third person. To clarify the issue of point of view, let us see the points of view employed in narratives as narrations have more facility to employ different points of views.

There are two broad categories of viewpoint, objective and subjective viewpoints. The objective viewpoint is one where the narrator relates facts but avoids emotion, and subjective viewpoint is one where the narrator incorporates a character’s thoughts and emotions into the storytelling. The reader thus shares in the character’s emotional life. The first type is mostly used in essays while the latter in fictions.

Viewpoints can also be categorized in terms of the narration method. The first type is first-person point of view. With this manner of writing the writer makes use of the pronoun “I” so that the reader can experience events through the viewpoint either of the main character in a piece of fiction or through the nonfiction writer himself. This method is not only well applied in fictions. In nonfiction, this manner can be applied to create better effect when writing about personal experiences, inspiration, and nostalgia. The second type is third-person point of view. In this method of narration, the author follows only what the main character sees, hears, feels and thinks. The description of the storyteller plays a very determining role to tell the story.  The third type is the omniscient viewpoint, an author can relate the perceptions of any of his characters or detach himself from them to serve as narrator. The detached viewpoint, on the other hand, lets the reader sense that he is watching the story as it unfolds; the author gives descriptions and impressions, but never through the perception of a character.  Finally, almost the same as this type of viewpoint is the multiple-character viewpoint. This is used to tell a story from the perspectives of different characters, one at a time. Unlike works using the omniscient viewpoint, this viewpoint stays with one character for a considerable length—for example, a chapter in a novel. This technique is useful when the story must make an extreme change of scene.

Not only in narratives, in essays, the variation of using point of view can enliven the account. The coverage of point of view is not only on the way the writer perceives an event, whether it is from the first, second or third person, but it also covers the perspective how an issue or event is told. An issue might be seen from its historical perspective. The perspective the writer takes also describes the attitude toward an issue. Hence, an article can be perceived from its perspective. Point of view tends to refer to the involvement of a writer in a story, whether he sees an event from the first, second, or third person, and perspective refers more to how his whole perception is on the event, whether he sees it from historical, political, economical, or even psychological perspectives.

 

SPECIAL REPORT SECTION

One of the typical features found in many magazines is the special reports. Special report section is a section in one issue of a magazine that discusses one common topic and usually consists of several articles devoted to the topic. Notable newsmagazines such as Newsweek and Time, always feature special reports in every issue. Each special report edition does its coverage in depth. It may have several featured news or articles discussing one same topic with different approaches (at least this can be read from each title, for example, in one issue featuring the crash between a US spy plane and a Chinese fighter, Newsweek wrote on its cover ‘Collision Course with China’)—whether from its historical, economic, or cultural angles (Newsweek, April 16, 2001). This special report consists of five articles related to the topic: After the Showdown, A Crash in the Clouds, How the Two Nations Match Up, Beijing’s Next Big Battle, and Face to Face with China. Another example is taken from Newsweek’s special report on September 15, 1997. It presents a long special report section devoted to the event of Lady Diana’s death, ‘Farewell Diana’. The section consists of 17 articles discussing the issues related to Diana, for example, her short biography, her relationship with the other royal members and people involved in her life, her death, and her funeral ceremony.

The wide coverage of topics in a special report section is due to different perspectives used by different writers in viewing one particular event. Related to perspectives, Renkema (1993) states that information can be presented from several different perspectives. Furthermore, he compares the different perspectives or points of view in a text to different angles taken by a camera in the cinematic art. There are three approaches in discourse to study this matter: they are (1) vision (sociologically-inspired research into the ideological perspective), (2) focalization (oriented research into the narrator’s perspective), and empathy (syntactically-oriented research into the speaker’s attitude).

The different perspective entails different approaches toward an event and it results in a comprehensive coverage of a topic, so that the presentation of a special report can be more interesting and in depth.  Take a look at Table 1 below. It shows the richness of perspective on one similar topic. The articles are taken from Newsweek, April 7, 1997, on the mass suicide by the cult “Heaven’s Gate” inCalifornia.

In addition, there are possibly more perspective the reader can find in any special report section such as social, economic, political, legal, historical, organizational, geographical, technological, financial, biographical, and personal (Suryanto, 2006). And, interestingly, among the articles in one special report section, there may be an article that functions as a rebuttal article among the other articles that discusses a trend. It is like the balancer of opinion.

 

 Table 1. Richness of a Topic in Terms of Perspectives

Article

The Title of the Article Brief Descriptions of the Content Perspectives

1

The Next Level The account about the emergence of the cult until the time the mass suicide happened Chronological perspective

2

A Last Stop before Heaven Brief pieces of information chronologically arranged from the time the cult purchased a farm until the time they used it for the suicidal ritual Historical Perspective

3

Blaming the Web The account of how the cult use the internet to spread their beliefs Technological perspective

4

Christ and Comets The account about the cult’s belief Ideological perspective

5

Sensing Trouble in the Skies The account of how the cult connects the celestial objects (especially comets) to their beliefs Scientific perspective

 

FOR THE FURTHER DEVELOPMENT IN ENGLISH CLASSES

The knowledge of the nature of the English magazine above is very important in many aspects. Firstly, in English reading class, especially in advanced levels, the teacher can introduce this type of writing discourse, where one topic is discussed in several different articles is important. The students can learn the perspective of each article. They can learn that one topic can be richly seen from different ways. Secondly, the teacher can also emphasize that this writing type is authentic reading material from the field of journalistic. This is positive for the students’ motivation as many students are more interested in current issues, especially those having cultural or political aspects commonly offered by journalistic texts. Thirdly, the exposure to the different vocabulary, grammatical forms, and discourse presentation from what they commonly encounter is valuable to their reading competence. Moreover, text structure awareness has a strong impact on efforts to improve reading instruction. The introduction of rhetorical patterns in a text is essential to their reading skill improvement. Fourthly, the additional results about heading or title making for the article can be used as one of interesting point in the discussion of reading comprehension classes. The mastery of this discussion can relate the students’ background knowledge or schemata as some interesting titles or headings are usually connected to other already-known piece of knowledge.

Furthermore, in writing class, the teacher can teach the students in intermediate English learners the existence of different perspectives to a single topic in writing because it can broaden the students’ possibility for writing with creativity. There is limitation, of course, in introducing this type of writing discourse. The limitation of the use of vocabulary and grammatical structure of mass media is they are complex and sophisticated, especially to learners of English as the Second Language. In addition, the additional results about heading or title making for the article can also be of enrichment material in teaching writing.

 

REFERENCES

 

Basthomi, Yazid. 2005. The Rhetoric Of Research Article Introduction Written in English by Indonesians.

Fink, Conrad, and Fink, Donald E., 1994. Introduction to Magazine Writing. Boson: Allyn & Bacon

Harmer, Jeremy. 2007. The Practice of English Language Teaching.Harlow: Pearson Education Ltd

Holsti, Ole. 1969. Content Analysis for the Social Sciences and Humanities. MA: Addison-Wesley.

Kweldju, Siusana. Lexically-Based Language Teaching: Metaphor for Enhancing Learning. 176.

Renkema, Jan. 2004. Introduction to Discourse Studies.Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company

Suryanto, Bambang. 2006. The Perspective and rhetoric of English magazine articles in the special report section: Unpublished Thesis. Universitas Negeri Malang

Susilo 1999. Rhetorical Patterns as Reflected in Argumentative Discourse in the Jakarta Post Articles. Unpublished Master Thesis.Malang: PPS

Ur, Penny. 1996. A Course in Language Teaching.Cambridge:CambridgeUniversityPress

Zuhairi, Alfan. 2002. The Effectiveness of Text Mapping in Improving Students Reading. Skill. Universitas Negeri Malang: Unpublished Thesis.