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The Effects of Using Crossword Puzzle

on the Students’ Vocabulary Achievement

Yuliantika

English department
State University of Gorontalo
December 2012

The Effects of Using Crossword Puzzle


on the Students’ Vocabulary Achievement
Background
For the beginners, learning English is started from learning new English
vocabulary. Mastering English vocabulary is a basic foundation to support the
English learners to be able to master four English skills including speaking,
writing, reading, and listening (Putri, 2010). Therefore, the English learners
who have poor vocabularies will face many problems in whether their oral or
written communication.
Unfortunately, most of the English learners tend to depend on the dictionary to
find out the translation of words from source language to target language or
vice versa. Whereas, learning vocabulary is not only knowing the words, but
also knowing the meaning of words itself (Diamond & Gutlohn, 2006).
Besides, most of the English learners are too passive in improving their
English vocabulary. It may be caused by the argument that leaning
vocabulary is useless because no matter how many vocabularies that they
have memorized, they will forget them soon.
Furthermore, most of English educators still have poor technique in teaching
English vocabulary. Based on the writer experience, most of them
conventionally teach English vocabulary by writing new English glossaries on
the white board and ask their students to write them down and memorize
them. It is certainly effective less because it can cause boredom for the
students, and uncertainly the students will know the meaning of them.
Based on the issue above, Seda (2012), in his research, examined about
“Using game in improving vocabulary achievement at the third year students
of SD Negeri 04 Baruga”. He believed that to solve the lack of students’
vocabulary should be taught by using various techniques in presenting
vocabulary. Using game is one of the techniques in teaching vocabulary he
examined. In the case of his study, he used a few kinds of game such as
matching pictures (students match the pictures based on the name),
crossword puzzle (students fill the blank boxes), colour chain (students sit in
line and the leader of the group will whisper the word to the other) and fast,
freaky animals (students draw the picture of animal then ask the other to
guess). From the study, he found that there was a significant effect of using
game in improving vocabulary achievement at the third year students of SD
Negeri 04 Baruga. Besides, he also concluded that game can improve
students’ vocabulary achievement.
However, the scope of using game in improving vocabulary achievement that
was examined by Seda (2012) is still extensive. Not all of the students were
familiar with all kinds of game, so they could not do the game as well as the
others who have understood. Besides, it will take a long time to examine one
by one of the games because they cannot be applied together in the same
time, so the time allotment of the material was inappropriate with the students’
condition. Moreover, it was difficult to control the students of Elementary
School to make sure whether the students played the game in correct manner
or not.
Based on the lack of the previous study, in this research, the writer will only
use the crossword puzzle as the technique in teaching English vocabulary,
and this study will be different with the previous study because it especially
will be conducted to the students of Senior High School. Applying crossword
puzzle in Senior High School will possibly be easier because they certainly
have been familiar with it, so it will not take a long time to apply it. Moreover, it
is expected to give advantage to motivate the students in order to be active
improving their vocabulary by finding the written clues to solve the puzzle. It
also enables the students develop their hobby in solving crossword puzzle.
The purpose of this research is generally to find out the significant effect of
using crossword puzzle on the students’ vocabulary achievement in Senior
High School. It will also test about how far the students in Senior High School
have knowledge in mastering English vocabulary. However, it will be found
out by the experiment that will be conducted.

Research question
Based on the background of the study above, the problem of this study is
formulated as follow: “Is there any difference of vocabulary achievement
between the students who use crossword puzzle and the students who do not
use crossword puzzle?”

Hypothesis
Based on the research question above, the hypothesis of this study is: “There
is the difference of vocabulary achievement between the students who use
crossword puzzle and the students who do not use crossword puzzle.”

Research objective
The research objectives of this study are to find out:
1. The significant effect of using crossword puzzle on the students’
vocabulary achievement.
2. The difference between the students’ vocabulary achievement that use
crossword puzzle and the students’ vocabulary achievement that do not use
crossword puzzle.
3. The effectiveness of using crossword puzzle in teaching vocabulary in all
ages.
4. The crossword puzzle affection to motivate students in improving their
vocabulary mastery.
Significance of the study
This study is expected to be able to give an important contribution especially
for the English teachers in order to be more creative to find out the best
technique in teaching vocabulary in the process of teaching English.
Moreover, this study is expected to help students by giving them an ease in
learning English vocabulary. Most importantly, this study is expected to give
information for the next researchers who will do some related researches in
deeper, further and better techniques.

Delimitation
In order to prevent a complex problem, this research will be focused on the
implementation of crossword puzzle as the teaching technique in the second
year students of SMA Negeri 1 Telaga Biru. It is also emphasized on the
students’ vocabulary skill in reading and writing. Moreover, the material that
will be given in this research will be delimited only about nouns and
adjectives.
Literature review
In this section will be discussed about learning, teaching and testing
vocabulary, crossword puzzle and the use of it in teaching vocabulary, and
the effectiveness of using crossword puzzle in teaching vocabulary.

Learning and teaching vocabulary


Vocabulary is an important part in language because it can assist the students
in mastering the whole skills in English. That is why it is needed a serious
attention in learning vocabulary from both students and teacher. In teaching
process, teachers are required to discover what kind of methods they use,
what kind of vocabulary they give, and how many vocabulary items they
should teach.
Hatch and Brown, in Azar (2012), mention that there are five essential steps
of learning vocabulary: First, having a source for encountering new words;
second, getting a clear image for the form of new words; third, learning the
meaning of new words; fourth, making a strong memory connection between
the form and the meaning of the words; and finally, using the words.
There are many ways to increase vocabulary mastery. Teachers should be
able to create an excellent technique in teaching vocabulary to make students
remember new words easily. Gairns and Redman, in Uberman (1998),
suggest a few types of vocabulary presentation techniques. Two of them are
explained as follow:
· Verbal explanation
Explanation is a technique explain the meaning and the use of a given a
foreign word in foreign language itself. This pertains to the use of definitions
and illustrative situations, synonym and antonym. Definition is expected to
introduce a new word in English through the use of other words in the same
language. Synonyms are words that have same meaning as the unknown
word in a given sentences. Meanwhile, antonyms are words that have
opposite meanings of unknown words in a given sentence.
· The use of dictionary
Dictionary is used to find out the meaning of the words. It is also used to
discover unfamiliar words and expressions. There are two kinds of dictionary
that is often used by the people. They are bilingual and monolingual
dictionary. Bilingual dictionary contains two different language consisted of
source language and target language. It functions to translate the words from
source language to target language or vice versa. Meanwhile, monolingual
dictionary contains the definition of words that functions to describe the word
in the same language.

Testing of vocabulary
Testing vocabulary is an indicator to measure the students’ ability in
mastering vocabulary. In this case, teacher can use some ways that is as
mentioned by Tarigan in Seda (2012) as follow:
· Identification
Students are able to give response orally or in written form to identify
appropriate words based on the definition.
· Multiple choice
Students are able to choose the right word of more than two words have been
provided in a test.
· Matching item
Words are presented in column. The description in the column is to match
vocabulary randomly.
· Check list
Students check some words that they know; they are fully expected to write
the definition of word.

The four mentioned ways above are useful methods to be applied in teaching
vocabulary. Therefore, they are some effort to test vocabulary. In addition, Ur
in Pavlů (2009) suggests that there are some techniques to test vocabulary.
They are:
· Matching
Here, the only thing that is being tested is whether or not the test is aware of
the existence of the (combined) words which probably mean learners also
know its meaning but this fact not actually being tested.
· Odd one out
In this technique, only meaning is being tested, and meaning has known way
of being sure that all the items are known but this at least is more interesting
to do and usually easy to mark.
· Dictation
Dictation tests are aural recognition and spelling only. However, if learners
recognize and spell an item correctly, they probably also know what it means.
It is extremely difficult to perceive, let alone spell word that learners do not
know.

Crossword puzzle
There are a few related studies conclude that games are an excellent way to
teach English vocabulary. One of those studies is conducted by Seda (2010).
He showed that using game is one of the techniques in teaching vocabulary
that can solve the lack of students’ vocabulary mastery. One of the games he
used is crossword puzzle. According to Learn English Articles (2010),
crossword puzzle is a grid of black and numbered white squares in which
letters can be written. Included with the grid is a series of hints about a word
that is supposed to fit into the numbered white boxes of the puzzle.
Another study is conducted by Wahyuningsih (2009), and it is stated that
crossword puzzle is puzzle in which words, guessed from their definitions, and
they are fitted into a diagram of white and black squares and the letters
occupying the white squares to form an interlocking horizontal and vertical
pattern. The crossword puzzle has two sets of definition, one for words to be
written horizontally (across clues) and the other for words to be written
vertically (down clues). The pattern of black squares usually serves to
separate each word from adjacent words. In properly constructed crossword,
as many white squares as possible should be part of both an across and a
down word. For this reason, some squares have associated across and down
clues

The use of crossword puzzle in teaching English vocabulary


According to Learn English Article (2010), there are some tips and hints in
solving crossword puzzle:
· After learning some topics in a text, students remind the words that
related to the topic.
· There are some numbered white boxes of puzzle and also series of
hints or clues about a word given.
· The white boxes are divided into across and down.
· Students read the numbered hints or clues and then guess what word
the hint refers to.
· The challenge is that the word has to be a certain number of letters.
· For instance, when the topic is “describing part of house” let it says the
hint in down first is “where you find the bath”. There are only eight white
squares for the word, so the answer is “bathroom” because it is a part of
house and fit in the amount of spaces.
· The words in crossword puzzle connect each other such as in a word
find. After the students answer some of the word, then the students will have
some letters of other words that already have been filled into the white boxes.
· After the students answer all the hints or clues, the crossword puzzle is
complete.
· Finally, teacher and students discuss the crossword puzzle.

The effectiveness of using crossword puzzle in teaching vocabulary


Widyasari (2010) investigated the use of crossword puzzle in improving
students’ vocabulary mastery. Her research was a classroom action research
that was conducted in the First Year Students of MA Al Bidayah Candi
Bandungan in the academic year 2009/2010. From her research, she found
that the use of crossword puzzle can improve the students’ vocabulary
mastery based on the result of the pre-test on post-test from cycle I to cycle II
that is indicated that there is an improvement in the result of research before
and after she gave the treatment.
Another similar study is conducted by Aimbemb (2011) who investigate about
the use crossword puzzle in improving students’ vocabulary at the first year
students of SMP N 4 Mataram. He believed that the use of crossword puzzle
will motivate the students to try to fulfill the puzzle, so it gives much
opportunity for the students to practice and repeat the sentence pattern and
vocabulary. Besides, he also believed that the crossword puzzle is a kind of
games that will makes the teaching-learning process more attractive. The
students will feel fun, relaxed and enjoyable, and they will memorize the
vocabulary in different way, that is by rewriting them. It is as said by Jones
(2007) that one of the benefits of using crossword puzzles in the classroom is
that they are associated with recreation. It automatically can motivate
students in improving their English vocabulary.
Another study examined about the effect of using crossword puzzle on the
students’ vocabulary achievement that was conducted by Solikhatun (2002). It
was an experimental study that was conducted at the students of SLTP
Muhammadiyah 1 Malang. The result shows that there is a significant
difference between the experimental group and control group. Based on her
study, she found that using crossword puzzle can improve the students’
English vocabulary achievement, and it can be an effective technique in
learning and teaching process.
Based on some studies above, it can be seen that the use of crossword
puzzle is possibly able to be used in the different level of education. It is as
said by Raymonko (2010), “No matter who you are, you can boost your brain
with crossword puzzles. Practically anyone can strengthen their mind power
just by doing crossword puzzles every day.” Besides, Jones (2007) also
states that crossword puzzles have endured as a favorite national pastime
because they are appealing to all ages, they can be completed in a rather
brief period of time, and solving them provides a sense of accomplishment.
Furthermore, crossword puzzle is effective to be used in learning and
teaching process because it can motivate the students to be active in
improving their English vocabulary by solving crossword puzzles.

Methodology
In this part, it will be discussed about this research methodology including the
overall research design, the setting of this research implementation, the
population and sample as the research subject, the instrumentation used to
collect data from this research, the procedure to collect the research data, the
analysis of this research data, and validity and reliability of the research
instruments.

Method
This overall research design will take a quantitative method which uses a
formal, objective and systematic process where data are utilized to test the
hypothesis. This research will investigate the effectiveness of the crossword
puzzle implementation in improving students’ vocabulary achievement in
senior high school. Therefore, this research will be an experiment research as
a kind of quantitative method.

Quantitative
Quantitative method is a method that emphasizes on objective measurements
and numerical analysis of data collection (University of Southern California,
2012). It is as explained by Noor (2011) that this method is used to test
certain theories by examining the relationship inter-variable that is measured
generally by using instrument, so the numerical data from that measurement
can be analyzed based on statistic procedure. This method is focused on the
result without considering the process of research investigation. Therefore,
this research will obtain the definite result. Furthermore, by using quantitative
method, the hypothesis of this research can be examined based on the result
of the statistic data.

Experiment
Experiment is one of quantitative research design that is a plan for assigning
experimental units to treatment levels and the statistical analysis associated
with the plan. Ary et al. (2010) explain that experiment involves manipulation
of one or more independent variables, controls any other relevant variables,
and observes the effect of the manipulations on the dependent variable(s).
One of experiment types that will be used in this research is true experiment
design. True experiment design will involve manipulation of one or more
independent variables, and observing the effect on some outcome or
dependent variable. That is why true experiments are excellent for showing a
cause-and-effect relationship from certain variable. True experiment tries to
prove or disprove a hypothesis mathematically by using statistical analysis. In
this true experiment, it will be two groups consisted of experiment group (a
group that is given a treatment) and control group (a group without treatment)
that are selected randomly. The effect of the treatment that is given to the
experiment group can be discovered because it will be compared with control
group that is not given any treatment. To find out the difference between
those two groups, both of them will be given post-test evaluation. In
experiment group, the post-test is given to the students after the treatment to
find out the students’ achievement. In this case, the treatment that will be
given in experiment group is crossword puzzle. Meanwhile, control group will
use conventional learning process where there is no given treatment. This
design is called post-test only control group design. Thus, this design can be
described as follow:

Table 1. Post-test only control group design


Group Dependent variable Post-test
(R) Experiment X O1
(R) Control - O2
Note:
R = randomly group selection
X = a group that is given a treatment (experimental group)
- = a group without treatment (control group)
O1 = post-test observation for experiment group
O2 = post test observation for control group

(Noor, 2011)

Setting
This research will be conducted in SMA Negeri 1 Telaga Biru that is located in
Ulapato village, Gorontalo, and it will be conducted on January 2013 for
approximately a month. SMA Negeri 1 Telaga Biru has a building for learning
and teaching process. It is one of education centers which support the
successful in teaching and learning process. SMA Negeri 1 Telaga Biru has
two English teachers who teach English in fifteen classes that are consisted of
six classes of grade X, two classes of grade XI IPA, three classes of grade XI
IPS, two classes of grade XII IPA, and two classes of grade XII IPS with the
total of the students in each class is approximately 28 students. Therefore,
based on that situation, the researcher believes that this research is
appropriate to be conducted in SMA Negeri 1 Telaga Biru by considering
some reasons. First, SMA Negeri 1 Telaga Biru has less of English teacher.
Second, learning English vocabulary is considered less important. Third, the
English teachers in SMA Negeri 1 Telaga Biru still have poor technique in
teaching vocabulary. Forth, the researcher assumes that the crossword
puzzle strategy is never used to teach English in SMA Negeri 1 Telaga Biru.

Population
Ary et al. (2010) define population as all members of any well-defined class of
people, events, or objects. It is the larger group about which the
generalization is made. Therefore, the population of this research will be the
students of grade XI IPS in SMA Negeri 1 Telaga Biru that are registered in
the academic year 2012/2013. It is consisted of three classes with the total of
students in all classes are 84 students. The distribution of the students in
each class can be described as follow:

Table 2. The total of students in grade XI IPS of SMA Negeri 1 Telaga Biru in
academic year 2012/2013
No. Class Male Female Total
1 XI IPS 1 15 13 28
2 XI IPS 2 14 15 29
3 XI IPS 3 12 15 27
Total 41 43 84
Source: The profile of SMA Negeri 1 Telaga Biru

Sample
Sample is the small group that is observed, and it is a portion of a population
(Ary et al., 2010). By considering to the design of this research, the sample
will be chosen randomly. Specifically, the sample for this research is chosen
by using cluster random sampling technique. In this technique, the students
will not be disordered, but it will disorder the classes that are available in all
population. Thus, the sample of this research will be two odd classes
consisted of XI IPS 1 as the experiment class that is given the treatment
(crossword puzzle) and XI IPS 3 as the control class that is not given the
treatment. Those two classes are homogeneous because they have similarity
in the teacher, curriculum, and material. Moreover, the students’ ability in all
population is considered homogenous because there is no superior class and
inferior class. Further, those two selected classes are considered able to
represent the whole population.

Instrumentation
This research will use two instruments consisted of test and observation.
Those two instruments aim to help the researcher obtain data as the
evaluation regarding the conducted research.

Test
Test is a method of measuring students’ ability, knowledge, or performance in
a given domain (Brown, 2004). The data of this research will be collected
through a test. The test will be in form of written test, they are objective and
essay test. Based on the design of this research, the test that will be given to
this research is post-test. This test will be employed in the last program of this
study, and it will be given to both experiment class and control class. The
post-test aims to measure students’ vocabulary achievement in both classes.

Observation
Observation is a systematic data collection approach. In this research, the
observation firstly will be conducted before the process of learning and
teaching. It aims to observe the students’ situation, so it will make the
researcher easy to determine the sample and compose the appropriate
material based on the curriculum and textbook. After the process of learning
and teaching, observation will be used to analyze the result of the given post-
test in both experiment class and control class. By using observation, both of
classes will be compared each other to answer the research question and
measure the certain aspects related to this research.

Data collection procedure


In conducting this research, there are some procedures that will be done. In
the first step, the researcher will conducted the observation to get necessary
information in SMA Negeri 1 Telaga Biru related to the research will be
conducted. It aims to make easy the researcher to do the deprivation of
sample and make a plan to the next step.
In the second step, the research will compose the material that is appropriate
with the curriculum and textbook in grade XI IPS of SMA Negeri 1 Telaga
Biru. Then, the researcher will make a lesson plan that will be applied in the
process of learning and teaching in both experiment class and control class.
The researcher will also prepare the post test items that will be given to both
of classes in the last step of this experiment.
In the third step, the researcher will give the same material for both
experiment class and control class. After that, the students in experiment
class will be asked to do some crossword puzzles while the students in
control class will be conducted the process of learning and teaching as
common. This technique will be done approximately three times in three
meeting.
In the last step, the researcher will give the post test for both experiment class
and control class. In this case, the researcher has to make sure that the
students do their test by themselves. That is why it is important to monitor
their activity in doing test. After that, the result of the post-test will be collected
and analyzed to be measured based on the score that is obtained from both
classes. From the conducted measurement, the researcher will be able to
compare the result to make a conclusion.

Analysis data
All of the data of this research will be analyzed by using the program of SPSS
(Statistical Package for the Social Science). According to Boston College
(2012), SPSS is an integrated collection of quantitative analysis software that
is particularly popular with social science researchers. It can be used to
perform many data management and statistical analysis tasks. In this
research, the using of SPSS program aims to analyze the data professionally.
In this case, the numerical data statistic obtained from this research will be
interpreted by using SPSS to show the significances about the cause and
effect between the research variable. Moreover, it will also show the degree of
the difference score significance between experiment group and control
group.
Furthermore, the analysis data of this research will use paired-samples t test.
It will be used to test the difference of the paired sample, and it is often used
in experiment research (Wijaya, 2012). Thus, in this research, paired-samples
t test will be used to show the difference of students’ post-test result between
the experiment class and control class. Thus, by using SPSS, the data
analysis of paired-samples t test will be processed as the following steps.
· Fill the data about the students’ post-test result and save it as “Post-
Test”.
· Click “Analyze”, and then select “Compare Mean”  “Paired-Samples T
Test”.
· Block the post-test result of control class and the post-test result of
experimental class that inform the post-test result after the given treatment.
After that, enter both of them in the dialog box of Paired Variables.
· Click “Option…”, type the interval in 95%, then click “Continue”, and
“OK”.
Furthermore, the result of paired-samples t test will obtain three outputs. The
first output will show the mean score of post-test from both experiment class
and control class, the second output will show the correlation result between
experiment class and control class, and the third output will show the analysis
of hypothesis.

A. Validity
Ary et al. (2010) defined validity as the extent to which an instrument
measured what it claimed to measure. The focus of recent views of validity is
not on the instrument itself but on the interpretation and meaning of the
scores derived from the instrument. Validity is used to determine whether
research measures what it intended to measure and to approximate the
truthfulness of the results (Tariq, 2009). Thus, the instrument will be valid if it
is able to measure what is coveted and disclose the data of researched
variable exactly (Arikunto, 2010).
Moreover, this validity measurement will be conducted in class XI IPS 2 with
the total of students are 29 people. Thus, to measure the validity of the
instrument, it will use correlation formula that is brought up by Pearson. It is
known as Product Moment correlation that can be formulated as follow:

Note:
: the correlation coefficient of item
X : the subjects’ obtained score from all items
Y : the score total obtained from all items
: the total of score in distribution X
: the total of score in distribution Y
: the square total of in distribution score X
: the square total score in distribution score Y
N : the total of respondent

(Noor, 2011)

Moreover, the result of will be correlated with r value of product moment by


considering the total of respondent is 29 and the significant standard is 5%. In
this case, the r value of product moment for validity is 0,367, so the instrument
of the test will be valid if 0,367 and it will not be valid if 0,367.

B. Reliability
Miller (n. d.) defines reliability as the extent to which an instrument
questionnaire, test, observation or any measurement procedure produces the
same results on repeated trials. The reliability of a measuring instrument is
the degree of consistency with which it measures whatever it is measuring
(Ary et al., 2010). Therefore, the result of the measured instrument given to
the identical subject has to be relatively similar even it is done by different
people, time, and place. It will not be influenced by doer, condition and
situation. Thus, the estimate of the reliability of the test as the instrument of
this research will be measured by using Alpha Cronbach formula. It is used to
measure the instrument reliability which the scoring is not 1 and 0 (Arikunto,
2010). Thus, Alpha Cronbach can be formulated as follow.

where:

Note:
: instrument reliability
k : the total item of test
: the variants total of test items
: the total of variants

(Noor, 2011)

Moreover, the result of will be correlated with r value of product moment by


considering the total of respondent is 29 and the significant standard is 1%. In
this case, the r value of product moment for reliability is 0,470, so the
instrument of the test will be reliable if 0,470 and it will not be reliable
if 0,470.

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