SMP Negeri 7 Sukoharjo



This study is based on the problem that is the low vocabulary mastery of the VII grade students of SMP Negeri 7 Sukoharjo of Academic Year 2009/2010. The objective of this research is to improve students’ vocabulary by using pictures. The teacher conducted classroom action research from January to Juni 2010. Class VII A is the lowest grade among all class VII, therefore the Subject of the research is the students of class VII A SMP Negeri 7 Sukoharjo of the Academic Year 2009/2010. The teacher conducted the research in three cycles. Each Cycle consisted of four steps: planning, implementation observation, and reflection. Teacher used Mie Sedap package, pictures related to shopping, and pictures “How to Make a Flower Pot” to teach about procedure text. The improvement is measured by comparing the result of the pre-test and the post-test in every cycle. In Cycle I, the mean score of pre-test is 58.35 improved to 65.60 in post-test. In Cycle II, the mean score of pre-test is 60.10 improved to 70.75 in post-test, and in Cycle III, the mean score of pre-test is 65.53 improved to 81.351 in post-test. The result of the research showed that after using pictures in teaching vocabulary, the students’ vocabulary mastery increased optimally and it is very helpful for the students to improve their vocabulary mastery.

Keywords: Vocabulary, Pictures



Background of study

Nowadays, teaching English to young learners is popular in Indonesia. Junior High Schools include English as compulsory subject. Many reasons promote the teachers introducing English at an early age. Brumfit (1995: VI) states that young learners have more opportunities than adults. They are learning all the time without having the worries and responsibilities of adults. Instead, Vermeer in Schmitt,N. and McCarthy (1997: 140) states that knowing words is the key to understand and being understood. The bulk of learning a new language consists of learning new words. Considering the importance of vocabulary competence, it is better to introduce new vocabulary earlier. Students are commonly easier to absorb the new vocabulary even though there is something easy to forget too. However, in the midst of the importance of mastery vocabulary, the writer found out that the students’ vocabulary mastery of the VII grade students of SMP Negeri 7 Sukoharjo is still low. It can be seen from:

1.      The students get difficulties in pronouncing words correctly. In introducing the words, the teacher tends to use written form first than oral.

2.      The students get difficulties in remembering and grasping the words meaning. Correctly. The teacher gives some English words and then translates them.

3.      The students get difficulties in writing words or group correctly. It can be seen when they cannot do their exercises perfectly. Most of them fill the wrong answer.

4.      The students’ attention to English is not optimal. It makes the students do not concentrate on the lesson.

Based on the fact, in this research the writer will bring forward the way of teaching vocabulary by using pictures. Ellis,G (1991: 29) stated that many objects, qualities and actions verbs can be illustrated by pictures. The pictures must be big enough and clear enough to be seen and recognized from the back of the class. Pictures will help students to understand the key words from a text.

Based on the previous explanation, the writer is interested to conduct a Research in which the title “Improving Vocabulary Mastery by Using Pictures (An Action Research in the Seventh Grade Students of SMP Negeri 7 Sukoharjo 2009 – 2010).”

Problem Statement

Based on the background of study, the teacher wants to know whether the use of pictures in teaching vocabulary can improve the students’ vocabulary mastery in learning English at Junior High school. The problems can be formulated as follows:

1.     Can the use of pictures improve students’ vocabulary at the VII grade students of SMP Negeri 7 Sukoharjo?

2.     What happen if the pictures are conducted during the learning process at the VII grade student SMP Negeri 7 Sukoharjo?

The Objectives of the study

The study aims at finding the answer to the questions stated in the problem statement. Therefore, the objectives of this study are:

1.     To identify the improvement of student’s vocabulary at the VII grade students of SMP Negeri 7 Sukoharjo.

2.     To identify the students’ learning activity when pictures are conducted during the teaching learning process at the VII grade students of SMP Negeri 7 Sukoharjo.



Hatch, Evelyn and Brown, Cheryl (1995: 1) state that the term of vocabulary refers to a list or set of words for a particular language or a list or set of words that individual speakers of language might use. In “The Oxford English Dictionary” prepared by Simpson and Weiner (1991: 721), Vocabulary is defined as a collection or list of words with brief explanation of their meaning. According to Hornby,AS(1987: 959) in “The Oxford advanced learner’s Dictionary of Current English”, it is stated that vocabulary is the total number of words in a language, all words known to a person or used in a particular book, Subject, etc. From the definition above, it may be concluded that vocabulary is the total number of words that are taught in foreign language and the individual speaker or group uses this words.

Vocabulary is one element of the language that should be learnt and taught. It cannot be denied that it will be hard to master language, without mastering or understanding a certain number of vocabularies. The importance of vocabularies is explained by Laufer,B. (1997: 5) who state “No text comprehension is possible either in ones” native language or in a foreign language without understanding the text vocabulary”(1997: 20). It means that vocabulary has important role in teaching language. With more vocabulary, it will give easiness for the learner in understanding and using language. While McCarthy in Schmitt, Norbert &Michael McCarthy (1997:140) added “No matter how well the students learn grammar, no matter how successfully the sound of language is mastered, without words to express wide language meaning, communication in second language cannot happen in any meaningful way”. The meaning shows that vocabulary has important roles in communication. If there is someone who does not recognize the meaning of the key word used by his partner, they will be unable to participate in the conversation.

From the opinions above, it maybe concluded that vocabulary plays the important role in language communication. Although someone masters the good grammar or syntax but do not know the meaning, the will get difficulties in communication.


Pictures as a part of visual aids are used as a technique in teaching English vocabulary at Junior High School. They give a lot of contribution because by pictures, students not only can hear but also can see the sign that is illustrated by the pictures to express ideas or words. Pictures as one kind of media have many different terminologies. Some experts have defined about pictures. Ryan in Smith and McCarthy (1997:212) says that new words can be learned by studying them with pictures instead of definitions. Moreover, learners can create their own mental images of a word’s meaning when looking at the pictures. Imaginary has been shown to be more effective than more repetition for reading passages and sentences, suggesting it could be more effective for vocabulary too. Now it can be associated with a particularly vivid.

From the explanation above, it can be concluded that pictures as an image or likeness of an object, person, scene, thing, or idea on flat surface produced by painting or photography. The role of using pictures as media of instruction has become the best choice in teaching English especially in vocabulary to the Junior High School students since it has many benefits to the process of getting the vocabulary knowledge toward them. While Wright (1997: 182-187) added that picture can be found in newspaper, magazines, catalogues, reproduction of art, posters, wall charts, wrapping paper.

According to Wright, Andrew (1997: 17), there are some pictures roles in language learning especially in vocabulary mastery (including speaking and writing):

1.     Pictures can motivate students make them want to pay attention and want to take part.

2.      Pictures can contribute to the context in which in language is being used. They bring the world into classroom.

3.     Pictures can be described in an objective way or interpreted or responded to subjectively.

4.     Pictures can cue responses to the question or cue substitution through controlled practice.

5.     Pictures can stimulate and provide information to be referred to in conversation, discussion, and storytelling.

From those opinions above, it can be assumed that the role of pictures is essential in speaking and writing. Those two English skills of course required vocabulary competence because to have a good speaking and writing we must master vocabulary first in the order words. It can be said that the role of using pictures are quite appropriate to be used in teaching English vocabulary.


The study is a classroom action research that is aimed at implementing the use of picture to improve student’s vocabulary mastery. This study is conducted during the second semester of the VII year students of Junior High School in SMP Negeri 7 Sukoharjo for 6 months from January to June 2010.

The sample is the students of class 7A because that class is the lowest grade among all class VII. It consists of 40 students. They are 19 boys and 21 girls. The class of the writer observed located at the fourth building in the second room.

The model of action research in this classroom action research in this classroom action research uses the model develop by Kemmis and Taggart (in Hopkins,1993: 48). There are four steps in this model of action research namely, planning, implementing the action, observing, and reflecting. As shown in diagram below;

An illustration of action research spiral


The procedure of this research consists of six steps. The second until the last step form one cycle. The procedure is described as follows:


The research identifies the problems before planning the action. The teacher found four problems that are faced by the VII grade students of SMP Negeri 7 Sukoharjo in learning vocabulary:

1.     The students get difficulties in pronouncing words correctly,

2.     The students get difficulties in remembering and grasping the words meaning correctly.

3.     The students get difficulties in writing words or group of words correctly

4.     The students’ attention to learn English is not optimal.


General plan is made before implementing the action. The teacher prepares everything related to the action as follows:

1.     Making lesson plan and designing the steps in doing the action.

2.     Preparing material.

3.     Preparing teaching aids (pictures, worksheet, etc).

4.     Preparing pre-test and post-test (to know whether students’ vocabulary improves or not).


The teacher implements teaching and learning activity by using pictures to VII grade students of SMP Negeri 7 Sukoharjo. The real implementations generally are presented as follows:

1.     Presentation: the teacher creates a good atmosphere to encourage the students to access topic before going to the teaching material.

2.     Practice: students understand the material taught.

3.     Production: students are able to translate the words and writing in a simple text.

Observation and Evaluation

After giving the pre test and post test, the writer analyses the result of the test to know the students’ achievement after teaching them by using pictures. The teacher also creates a conductive atmosphere to increase the students’ motivation in learning vocabulary, for example, by giving suggestion, helping their difficulties while learning and giving feedback for their efforts.


The teacher makes an evaluation on the observation result to find out the positive result and weakness during the action. The weakness can be seen from the students’ involvement in teaching learning process, whether they are active and passive and passive. It is a basic consideration to conduct the next cycle of teaching.

Revising the Plan

Based on the weakness found from the activities that have been carried out, the teacher revises the plan for the next cycle.


In this research the writer tries to implement one of the techniques, namely, teaching vocabulary by using pictures. The teacher writes a lesson plan in every action; Presentation, Practice and Production. To measure students’ achievement in learning vocabulary, the teacher gives a test. The form of the test used by the teacher is translating English words to Indonesia, making simple sentences and a simple Procedure text. The topics are How to Cook Mie Sedap Goreng, How to Shop in Traditional Market and How to Make A Flower Pot.

Cycle 1


Before presenting pre-activity, the teacher gives the students a pre-test. The test will also be given at the end of the first cycle as a post-test so that she will know the differences between the results of the two tests.

In the lesson plan, there are three steps that are prepared. They are presentation, Practice, and Production.


1.         Presentation

After doing the pre-test, the teacher gives a short explanation and asks some oral questions to the students by showing a package of Mie Sedaap before presenting the teaching material. The questions are as follows:

a.         What picture is this?

b.         Have you ever eaten Mie Sedap Goreng?

c.         Do you like it?

d.         Why do you like it?

e.         Do you have it at home?

f.          Do you know how to cook Mie Sedap Instant?

Some students can answer the questions correctly. So the teacher praises them by words. While to solve the problem of students’ answers are still incorrect, the teacher helps them by showing pictures in front of the class.

2.         Practice

The teacher distributes the copies of material “How to Cook Mie Sedap Instant” and students choose the new words from the text and write on the board. She pronounces those words and asks the students to write them on their note book. When the students get difficulty in writing the teacher helps them by saying that the words are stated on that text. She asks the students to repeat after her to check their pronunciation. The new words are as follows:

a.   boil                   =

b.   stir                    =

c.   noodle               =

d.   seasoning          =

e.   serve                =

f.    chili powder       =

g.   pour                  =

h.   mix well =

i.    spread               =

j.    delicious            =

After that the teacher asks the students to translate the new words into Indonesian by showing pictures. She also gives a chance to the students to mention the new words one by one. They may open their dictionaries too.

3.         Production

The teacher gives example to underline the verbs and conjunctions and then the students continue to do it. They are as follows:


a.     Boil 400 ml (2 glasses) of water in a pan. Add noodle, stir slowly for 3 minutes

b.     While the noodle is being cooked, put the seasoning, sweet say sauce in a bowl

c.     Take the cook noodle from the boiling water and dry it.

d.     Put the cooked noodle into the bowl with seasoning, sweet sauce and chili sauce, mix well.

e.     Sprinkle fried crispy onion. Mie sedap is ready to be served


Teacher asks the students to look for the other packages of noodle and write how to cook it and underline the verbs and conjunctions in that procedure text. Students can do and finish those tasks at home for their homework.

Monitoring and Evaluation

From monitoring the teaching learning process, the teacher finds that there are some improvements in studying vocabulary. The students are more active in joining the teaching learning process. The teacher gives the students a post-test. The mean score of pre-test is 58.35 improved to 65.60 in post-test.


Action one does not give a satisfactory result because the students are not optimal. They still depend on their teacher in understanding each word. To solve the problem, the teacher uses teaching aids. The teaching aids used are pictures. The teacher also asks the students to bring a dictionary in every English class.

Cycle II


In Cycle II the teacher prepares a lesson plan, color pictures and students’ worksheets so that the action can be done well and teaching objectives can be achieved as well. The teacher also gives the students a pre-test before presentation pre-activity.


As stated in Cycle I, the teacher uses the same technique but a different topic, which is “How to Shop in the Traditional market’. These are steps of the action.

1.         Presentation

The teacher gives some oral questions to the students. The questions are as follows:

a.         What are your hobbies?

b.         Do you like shopping?

c.         Where do you go when you want to go for shopping?

d.         Does your mother always go shopping in traditional market?

e.         What does your mother bring when she goes shopping?

The writer shows pictures relate to give short explanations and instructions are clear as possible in order that the students are interested in learning and the activity runs well in the classroom.

2.         Practice

The teacher prepares small pieces of papers the copies of material contain jumbled step of Procedure text “How to Shop in Traditional Market”. She distributes them to every student. She asks them to read every step. After that the students and the teacher chooses new words from jumbled step. One student writes them on the board. She pronounces those words and the students follow her. The teacher asks the students to write and translate them on their note-book. If the students get difficulty the teacher helps them by saying that the words are stated on that text or look at the picture.

They are as follows:

a.   prepare =

b.   cash                  =

c.   shop                  =

d.   notes                 =

e.   buy                   =

f.    leave                 =

g.   check up            =

h.    bargain             =

i.     price                =

j.     pay                  =

2.     Production

After finishing translate the new words teacher asks the students to arrange the jumble steps based on the pictures to be Procedure text as follows:


a.     Make a list what we will buy.

b.     Go to market

c.     Ask the price of the things

d.     Bargain the price as cheap as possible

e.     Pay in cash

f.      Check up the things we buy before leaving


 If the time is not enough to finish them, the students can finish them at home for their homework.

Monitoring and evaluation

The process of teaching learning in Cycle II is more active than in Cycle I. It can be seen from the fact that 60 percent of the students bring dictionaries. They begin to look up the new words enthusiastically and not tend to wait for their friends as done in Cycle I anymore.


By observing the result of monitoring, the teacher can conclude that showing pictures to the students will make them active in understanding the meaning of the words in sentences. The mean score of pre-test is 60.10 improved to 70.75 in post-test.

From the result above, Cycle II is more successful than Cycle I.

Cycle III


 The implementations of cycles before are appropriate enough in teaching vocabulary. It is necessary for the teacher uses the same steps in Cycle III. The teacher also makes a lesson plan, pictures and students’ worksheet.




In Cycle III the teacher revises the weaknesses of the problems in Cycle Two. She uses the same steps but different topic. The sub topic in Cycle Three is “How to make a flower Pot”.

1.         Presentation

After finishing pre-test, the teacher asks some oral questions by using pictures to the students. The questions are follows:

a.   What picture is this?

b.   Do you like it?

c.   Have you ever made it by yourself?

d.   What materials do you need to make it?

e.   Can you tell me to make it?

After giving some oral questions to the students, the teacher gives short explanations and instructions as clear as possible, so that the students enthusiastically continue the lesson.

2.         Practice

In this cycle the teacher doesn’t need to choose the new words but the students are looking for the words by themselves. The new words are taken from the text of “How to make a Flower Pot”.

 They are as follows:

a.   empty                           =

b.   heat                              =

c.   cut                                =

d.   a pair of pliers                =

e.   fertile                            =

f.    exactly              =

g.   fold                   =

h.   halves               =

i.    Soil                   =

 After finishing translation the new words, the teacher asks the students to write simple sentences based on pictures.

3.         Production

Teacher asks the students to arrange the random sentences to be a simple Procedure text “How to Make a Flower Pot” based on the pictures. The sentences are as follows:



a.      Wash the plastic bottle

b.      Cut the bottle into helves by using cutter scissors

c.      Heat the nail on the stove by using the pliers

d.      Make some holes on the bottom as many as you wish

e.      Now the flower pot is ready to plant the flowers


Monitoring and Evaluation

After helping the students when they get difficult in learning vocabulary by showing pictures and asks them to look for their dictionary, the teacher finds that the quality of teaching learning process in Cycle III is increasing. The students who are not active in Cycle I and Cycle II begin to more active in Cycle III without being commended by the teacher. They look for the new words right away by themselves and then try to make simple sentences and simple procedure texts. The mean score of pre-test is 65.53 improved to 81.35 in post-test


The result of teaching vocabulary always increases every action. It can be concluded that the teacher can encourage the students to improve the vocabulary by using pictures.


The result of the students’ activities in teaching-learning process, the teacher finds some discoveries as follows:

1.         The process of teaching-learning is improving. It can be seen from the result of students’ test in Cycle I, Cycle II and Cycle III as Follows:

Result of Pre Test and Post Test.


Cycle I




Cycle III





























2.         The students’ vocabulary mastery is better after the teacher applies teaching vocabulary by using pictures.

3.         Almost every student brings dictionary in English subject, so they can look for the meaning and check the spelling by themselves when they find new words.



Last Output

1.         By using pictures, it is easier for the teacher to teach vocabulary.

2.         The students’ vocabulary mastery is improvement.

3.         The students’ participation in teaching-learning process is optimal.


1.         Teaching vocabulary by using pictures can improve the students’ vocabulary mastery.

2.          Students are interested to look for the meaning of the new words from the texts after teaching vocabulary by using pictures.

3.         By improving the vocabulary the students’ language skill will also be improve.


1.         For English teacher

a.   It is important for the teacher to make the situation of teaching learning process interesting, so that the students like English.

b.   Using pictures in teaching English is suitable way to improve the students’ vocabulary

2.         For the students

a.   Improve your English vocabulary more, because language plays a very important role in your lives.

b.   If the students’ vocabulary high, you will be able to increase your reading, speaking, listening, and writing skills.


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