A. The Background of the Study
English is as an international language used as a tool for communication in daily life and in academics, functioned as a first, second or foreign language. In
Therefore, the students should master English. In fact the students do not master the English yet. This can be proven by the low level of students’ vocabulary. The low level of the students’ vocabulary can be seen from the writer’s experience when teaching English at the Private Junior High School Muhammadiyah 44. The students always ask the writer about the meaning of the words.
There are many factors that make the students’ vocabulary is low. They came from the internal factor and the external one. The internal means factors from the inside of the students themselves such as motivation, interest, intelligence etc., and the external is factors from outside of the students that affect their learning process such as economic background, learning materials, and teachers’ performance including their teaching methods.
The teaching method is assumed as the factor that causes the students’ vocabulary is low. The method used by the teacher has often been said to be the cause of success or failure in language learning for it is ultimately the method that determines ‘the what’ and ‘the how’ of language instructions”.
The method that is used by the teacher at the Private Junior High School Muhammadiyah 44 in teaching vocabulary is Grammar Translation Method. Its principle uses translation and analysis of the grammar rules in teaching learning activities and the main focus is on teaching reading and writing skills.
As Thuleen said, “The major characteristic of the grammar-translation method is, precisely as its name suggests, a focus on learning the rules of grammar and their application in translation passages from one language into the other. Vocabulary in the target language is learned through direct translation from the native language. Very little teaching is done in the target language. Instead, readings in the target language are translated directly and then discussed in the native language, often precipitating in-depth comparisons of the two languages themselves. Grammar is taught with extensive explanations in the native language, and only later applied in the production of sentences through translation from one language to the other”.
When the writer observes at the Private Junior High School Muhammadiyah 44, he found that the students who learn vocabulary by using the Grammar Translation Method feel bored and confused because they must study about the grammatical form and memorize the words, and also the writer found that teaching vocabulary by using the Grammar Translation Method is not an effective way, because the students’ achievements are low.
So, here the writer would like to propose the method that should be used in teaching vocabulary at the Private Junior High School Muhammadiyah 44, that is Direct Method. This method is called as a Natural Method, its principle uses the way how most people have traditionally acquired languages in early stages. It means that it is a must to use the target language in presenting the new vocabulary and in communication, and the teacher must uses the pictures, gestures, realia or by using the target language that is familiar to the students in explaining the new words.
As Freeman said, “As with the Grammar Translation Method, the Direct Method is not new. Its principle has been applied by language teachers for many years. Most recently, it was revived as a method when the goal of instruction became learning how to use a foreign language to communicate. Since the Grammar-Translation Method was not very effective in preparing students to use the target language communicatively, the Direct Method became popular. The Direct Method has one very basic rule. No translation is allowed. In fact, the Direct Method receives its name from the fact that meaning is to be connected directly with the target language, without going through the process of translating into the students’ native language”.
In other words the Direct Method is regarded effective in teaching vocabulary. Therefore, in this ‘Skripsi’ the writer would like to use the Direct Method in teaching vocabulary in order to know its effectiveness in teaching vocabulary compared with the Grammar Translation Method.
B. The Identification of the Study
There are many kinds of factors that can cause the problems of the students’ vocabulary. The problems can be identified as the following: (1) Does the students’ interest affect their vocabulary mastery? , (2) Does the students’ motivation affect their vocabulary mastery? , (3) Does the students’ wealth affect their vocabulary mastery? , (4) Does the method of teaching affect the student’s vocabulary mastery?, and etc.
There are many problems that can be identified. However the writer limits them only on the effectiveness of using Direct Method in teaching vocabulary compared with the Grammar Translation Method.
C. The Statement of the Study
Based on the identification of the problems the writer formulates the research problem as follow:
“Are the students’ vocabulary scores taught by the Direct Method higher than taught by the Grammar Translation Method? and Is teaching vocabulary by using the Direct Method more effective than by using the Grammar Translation Method?”
D. The Significance of the Study
- The Teachers
The result of this research is expected to be a useful input for the English teachers to improve the students’ vocabulary.
- The Students
The result of this research is expected to be a useful input for the students to encourage them to master and improve their English vocabulary.
- The Headmaster
 William F. Mackey, Language Teaching Analysis, (London: Longman, Green and Co. Ltd, 1966), p. 138.
 Nancy Thuleen, "The Grammar-Translation Method." The article is accessed on April 26th, 2007 at http://www.nthuleen.com/papers/720report.html
 Diane Larsen-Freeman, Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), p. 18