IMPROVING THE VII-A GRADE STUDENTS’ ACTIVE PARTICIPATION AND THEIR READING COMPREHENSION ACHIEVEMENT THROUGH SEMANTIC MAPPING TECHNIQUE AT SMPN 3 RAMBIPUJI JEMBER
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Reading is an interactive process in which reader actively engage with texts, building their own understanding of the author’s message (Biddulph, 2002:3) as cited in Boonde (2010:11). Through reading, readers can gain many things including information. It can be said that reading is the process of understanding or comprehending any information from the text to gain an idea or a message. Based on the interview in the preliminary study, it was revealed that the grade VII-A students still faced problems in comprehending word, sentence, paragraph and text. As a result, they were not always able to comprehend the meaning of the reading text well. The average score of the VII-A grade students reading comprehension achievement was still 61, while the passing grade score for the English subject in that school was 70. Additionally, the students’ active participation had not always been analyzed and documented by the English teacher. After identifying the class situation, the English teacher and the researcher agreed that Semantic Mapping technique was selected to solve the main problem faced by the students. McNeil (1992:34) says that Semantic Mapping is one of the effective teaching devices for activating appropriate background knowledge. In addition, Schieffer (2006:1) assumes that “Semantic Maps graphically represent the spheres of meaning surrounding concepts and the central terms used to describe a practical problem in an organizational context”. Those were the main reasons why Semantic Mapping technique was trusted to improve the students’ active participation in the reading class and their reading comprehension achievement. This classroom action research was intended to improve the VII-A grade students active participation and their reading comprehension achievement through Semantic Mapping technique at SMPN 3 Rambipuji Jember in the 2014/2015 academic year. This research had been conducted in two cycles. Each cycle consisted of two meetings and one reading comprehension test. The researcher did the action collaboratively with the English teacher. The success criteria used to evaluate the action were; 1) At least 75% of the students of the research can reach the score of 70 or higher on reading test, 2) At least 75% of the students are active during teaching and learning process. Based on the observation in Cycle 1, there were 42,64% of the students who were active during the teaching reading process by using Semantic Mapping technique. It means that the research target of active participation had not been achieved yet. Therefore, the action was continued to the second cycle. Then, Cycle 2 showed that the percentage average result of students’ active participation was 81,49%. It can be verified that the percentage of the students’ active participation could be improved by using Semantic Mapping technique gradually. In addition, according to the reading test results, the data gathered in the preliminary study showed that 20% of the students (7 students out of 35 students) got score 70 or higher. After the implementation of the action in Cycle 1, there were 15 students out of 30 students or 50% who got the score ≥70. This result had not achieved the target score criteria. Then, in the second cycle, as many as 83,33% or (25 students out of 30 students) who got the score at least 70 or higher. Finally, the result had achieved the target of the research. Thus, it can be proved that the use of Semantic Mapping technique could improve the students’ reading comprehension achievement. In this research, some factors that influenced the results of the action were found; (1) using the topic that more familiar; (2) using the variety of shapes or colors in making Semantic Mapping; (3) working in group while doing the tasks; (4) giving more explanation of creating Semantic Mapping from the beginning by writing down on the board step by step; and (5) using Indonesian and English language in balance during the teaching and learning process. Besides, Semantic Mapping technique made the students becomes active readers as they read and reread the reading text to create the map and add text to the shapes. Therefore, for those students who created the Semantic Mapping completely, showed that they got the reading test score ≥70. Thus, using Semantic Mapping technique was effective in reading questions like (1) identifying the synonyms and antonyms, (2) finding some sentences that expressed about the generic structure (rhetorical step), (3) identifying the main idea, supporting details, and topic, (4) identifying the purpose of the text, and (5) making conclusion of the reading text. Considering the results of observation and reading test above, it is suggested to the English teacher to use Semantic Mapping technique in improving the students’ active participation in the process of teaching and learning and their reading comprehension achievement.