Januari 10, 2010

The success of English learning is seen generally through the speaking ability. Nowadays, although learners have learned English for years, many of them are still incapable to use English orally. These may be caused by the limitation of opportunity to practice, lack of vocabulary, or psychological factors which more concern to the fear of making mistakes when speaking English. This fear feeling comes up from the low self-concept they have. Someone with low self-concept is believed to be unconfident, while confidence is needed by learners to present their English orally (Coopersmith in Bintang Bangsaku: 2008). This psychological factor influenced the learners’ ability in speaking.
Based on the problem above, the writer would like to find out learners’ self-concept and speaking ability, and whether there is a correlation between self-concept which is one of psychological factor and their English speaking ability of Primagama English for students class.
The design of this research was correlational study. This study tried to find out the correlation between self-concept and English speaking ability. The writer took 30 learners of the Primagama English for students class as research subjects. The data were obtained through the self-concept test that has been adapted from ‘A test of a multi faceted, hierarchical model of self concept’ by Dr Russell F. Waugh and the speaking test was held by the instructor.
After conducting the research, the writer found that the average score of self-concept score was 73.73 and it was in fair criteria. While the average score of speaking ability was 50.14 which was in novice high level. Furthermore, the writer also found a significant correlation between the self-concept and English speaking ability of the learners of Primagama English for students class.

Speaking is an important aspect in language learning. By speaking, we can convey information and ideas, and maintain social relationship by communicating with others.
In addition, a large percentage of the world’s language learners study English in order to be able to communicate fluently. It is strengthened by British Council’s report (1998) which states that more than two billion people use English to communicate. Some people often think that the ability to speak a language is the product of language learning. They assumed that speaking is a crucial part of language learning process.
Many language learners regard speaking ability as the measure of knowing a language. That is why the main purpose of language learning is to develop proficiency in speaking and communicative efficiency. They regard speaking as the most important skill they can acquire and asses their progress in terms of their accomplishments in spoken communication.
On the contrary, for most people, speaking is the most difficult part when they learn a foreign language. There are many obstacles in mastering English. For people who wants to be competent in communicating with English, they must change and expand identity as she or he learns the culture, social, and even political factors of English, that needed to speak appropriately with a new ‘voice’, it is as Englishman (Hughes, 2002 in Fitriana 2004:1). Besides changing and expanding the identity, they also need bravery and confidence to present their English well. Bravery and self confidence are included in non linguistic aspect which directly indicated one’s self concept that can determine one’s successful or failure in speaking English.
There were several reasons why the writer was interested in investigating the correlation between self-concept and English speaking ability. First, people who have learnt English for a long time in Indonesia, sometimes rather hesitate when they should speak with native speakers. They are not sure with their English. They are often embarrassed or shy to say anything when they do not understand what others speak or when they realize that others do not understand them. Sometimes, they just listen in silence while others do talking. In this case, they just lack confidence in their ability to participate successfully in oral interaction. This self-confidence factor is quite related to the self-concept of the people. Because self-concept is just one factor among many that have an impact to one’s self-confidence.
Second, some people sometimes do not have enough bravery to speak in front of people even in their own language. They always feel nervous when they speak up in public. They are afraid of making mistakes because they are worry if other people will laugh at them. Actually, feeling some nervousness is natural and healthy. It shows people care about doing well. But too much nervousness can be detrimental. According to Wijaya (2007) “deliver a speech in public is not easy but also is not difficult to do”. We should believe that the ability to speak in front of people is not innate but a skill that can be learned.
The last reason was the common situation which happened in general speaking class. Most of students are often particularly reticent when it comes to speaking activity in their classroom. They got nervous when require to speak English in front of the class. Sometimes, they also avoid this chance by giving many excuses. They usually say ‘I am shy’ and ‘I cannot do that’. Or even they did what the teacher’s instruction but their voice was slower and softer than usual, so the teacher could not hear their voice clearly. Actually, to be able to speak English in their speaking class, students are not expected to have a great ability in grammar, vocabulary, or writing, but how brave they express their idea and use their English in front of others.
In this study self concept is what one understands about his/her self. It may include one’s social character or abilities, physical appearances and body image, and the way of thinking and behavior. Each person can change his/her self concept to be more positively to get a good achievement but it depends on what one sees and understands on his/her feeling, belief and attitude. Better one’s self-concept, it will be higher self-competence can be developed (Pudjijogyanti: 1991).
Referenced on illustration above, it is clear that psychological factor like self-concept will give some contributions in successful of learning especially speaking. Moreover, the teachers have an important role in developing learners’ self concept by giving more attention to motivate them in order to they are more active and brave to use their English orally.
If they always think that they are going to be failed in speaking English, they will not be able to speak well. This situation shows that this fear indicates they have low or even negative self concept. In other word, it could be say that if learner has no idea about what to say, she or he may lose confidence, feel no comfortable, and make mistake.
Based on the description above, the writer was interested in investigating the correlation of self-concept and speaking ability of the learners of Primagama English for students class where it is a new comer as an English course with a small number of learners which is focusing on how to improve their English speaking ability.

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