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B. COMMON WEALTH 6

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International Conference on Global Education V
“Global Education, Common Wealth, and Cultural Diversity”
DIALOGUE JOURNAL WRITING: AN INNOVATIVE WAY FOR BUILDING
ISLAMIC COLLEGE STUDENTS’ SKILL AND MOTIVATION IN WRITING
Dr.Darmayenti, M.Pd
Adab and Humaniora Faculty of State Institute for Islamic Studies Imam Bonjol
Padang,West Sumatera
E-mail: [email protected]
ABSTRACT
This paper is aimed at discussing on how dialogue journal writing builds students’ skill
and motivation on English writing. Lack of ideas, vocabulary mastery and motivation in
writing are the main students’ problems of at State Institute for Islamic Studies Imam
Bonjol Padang. Thirty three of Arabic students in academic year of 2016/2017
participated in the study, and each student was required to write 1 journal entry per
week in various topics. The students’ journal entries and result of students’ pre test and
post test of writing had been collected in 7 weeks. The five writing aspects mentioned
by Jacob were used as the basis of analysis. This research also analyzed students’
responses on implementation dialogue journal. The result of the research showed that
dialogue journal writing improved students’ writing skill on all of writing components
and effected students’ intrinsic motivation in writing. The mean score of students’ pretest was 52 and improved 81 for writing skill. Dialogue journal writing increased their
intrinsic motivation so that they could get along better with others; shared their ideas,
feelings; and strengthened their confidence in English writing. The finding implies that
the English lecturers have to use dialogue journal writing to enhance the quality of
teaching and the students’ English writing skill at State Institute for Islamic Studies
Imam Bonjol Padang.
Key words: Dialogue journal writing, motivation, writing skill
INTRODUCTION
The main objective of the instruction of English as one of compulsory subjects
at the first and the second semester students at State Institute for Islamic Studies Imam
Bonjol Padang is to provide students with good performance of spoken and written
English as well as Arabic language so that they are able to participate in various
academic activities. English writing is as one of skill to be quiet mastered by any major
of students at colleges in order to explore their English competence. Every student
should be given the chance to view writing as a way to represent life experiences. To
give students this experience, lecturers must show their students that they see the value
in and potential joy of writing.
Writing is the mental work of inventing ideas, thinking about how to express
them, and organizing them into statements and paragraphs that will be clear to a reader
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requires a certain technical capacity which involves cognitive-psychomotor cooperation
(Nunan, 1988; Harmer, 1991). For numerous learners, nonetheless, English writing
appears to be challenging. In terms of fluency, producing a coherent, fluent, extended
writing piece is likely the most difficult thing in language since the reader has to
comprehend what has been written without asking for clarification or relying on the
writer’s tone of voice or expression.
Therefore, lecturers should be able to create meaningful atmosphere, joyfully,
creative, dynamic and dialogic of education
(Indonesia Law, No 20/ No 20/ 2003);
Law No 14 /2005 and law No 37 / 2009). It implies that teaching process should be
shifted from talking about language to doing something with language. Thus, the
atmosphere of the writing classroom should be warm and supportive, and nonthreatening. It helps the students can work together, assist each other, and review each
other’s texts. English lecturers, for instance, create classroom writing and home writing
assignments communicatively. It should be thought of as complementary to classroom
writing development and should be used as a supplementary tool to enhance writing
skill. In order to write well, it is better to have an understanding of grammatical
structures, vocabulary, and tense usage.
Related to the result of test and interview with various major of students at
IAIN, however, many students still got problem in writing skill. The majority of them
were unable to produce a piece of writing that was accurate. This was a challenge for
not only the students enrolled in English programs, but for many students with different
majors. Some of reasons they had were they generally thought that they did not possess
enough vocabulary to express their ideas; they had problems on grammar; they had
difficulties in one or more aspects of writing skill such as content, proper use of
grammar, conventions, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and some of the basic and
initiating aspects of writing and language use in their essay examinations; they preferred
to keep reading instead of writing something in English in the classroom; and they felt
hard to create the idea to write. In addition, they had lack of practice in generating ideas
and verbalizing these in English. Although they had been learned at Senior High School
how to compose well-organized short essays which consist of two paragraphs (120-150
words) (Darmayenti,2015 ). Thus, to get the same practice with writing, they need to be
writing as frequently and regularly. They need an appropriate technique or strategy to
help them to write.
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In addition, lack of motivation was also one of important factor to force the
students to write. Motivation plays a significant role in one’s success (Hurd, 2006:233).
Intrinsic motivation is the important one to solve one’s problem. Intrinsic is defined as
the enjoyment of the engaged task or a sense of fulfillment an individual acquires from
engaging something (Ryan & Deci, 2000:81). A person’s intrinsic motivation is highly
related to the activity engaged in. English lecturers mostly assessed students’ writing
were often too disheartening and failed to develop their interest in writing. They tended
to correct students’ grammatical and mechanical errors part of their obligation and
regard themselves irresponsible if they leave students’ mistakes uncorrected. However,
some students view error correction as discouraging. Teachers’ red marks may distract
students’ attention from the message and the content. This distraction, frustration, and
discontent reduce students’ intrinsic motivation in English writing. Therefore, they need
an opportunity to freely express their feelings and opinions to empower them to gain the
ownership of their writing.
Based on the facts above, one of way to overcome the students’ problems and
motivate them on writing is implementation of Dialogue Journal Writing in teaching
process. Dialogue journal writing is a written conversation between two people in which
the student and the teacher communicate regularly whether is daily, weekly depending
on the educational setting (Peyton, 2000:46). Dialogue journal writing is a method that
can help solve problems about learner’s writing ability (Hiemstra, 2001:3).
The goal of dialogue journal is to communicate through writing not on form
((Jones & Jones, 1986; Wang, 1996). Thus, students can write freely, without focusing
on form. Teacher-student or student-student can be engaging in writing activity.
Teachers do not correct errors but write and respond as a partner in a conversation
(Peyton & Reed, 1990). Topics are not assigned and they are free to write on their
preferred topics. In this case, the students may write much as they choose and the
lecturer writes feedback regularly, respond to the students’ questions, asking questions
and comment, introduce new topic. The lecturer is as a participant in ongoing, written
conversation with the students rather than as evaluator who corrects or comments on
students’ writing skill. The improvement of the written forms of language and syntax
can be made two important ways. First, the willingness to express the thoughts and
ideas while taking part in real dialogue may encourage and lead the students to search
for the correct use of grammatical structure, spelling, or meaning of word (Jones, 2006).
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Second, by taking part in a communicative act through writing, students may acquire
the written linguistic structure unconsciously (Krashen & Terrell, 1983).
The main objective of using dialogue journals in the English language classroom
is to give students more time and opportunities for writing so they can experience the
pleasure of communication through the written word and at the same time become
better writers in English. Through a dialogue journal, teacher and every student can do
communication freely. Other beneficial of this technique is that the students can
encourage more shy students to have a dialogue as well (Jones & Jones, 1986). One
more community builder is that the teacher can offer praise, encouragement or simply
understanding without the student feeling uncomfortable with peers. In addition,
students at first may feel afraid to write, but after some encouragement and experience
writing in the non-threatening context about subject matter they enjoy, they develop
confidence and a more open attitude toward writing (Peyton & Reed, 1990).
Furthermore, dialogue journal can increase students’ skill in writing and motivation.
One of the areas that can greatly benefit from dialogue journaling is fluency, that
is, the ability to communicate fairly easily and effectively through the written
word(Jones, 2006). There are four areas that are considered necessary for fluency in
writing. First of all, one should be able to write easily and not spend a lot of time
agonizing over what or how to write something. Secondly, the meaning must come
across in understandable sentences. Next, one should be able to use writing for many
different purposes. Finally, the writing should be creative and imaginative (Gutstein,
1983).
Some researchers have proved that Dialogue Journal Writing is better to
improve students’ skills in such speaking, reading comprehension, writing skill on email.
Dialogue Journal can also improve students’ learning strategy, anxiety and
motivation (Gambrell, 1985; Bode, 1989; Wang, 1996; Holmes & Moulton, 1997;Bain,
Ballantyne, Packer, & Mills, 1999);Liao & Wong, 2010;Muflikhati, 2013; Aziz &
Magdalena, 2016). It can also improve deaf students to write (Kluwin & Kelly,
1991).Using Dialogue journal writing can enhance intellectual growth and development
is achievable by most learners, especially as they gain more experience with the writing
or recording procedures; can increase self-confidence not only in the classroom but in
many other settings; can helps in the solution of problems; and can improve various
aspects of personal health(Hiemstra, 2001:19).
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Although dialogue journal writing has been shown to play a useful role in
enhancing students’ English writing skill, motivation, and awareness, and reducing
English writing anxiety in the previous studies, the participants in those studies are
usually young children or adults. Little attention has been given to the effects of
dialogue journal writing on Islamic college students. In addition, little research has been
conducted to survey EFL students’ intrinsic English writing motivation before and after
dialogue journal writing, or their responses to this technique.
Related to facts above, this study examines how dialogue Journal writing builds
students’ English writing skill and their English writing motivation at Islamic Studies of
Imam Bonjol Padang. The researcher used diary as a media for the students to write.
Diary is a set of notes about what one is thinking, doing, feeling at a particular moment.
Using diary, the students are freely to explore their ideas and feeling. Some researchers
have proved that diary can improve the students’ writing skill in various genres and
different level of the students (Barjesteh, Vaseghi, & Gholami, 2011; Aprilia, 2015;
Ramadhani & Lestiono, 2016). For testing students’ writing, essay type was used. Essay
writing is a process and needs to be done in various stages, namely; understanding the
task, plan and prepare, write first draft, review first draft, Write, and final draft
(Greetham, 2013). Writing an essay is an opportunity to learn the material and to show
what it is known. It is an opportunity to read more widely around a subject area. This
guide will take the writer through these steps and help them on their way to producing a
good essay. Some researchers have searched English essay writing in different areas
(Narita, Sato, & Sugiura, 2004; Maros, Tan, & Salehuddin, 2007; Ahmed, 2010).
Concerning on the strength of Dialogue Journal Writing as an innovative way to
build and solve the students’ skill on English writing as well as motivate them to write,
the researcher was interested in applying this method for the students at State Institute
for Islamic Studies Imam Bonjol Padang. This research paper is aimed at finding out
how the use of dialogue journal writing affects each component of writing skill and to
know how significance the students’ writing improvement was. This research was also
conducted to find the effect of dialogue journal writing towards students’ motivation in
writing. The finding implies that the English lecturers have to use dialogue journal
writing to enhance the quality of teaching and the students’ English writing skill at State
Institute for Islamic Studies Imam Bonjol Padang
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METHODS
Thirty three active students at first semester in academic year 2016/2017 of
Arabic class participated on this research. The study was conducted for 7 weeks. In the
beginning of the semester, the students were asked to take a pretest in one 50-minute
class period before the dialogue journal writing project. The instrument of this research
were an essay writing test that proposed by Gronlund (Gronlund, 1998) and
questionnaire was used
in order to identify students motivation in writing. The
questionnaire was designed in a five point (5-1) based on Likert scale ranging from
strong agree to strongly disagree. The items of questionnaire were adapted from
Sandman (1993). The items were designed to examine the students’ fondness for
dialogue journal writing activity. The indicators in writing skill were used content (2730), organization (18-20), vocabulary (18-20),language use (20-25), and mechanics (5)
(Jacobs & others, 1981:90; Spielberger, Jacobs, Russell, & Crane, 1983:159). Choosing
one of the best of 5 topics to be written was as a form of writing test (how to be a good
Muslim, what will you do for your free time, why did you study at IAIN, what did you
do last week, and what do you think about English).
The procedures that had been conducted were giving a brief introduction on the
general purpose of the study and on the guidelines about what needed to be
accomplished for the following 7 weeks; then the students participated in the dialogue
journal writing project. In addition, before asking them to write, lecturer gave general
concepts of how to write briefly in such of using appropriate tenses in their writing.
They wrote dialogue journals once a week. The students write freely about their feeling
and activities everyday in their diaries. They were required to submit the free topics,
writing on their day class to ensure that they would have more time to construct their
content on weekends. The students were informed that each piece of writing would be
corrected and graded for grammar. After collecting the writings, the researcher as
lecturer responded to both submissions based on what they wrote by showing empathy,
asking questions, providing suggestions, motivating further thinking, or sharing their
life experiences. The lecturer’s comments were usually simple sentences and focused on
the messages the students conveyed and on grammatical errors. There appear to be more
comments on the preliminary drafts than those on later drafts because the students
needed more guidance and comments on content on the preliminary drafts, and the
teachers reduced their comments on later drafts to develop independent writing. After
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conducting dialogue journal writing project, the students were asked to take a posttest
for 50 minutes and the activity was continued by interviewing some students related to
their comments on the project.
Finally, the researcher gathered, computed, and analyzed the scores. There were
two types of data analysis, qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative analysis was used to
describe the students’ responses on dialogue journal writing on students’ writing.
Quantitative analysis was used to describe the effect Dialogue Journal Writing and
analyze the gain score groups buy using t-test. Samples of the students’ journal entries
were also selected and discussed. All the data were input into the computer, and then
analyzed through the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS17.0). To be more
specific, firstly, descriptive statistics such as frequencies means, and standard deviations
were computed.
Findings
Effect of Dialogue Journal Writing towards Students’ Writing Skill
The result of the research showed that teaching process was insufficient to
elaborate students’ skill on writing English. Teaching process which was conducted by
lecturers consisted four phases namely preparation, pre activity, main activity and post
activity had not gained the aims of teaching English skill on writing yet. 77.20% of
lecturers did not include writing skill on their preparation for teaching. They just
focused on grammar and reading (87%). 77.22% of lecturers used traditional rows of
class seating arrangement. Most English lecturers tended to assess the students’ English
competence through reading test (90%). They rarely paid attention to students’ writing
skills (72%). The implementation of dialogue journal writing gave significant influence
on English writing skill of Islamic students at IAIN Imam Bonjol Padang. It can be seen
from the students’ scores on the following tables below:
Table: 1. Data Description of Pre Test and Post Test of Students’ Writing
Writing Test Students Mean
Standard Deviation t-test
p-value
Pre test
33
52
4.78
3.397
00
Post test
33
81
5.02
The mean scores are 52 for the pretest and 81 for the posttest. A comparison of the
mean scores of the grades between the two tests indicates a gain of 29. The paired t-test
is 3.397, and the p-value is .00 (p < .05), which shows a significant difference. It can be
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concluded that the dialogue journal writing project promoted the students’ writing skill.
The students’ mastery on writing skill components can be seen on the following table.
Table 2. Students’ Mastery on Writing Skill Components
Writing
Skill Students
Mean Score
No Components
Before
After
1
Content
33
14.35
23.25
2
Organization
12.45
17.35
3
Vocabulary
10.35
18.34
4
Language use
12.61
19.35
5
Mechanics
2.30
3.15
Mean score
52.65
81.44
Based on the table above, it can be seen that students’ mastery on writing
components in terms of content, organization, vocabulary, language use, and mechanics
can be improved significantly by using dialogue journal writing for seven weeks. The
mean score of each item on the participants’ posttest is higher than that on t heir pretest
(M = 23.25 > 14.35 for content; M = 17.35 > 12.45 for organization; (M = 18.35 > 10.35
for vocabulary; M = 19.35 > 12.61 for language use; and (M = 3.15 > 2.30 for
mechanics. The mean score before doing writing was 52.65 and 81.44 after treatment
for seven weeks. It means that the students write and lecturer gives responses
intensively towards students’ writing can enhance students to master writing skill well.
Generally, based on the students’ writing pre test, post test, it was found that the
students were able to develop their skill in writing. It could be seen on their result of
writing. In the aspect of the content, the students were able to develop the topic of
writing and their ideas put in the writings. In the aspect of organization, the students
could use cohesive and coherence in their writings. In the aspect of vocabulary, they
were able to use appropriate vocabulary. The aspect of grammar, they were able to use
various verb forms and use them correctly. The last, in the aspect of mechanics, they
were able to use punctuation, spelling, capitals, etc.
The students’ performance on dialogue journal activities fluctuated in each task.
In the first journal writing assignment, almost the students just wrote a few sentences
with incorrect grammar, spelling, and organization of text. However, on the second and
third assignment, average students were able to write better. In a few weeks later,
almost the students did writing with various topics well in all aspects of writing
components.
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Effects of the Dialogue Journal Writing on the Students’ Intrinsic Writing
Motivation
The result of analysis of writing students’ scores on their intrinsic writing
motivation can be seen on the following table.
Table 2. Students’ Intrinsic Writing Motivation
Students’
Students
Mean Standard
t-test
p-value
Motivation in
Deviation
Writing
Before
33
2.17
2.15
3.31
.02
After
33
4.88
10.02
Based on the table above, it can be seen that the students’ intrinsic motivation on
English writing increased significantly after the implementation of the Dialogue Journal
Writing (t = 3.31, p = .02). They have been motivated to write everyday in their diaries.
Most of the students stated that they enjoyed writing after doing writing through
dialogue journal writing. In addition, they will correct their writing as soon as they got
from lecturer and they wanted to keep writing diary in English. Correcting on grammar
makes them be better in writing.
The result of students’ responds of using dialogue journal can be seen on the
following table.
Table 3. Students’ Responds on Dialogue Journal Writing
No
Students’ Responds
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
I like dialogue journals because I can express my ideas easily
I like dialogue journals because I can decide my own English
writing topic
I like dialogue journals because I can focus more on my English
writing content.
I like dialogue journals because my English writing content will not
be criticized.
I like dialogue journals because I know my idea will be respected.
I like dialogue journals because lecturer corrects their grammar
errors.
I like dialogue journals because they help me understand my
thinking better.
I like dialogue journals because they promote my English writing
motivation.
I like dialogue journals because they promote my language ability.
I like dialogue journals because they make English writing more
meaningful.
Mean
Score
3.8
4.3
3.7
4.3
4.4
4.7
4.2
4.3
3.8
4.2
Based on the data on the table above, almost all of the students had agreed and
given positive responses. 76% (3.8) of the students agreed that dialogue journal can
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make them express ideas to write English. 86% (4.3) of the students had strong agreed
that dialogue journal help them to decide the topic. 74% of the students have focused
their English writing content. 86% of the students had strong agreed that their writing
content was not criticized. 88% of the students had known that their ideas would be
respected by the lecturer. 76% of students stated that lecturer keep correcting about
grammar errors. 94% of the students agreed that dialogue journal help them understand
better. 86% of the students had strong motivation to write English after getting
treatment of dialogue journal writing and 74% and 84% of agreed that their English
writing more meaningful. In addition, the result of interview with the students, more
than half of the students confirmed that the dialogue journal was an important tool for
self-understanding and self-growth. It can be concluded that the students’ responses to
all of the items were positive; thus they reacted positively to the Dialogue Journal
writing activities.
DISCUSSIONS
The English integrated teaching process which had been conducted by the
lecturers had not gained the purpose of teaching yet at State Institute for Islamic Studies
Imam Bonjol Padang. Most of English lecturers did not encourage students’ speaking
and writing individually. The weaknesses in instructional teaching techniques can be an
important reason for this problem. The fact showed that teaching traditional methods
and strategies dominated lecturers’ instruction. These include methods such as lecture
(teachers talk and the students listen), passive reading, and independently completing
worksheets. They rarely gave opportunities for students to use English individually.
They stated that they never got content expectation to cover if they asked the students to
do discussion; they lost to control the class; they were difficult to grade the students;
and they did not know what to do in group of the students. Most of the students were
silent during teaching process. They tended to read rather than speak and write.
Related to teaching English process that had been conducted by lecturers was
found that most of them use not to give learners the chance to write about whatever they
want. However, giving the chance for learners to write freely about what they want is
important. Instead of having to follow topics and a style set by the lecturers or
curriculum, they can experiment and play with the language, which allows them to learn
independently and mature as writers both cognitively and linguistically. For this reason,
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teachers must resist the urge to control the students’ writing and avoid the risk of
stunting their growth (Holmes & Moulton, 1997; Larrotta 2008).
Dialogue journal writing is as an innovative way to build the college students to
be better writer. The result of the research showed that dialogue journal writing gave
significant effect to improve students to write English. They have been motivated to
write everyday in their diaries. Most of them stated that they enjoyed writing after doing
writing through dialogue journal writing. In addition, they will correct their writing as
soon as they got from lecturer and they wanted to keep writing diary in English. Their
positive responses to the dialogue journal writing were as a tool for self-understanding.
Moreover, the students felt that writing was meaningful because they were not writing
something dictated by others, which supports the proclamation that humans develop in
knowledge and skills through acting on their natural interests (Ryan & Deci, 2000).
Dialogue journals can motivate language learners to write more in English.
The result of the research has proved that dialogue journal writing is effective to
help poor learners to be better writer. Dialogue journal writing has improved students’
English writing components such as content, organization of text, language use,
vocabulary, and mechanics in writing. Majority of the students have quiet mastered the
component of writing. They are able to develop the topic of writing and their ideas put
in the writings. In the aspect of organization, the students can use cohesive and
coherence in their writings. They are able to use appropriate vocabulary. The aspect of
grammar, they are able to use various verb forms and use them correctly. The last, in the
aspect of mechanics, they are able to use punctuation, spelling, capitals, etc. In addition,
the lecturers’ roles in responding to students’ dialogue journal entries is to model
correct language structure as well as demonstrate more complex language to challenge
the learners to extend themselves. Teachers’ entries can provide input slightly above
learners’ proficiency level to help them improve their language skills (Krashen’s,
1992;Larrotta 2008). Even though dialogue journals are about content, not structure, the
lecturer can give mini-lessons on recurring grammatical errors in students’ journals,
even showing anonymous sentences from journals in class to demonstrate correct usage,
so long as the sentences are unidentifiable. Students can be trained, through paying
attention, to self-correct their grammar mistakes in their dialogue journals.
Related to the implementation of dialogue journal in teaching English for the
students, there are some benefits can be found. First, dialogue journals can provide the
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students to create an interaction similar to speech where the writer continually makes
adjustments in order to be understood perfectly (Linnell 2010). Proponents of using the
dialogue journal in the language classroom view it as an informal written conversation
between the students and the lecturer or teacher (Holmes & Moulton, 1997; Larrotta,
2008).Second, dialogue journals can allow insight into the issues and problems their
students might be dealing with outside class as well as indicate how they are doing in
class. Students appreciate the chance to communicate with the teacher one-on-one
through their journals: it makes them feel that they are being heard, that they have a
place in the class, and that they are known. Third, the dialogue journal provides a
vehicle for shy students to talk (Larrotta 2008). It is not unusual in the language
classroom to see learners struggling to find something to write about an assigned topic
of little relevance to their lives, but when learners can write about what they know, they
find they have a lot more to say. This engagement leads them to grapple with expressing
new and complex ideas in English (Holmes and Moulton 1997; Kim 2005). In addition,
the permission to write freely about whatever they want prevents writer’s block and
reduces fear of writing. Students gain confidence as writers, become autonomous
learners, and are more motivated to express themselves in writing (Vanette and Jurich
1990; Holmes and Moulton 1997; Kim 2005; Uduma 2011). Fourth, Journals are
mainly a place for students to keep an enduring record of what they have learned. Often
it is in the act of writing a response that actual learning takes place, and ideally, this is
how critical thinking develops (Miller 2007). Journal assignments also can be
individualized to the differing needs or levels of the student (Linnell 2010).
According to lecturers who have worked with dialogue journals, there are
multiple student benefits to using them in the English language class. Some of these
benefits are the increased motivation to write, greater fluency .Student appreciates
reading their lecturers’ comments in their dialogue journals, and indeed this enjoyment
motivates them to continue communicating. However, while the teacher’s written
responses are meaningful for the journal writer and therefore read closely and with great
interest, it is important that the teacher be careful not to write more than the student
does; this can overwhelm the student’s voice instead of encouraging it to grow (Young
and Crow 1992). Teacher responses that only ask a lot of questions or just repeat what
the learner says do not promote conversation but suffocate it (Peyton 2000).
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Conclusion and Suggestion
Using dialogue journal writing on English teaching classroom at State Institute
for Islamic Studies Imam Bonjol Padang has given some valuable input for students’
writing skill and intrinsic motivation. The students have been better writer. Some of
these benefits are the increased motivation to write, greater fluency in writing, increased
confidence as writers, and the ability to use writing as a means to communicate and
express complex ideas. Developing a daily habit of writing and finding writing is easier
that learners are becoming more comfortable with the act of writing. It is suggested to
the English lecturers to use dialogue journal writing for developing students’ skill and
motivation to write.
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