Using E-Dialogue Journal to Improve the Students’ Writing Skill

A. Background
The International language that is used by most people in the world is English. In Indonesia, it is taught at school from the Elementary level up to the University as the first foreign language. Nowadays, the present curriculum for English lesson in the English Curriculum 2006 is directed to develop language skills in order the students are able to communicate and also could make discourse in certain level of literacy. Based on the English Curriculum 2006, there are four literacy levels, namely performative, functional, informational, and epistemic. As the Junior High School graduates, they are expected to reach at the functional level. In this case, they are expected to be able to communicate or participate in their creation of text in spoken and written in their daily life. In short, at Junior High School level, learners are expected to learn daily expressions (Depdiknas, 2006).
The purpose of teaching English for Junior High School students is to develop communicative competence in spoken and written form to achieve the literacy level which can be realized through four language skills; listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The Junior High School students are expected to be able to create many kinds of functional text and monolog in the form of procedure, descriptive, recount, narrative, and report (Depdiknas, 2006:278).
Related to learning English, there are four language skills including listening, speaking, reading, and writing which should be mastered by language learners. Writing is placed on the last stage among the four skills. The stage of the skill shows that students have to be familiar with the first three skills. Byrne (1990:4) states that writing is the most difficult activity for most of people, both in mother tongue and in foreign language due to three headings, namely: psychological, linguistic and cognitive problems.
Writing is the act or art of forming letters and characters on paper, wood, stone, or other material, for the purpose of recording the ideas which characters and words express, or of communicating them to others by visible signs (brainyquote:2008). In other words, in writing, a writer communicates his/her ideas by considering a known or unknown reader who will get their ideas and their meanings in the form of correct written text but also the reader who will read the text. As state by Oshima (1998:2) that whenever a writer writes, he/she has to consider the people who will read what she/he has written. By knowing the reader, it will help the writer to communicate clearly and effectively.
According to Byrne (1990:3), there are some difficulties related to writing. Firstly, there is psychological difficulty in which the writer has to decide what information the reader needs and how best to express this. It means that there is no immediate interaction between the writer and the reader. Secondly, there is linguistic difficulty in that the language used in written language is different from that used in speech. In this case, the writer has to know the conventions of written language. Thirdly, there is cognitive difficulty in which that the students have to organize their thought on paper. Sometimes, they lose ideas when they are obliged to write and they do not know what to say.
The reality shows that the majority of students dislike writing. When faced with a writing task, most students will react with negative comments. A teacher who does not try to see the real message behind these comments could easily become discouraged. Eventually, both the teacher and the students will hate writing. To prevent this from happening, the teacher should consider what students actually mean boring, and the possibility that students are actually expressing their insecurity and lack of confidence in completing the task.
From the preliminarily observation then, the researcher concluded that there were two main causes: from teacher and students. Firstly, the teacher still used traditional strategy in which she only demanded the students’ writing language rules. The students were seldom trained to make a better writing by using varied technique. The techniques used are monotonous. The teacher asked the students to write in a certain topic. The time given was limited. They sometimes lost their ideas, so they could not continue their writing. They also thought that time for writing was limited. Because of these they got difficulties in writing and the result of their writing were still far from what were expected.
This problem appeared at the students of SMP Negeri 2 Sungguminasa where the writing skill of the students was still low especially in writing narrative. Some techniques and approaches have been employed in teaching writing, nevertheless it was still less to give interest to the students in teaching writing.
The students would usually enjoy new things, especially with the computer, where they can explore a lot of things with it. Students are very comfortable with computers and are very receptive to any learning activities that involve computers (Warschauer,1996). Dialogue journal writing is one of the activities in writing that can provide students with the opportunity to explore and experiment with language. The emergence of microcomputer technology has given endless and remarkable enhancement in language teaching instruction. By using E-dialogue journals, the teacher can engage in multifaceted interactions with her students. Ideas, feelings and concerns can be shared in a private way.
Based on the explanation above the researcher is interested in carrying out research about writing entitled “Using E-Dialogue Journal to Improve the Students’ Writing Skill”.
B. Problem Statement
Regarding to the title of the research and explanation on the background above, the writer formulates a question as follows:
“Does the E-Dialogue Journal improve the students’ narrative writing skill?”
C. Objective of the Research
The aim of conducting of this research is at finding out whether using E-Dialogue Journal is able to improve the skill of the students of SMP Negeri 2 Sungguminasa to write narrative.

D. Significance of the Research
This research attempts to address the following matters to be useful strategy to increase the teachers’ knowledge of English and share experiences in improving the students’ skill to write narrative English using E-Dialogue Journal, encourage the teachers’ colleagues in doing research in improving their teaching as the professional practices, and also give any contribution to the general public in increasing knowledge and get any reflective for being perfection.
This research not only will increase the students’ knowledge in language skill but also to develop the Information Technology and Communication knowledge for them.
E. Scope of the Research
This research limited to the teaching of English at ninth grade special class IX-1 SMP Negeri 2 Sungguminasa using E-Dialogue Journal to improve students’ skill to write Narrative English. The writer will focus attention on improving the students’ skill in writing Narrative through E-Dialogue Journal by using Facebook.