English is an international language. Indonesian students learn English as foreign language. English is introduced for the first time for students in junior high school before 1994. They learnt English from the very beginning level, such as the introduction of vocabularies, simple grammar, etc. Since the need for mastering English becomes higher every time, nowadays, the English subject is given from the elementary school to senior high school levels, even from the first grade students of elementaryschool.
Teaching English to Young Learner (TEYL) means teaching children in the first-grade of elementary school. TEYL is considered as an important way to develop children English skill in the future. The teachers need special treatments to young learner because sometimes theyfeel enthusiastic,butsometimestheyalsodonot careaboutanything. That is why the teacher should introduce children in learning English through attractive method in order to raise their motivation and enthusiasm inlearning English. One of them isby developing interactive English material that is designing an English computer game to make childreninterestedinlearningEnglish. The advancement of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) play a significant role in learning process. Teaching English without supported by interactive material, is considered as left behind. One kind of interactive material in teaching English is by designing an English computer game. Basically, children like learning trough playing. An English computer game is software that is designed for play and fun in learning English. By playing it, children are expected to be more interested in learning English. They may not be aware that they are even learning English. In their minds they are simply playing a game. Therefore, an English computer game as a part of technology can beusedtoraisethecihildrenenthusiasminlearningEnglish. Teaching English to Young Learner (TEYL) can use English computer game as an interactive material for students. By playing game, student learn about vocabularies that are played in the game.
Since the purpose of teaching English in elementary school level is to introduce English as an International language to students, so the most important thing for teacher in TEYL is introduce vocabularies first to the students. Vocabularies are the main aspect of language. Slatterly and Willis (2001) proposed the characteristics of young learners under seven years old in learningvocabularies; a. They acquire through hearing and experiencing lots of English, in muchthesamewaytheyacquirefirstlanguage. b. They learn things through playing; that are not consciously trying to learnnewwordsorphrases. c. They love playing with language sounds, imitating, and making funny noises. d. They are not able to read and write in L1; important to recycle languagethroughtalkandplay. e. Their grammar will develop gradually on its own when exposed to lotsEnglishincontext. Some studies agree that technology can be incorporated into Teaching English to Young Learner. Deng (2006) observed 45 students and carried out a four months experiment by teaching subjects in a traditional way duringthe first twomonthsand then teaching studentsvia games in the last two months. The results of the experiment between game teaching and non-game teaching indicate that it is beneficial to use gamestopromotelanguageproficiencyandvocabularyacquisition. Besides, Brian A Briggs (2010) conducted the study about the use of technology to increase word recognition ability to kindergartens. The treatment group used digital cameras to define the environment around them, while the control group had no exposure to the technology.
The result showed that in the control group scored higher in word recognition retention by at least 60% after four weeks of the study. He suggested that the use of technology throughout the curriculum would be a benefit for children inlearning English.Of course, the result of his studyproved that Teaching English to Young Learner through technology can motivate studentsinlearningEnglish. In this present research, I focus to compare the research conducted by Deng (2006) and Brian A Brigg (2010) in some aspects. The first aspect, Deng (2006) observed some students who taught by traditional way and those who taught by game in learning English but he did not use computer game, while Brian A Briggs (2010) conducted the research to some students who taught English used technology, that was digital camera. In this research, however, I only focus to apply computer game as interacting material in Teaching English to Young Learner. The second aspect as the novelty aspect, I focus to create English computer game as interactive material in Teaching English to Young Learner. I also use Research and Development (R&D) as the methodology in creating English computer game as interactive material in Teaching English to Young Learner, especially to the first grade of elementary students. A computer game is software that is designed for play and fun. The game is constructed with certain rules and instruction to achieve specific goals usually through several levels. In facts, people or children spend hours to play and finish a computer game. It indicates that computer game is very engaging and attractive. Teachers can use this chance to teach vocabulary to students.
Vocabulary is important aspect in learning English. According to Cameron (2010:72), vocabulary is central to the learning of a foreign language at primary level. In addition, David Nunan (1991:118) stated that the development of rich vocabulary is an important element in the acquisition of a second language, include young learners. Based on the statements before, it is implied that vocabulary is one of the language skill elements that has an important role for young learners in learning languages.
Teachers should teach students how to use vocabulary to convey their ideas, teaching, and knowledge. In general, teaching vocabulary especially for young learners is not easy. Thus, teachers need morecreativityinteachingvocabularytoyounglearners. As mentioned above, the use of English computer game can encourage students to enrich their vocabularies. They can learn through play. English computer game is considered as an interactive material for teaching vocabularies to the first-grade students of elementary school. When it is used appropriately, it can be a very valuable resource in TeachingEnglishtoYoungLearner(TEYL).