English is like a window to the world because by English we can learn about the world and we can get more information from the world. If we want to be a knowledgeable people, English is important to be learned. According to Genc & Bada (2010) English has an important role in the world as an international language. English is increasingly recognized as, undoubtedly, the most important language to learn by the international community (p. 145).
In Indonesia, English is used as a foreign language, English is the subject learned by the students in formal or non-formal education. It starts from primary school and up to university. Aryanika (2016) states that learning English in Indonesia becomes a huge challenge for English teachers and students because it has a different structure, pronunciations, and others (p. 216). However, all languages have the same four skills to master. These four skills become the basic components in mastering language communication. Therefore, the primary aim of teaching and learning English is the students can communicate with other whether in spoken or written form using the language they have been learned. Juniar (2016) states that one of the purposes of teaching English is to develop the ability in communicating with others. Learning English is so important because nowadays many Indonesian students have the interest to go abroad whether to join events or just for holiday. It is also important for the students to learn English better, they need motivation in order to increase their interest to learn language skills, especially in English (p. 65).
English teaching aims at mastering the four basic skills of language, they are listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students are expected to master these four skills in order to be able to use English communicatively. Writing is one of the four skills in English which should be mastered.
Writing is one of the most important skills in learning a new language. It is a productive skill (Sapkota, 2012, p. 70). Writing is a significant skill in language production. Its significance increases when it comes to writing in the English language which is extensively used for global mediation of knowledge, and the performance in language development is subject to improvement in writing skills (Fareed, Ashraf & Bilal, 2016, p. 81).
In writing, the aspects include the content, grammar, organization, vocabulary, and mechanics (Nik et al,.2010, p. 8). Those aspects are important to master in order to be able to produce good writing. Not only the aspects above but also interest is needed if the students want to start writing.
Huy (2015) states that writing also is an essential tool to support other skills. If a student has good writing ability, they can speak and read the text more effectively (p. 53). Although writing is an essential skill, many students are not interested in it. According to Caroll (2005) many students were never required to learn proper spelling or grammar. These poor students come to think that “English” and “writing” are nothing without spelling and grammar (p. 1). In addition, they are lazy to write because they think that it is very difficult to keep the objectivity because they can’t write well and have negative attitudes toward writing instruction.
Since writing is an important aspect for the students to be mastered, teachers should choose an appropriate approach in teaching writing. To make students interesting in writing, teachers need to present material in an interesting way. For example such as learning descriptive writing. According to Janako (2014) Learning to write descriptive needs students’ creativity because they have to develop objects by their sense in to a written language (p.11). Besides that, the factors which can influence writing ability are motivation and experience. Students need motivation and experience which can affect their interest for writing.
Lipstein and Renninger (2007) explain that:
Students made it clear that if a writing experience is to help them develop a deeper interest for writing, it must feel like an opportunity that meets their wants and needs. If a teacher tries only to tell students what they need to hear, students shut down because they are not ready to work with this kind of feedback. If a teacher focuses only on what students want to hear, it is similarly unproductive while these students may enjoy having their desires catered to, without the kind of feedback they need, they are not likely to grow as writers. (p. 82)
The writing skill difficulties are one of the most significant problems that affect not only native English speakers, but also hundreds of students that are learning English as a second or foreign language around the world. The fact that the latter do not have an interest in the composition field leads them to be poor writers, have low scores in their courses, increase the errors in their homework, write run-on sentences and create incoherent paragraphs (Jimenez et al., 2013; and Muslim, 2014).
Personality characteristic like interest also plays an important role in learning and achievement (Harackiewicz & Hulleman, 2009, p. 43). Interest as a motivational variable refers to the psychological state of engaging or the predisposition to reengage with particular classes of objects, events, or ideas over time. Here, these classes of objects, events, or ideas are termed content (Hidi & Reninnger, 2006, p. 112)
Writing interest and writing achievement have a correlation. According to Lipstein and Renninger (2007) interest for writing affects the ways that students approach and the results they achieve. Research on writing and motivation indicates that students who have an interest for writing are more likely to set effective goals, make use of helpful strategies, and seek feedback as they work with writing tasks (p. 79) . Students with an interest for writing are also more likely to develop a sophisticated understanding of what writing is and the possibilities that it can afford. In conclusion, interest for writing is associated with the behaviors that teachers most value in students’ writing.
Students’ interest is needed on English skill especially for writing because if the students have the interesting in writing, it can be the benefit to them because writing will bring many benefits for us. According to Huy, (2015) to students, good at writing will bring many benefits for them. Firstly, writing is a good way to help develop their ability to use vocabulary and grammar, increasing their ability to use language. Secondly, writing is an essential tool to support other skills. If a student has good writing ability, they can speak and read the text more effectively. Thirdly, writing is a way to approach modern information technology as well as human knowledge. Otherwise, it is necessary to master writing skill because it can help people have a well prepared when finding a job or attending English courses. With those benefits, writing is really very important to every student. (p. 53)
Based on the problems above, I choose the fifth-semester students’ in English education program because they already have learned about writing exercises from the first till fourth semester. the researcher also did informal interviews wtih some EFL students of UIN Raden Fatah about their difficulties in writing. From the interview, the researcher got information that the writing proccess is difficult for them. Some of the difficulties are getting idea, coherence, cohesion and grammar mastery.
There are several studies conducted by some researchers related to students’ writing interests and students writing achievement. One of them is the one conducted by Magdalena (2016) who investigated the correlations among language learning strategies, writing interest and paragraph writing achievement of the sixth-semester students of the english education study program of STKIP Muhammadiyah Pagaralam. This study showed there was a significant correlation between writing interest and writing paragraph achievement.
The study conducted by Puspita (2013) who investigated the influence of RAFT strategy and writing interest on student’s descriptive writing achievement for eight grade students of SMP Negeri 7 OKU found that the eight grade students of SMP Negeri 7 OKU have a different level in writing interest. It means that there was no significant effect of RAFT strategy and writing interest to the students writing achievement.
According to the explanations and the result of the studies by many experts and other researchers, I am interested to finding out the investigation link between students’ writing interest and descriptive writing achievement at the state Islamic university in south Sumatera.
1.2 Problem(s) of the study
Based on preceding explanation, the researcher want to know some of the problems as follows :
- Is there any significant correlation between writing interest and descriptive writing achievement of the fifth-semester students of the English Education Study Program of UIN Raden Fatah Palembang?
- Does writing interest significantly influence the descriptive writing achievement of the fifth-semester students of the English Education Study Program of UIN Raden Fatah Palembang?
1.3 Objectives of the study
In accordance with the problems above, the objectives of this study are :
1. To find out whether there is significant correlation between writing interest and writing achievement of the fifth-semester students of the English Education Study Program of UIN Raden Fatah Palembang.
2. To know whether or not writing interest significantly influence descriptive writing achievement of the fifth-semester students of the English Education Study Program of UIN Raden Fatah Palembang.
1.4 Significance of the study
It is hope this study will give some information to the development of language teaching and learning, especially understanding students’ writing interest related to their writing descriptive achievement.
To be successful, EFL learners need to be capable of finding a context in which their potential strengths come to the fore and their weaknesses are diminished. Knowing about how their interest in writing, the students themselves would also know how to improve themselves most efficiently.
Therefore, the study hopefully can be beneficial for lecturers, especially those who teach writing courses. To other researchers, it is hope this study can give a basic consideration and basic information to do further investigation.