Teaching English means that teach the students not only how to speak, how to read, how to listen, but also how to write. Also, talking about English means talking about how to communicate in English. Communication not only can be done in spoken but also in written. Most of students consider that writing is the hardest skill to master, because the ability to write in foreign language is more complicated than the ability to speak, read, or listen. It is hard to teach students how to write because it involves many components such as structure, vocabulary, punctuation, and spelling. In writing, we will also find many kinds of texts, one of them is descriptive text. People consider that descriptive text is an easy material, but in contrast, it is difficult because we have to write about the thing that is exist and the thing that does not exist, something that can not be seen, felt, smelt, or even touched. Therefore, the writer is so interested to find whether students will write a descriptive text better by looking or even touching pictures than only imagining it.
Communication not only can be done in spoken but also in written. It is not an easy job to do because the writer has to be able to pour the idea as good as possible to what will they write. It is done to convey the message to the reader clearly. That is why writing is considered as the most difficult skill to learn.
In their book entitled “Writer’s Guide and Index to English”, Wilma R. Ebbit and David R. Ebbit stated that “writing is the act of joining words into sentences on paper”. It means that writing is not just exercising the fingers but it is also necessarily the act of finding words to express definite, fully formed ideas. Writing activity is done to find out what are thinking, what is looking, and what it mean.
A paragraph is a group of related sentences that expands a statement by explaining it, illustrating it, or proving it. It is not easy in making a good paragraph because we have to apply many components into the paragraph we make.
Barnet & Stubb’s in their book entitled Practical Guide to Writing stated that it is commonly said that a paragraph has components itself:
Unity makes one point or it indicates where one unit of a topic begins and ends. The idea developed in each paragraph often appears, briefly stated as a topic sentence. Topic sentences are most useful and are therefore especially common in essays that offer arguments. They are much less common because they are less useful in narrative and descriptive essays.
Organization means that the point or unit is developed according to some patterns. A paragraph needs more than a unified point. It needs a reasonable organization or sequence. Exactly how the parts of a paragraph will fit together depends on what the paragraph is doing. If it is describing a place, it may move from general view to significant details or from some immediately striking details to some less obvious but perhaps more important one. If a paragraph is classifying (dividing a subject into its parts) it may begin by enumerating the parts and go on to study each in climactic order.
Among the common methods of organizing a paragraph are:
1. General to particular (topic sentence usually at the beginning)
2. Particular to general (topic sentence usually at the end)
3. Enumeration of parts or details (in climactic order)
4. Question and answer
5. Cause and effect
It is not enough to write unified and organized paragraphs. The unity and organization must be coherent. That is sufficiently clear so that the reader can follow the train of thought. Coherence is achieved largely by means of transitions and repetition.
C. The study of Descriptive Paragraph
Descriptive paragraph is a paragraph which consists of three important qualities such as dominant impression, mood, and logical development. It is used to give vivid details of an object either it is person, place, or thing. Descriptive paragraphs include details that appeal to the five senses: sight, taste, touch, smell, and hearing. In a descriptive paragraph, the writer must convey information that appeals to all the senses, in order to give the best possible description to the reader. There are five ways to create possible description:
a. Start with what the reader can see. Since sight is the most helpful sense, any good descriptive paragraph must first discuss what the writer wants the reader to visualize. Using strong adjectives to illustrate your scene, moment, experience or item to the reader will help provide a visual picture in your reader's mind.
b. Describe smells and tastes. Think about how you can describe the topic, scene, or moment to the reader in terms of how it smells and tastes. The best descriptive paragraphs use a whole slew of adjectives that make the reader feel as if they were actually experiencing the thing you're describing, and not just reading about it. Include a sentence or two about how your topic smells and use a few poignant adjectives to relay the smell of it to the reader. "It tastes good" is not going to provide a specific experience for your reader. However, "It tastes like Grandma's apple pie when it's fresh and still bubbling around the edges - crunchy, flavorful and sweet" helps describe the distinct flavor of your item. Smell and taste should provide the most helpful descriptions about your item, so try to make these most effective.
c. Say how the moment or item feels. As you continue writing your paragraph, write a sentence or two about how the experience feels. What does it remind you of as you imagine yourself running your hand along its surface, or the tingling feeling you feel run down your back? How are you reacting to the moment? Again, use descriptive adjectives to describe how the moment feels. Avoid using general statements like "it feels nice", which isn't descriptive at all. Opt for specific, definitive examples that relay the feeling of something to the reader.
d. Mention the sounds of the moment. What can you hear? Is there a deafening silence? If there is a buzzing sound, avoid simply saying "All of a sudden I heard a loud buzzing sound", rather "I jerked as all of the sudden I heard an indefinable buzzing sound, so loud I put my hands over my ears. I assumed it was the deafening fire alarm..." and the reader would be able to relate with the "fire alarm" description, as most people have experienced the startling noise of a fire alarm.
e. Include some other literary components. Using other effective writing techniques to top off your paragraph will make it all that more professional. If you include all these elements in your paragraph, your reader will be able to fully experience and appreciate your writing.
In a descriptive paragraph, the writer must convey information that appeals to all the senses - touch, taste, sight, smell and sound - in order to give the best possible description to the reader. This is easily accomplished by following these descriptive paragraph writing tips. Descriptive writing paints a picture in words that shows – not tells – what a person, place or thing is like. The purpose of descriptive writing is to paint a picture with words for the reader.
The basic of all good description is close observation. It needs a store of particulars to draw on. If the purpose is to picture an object, place, or person as any careful observer would see it, the details we choose will supply specific information about size, shape, weight, and color. If the purpose is to have audience experience the subject as we have experienced it, we might select different details or we might use the same details but treat them differently, emphasizing some, subordinating others, and choosing modifying words and phrases that convey mood, attitude, or judgment.
D. Definition of Picture
In a teaching process, teacher needs such thing to support fluency of the teaching learning process itself. Teaching is not only how to transfer knowledge but also how to make the students more understand. So, any media such as picture is very helpful to support the teaching learning process in a class.
According to http://www.thefreedictionary.com/picture, picture is a visual representation or image painted, drawn, photograph, or otherwise rendered on a flat surface. A picture can also be defined as a visual representation of something such as a person, scene, produced on a surface, as in a photograph and painting. Picture as reflection thing is not only provides an important aids to interpreting primer and first-reader stories, but they also contribute to development of language ability and serve to widen experience background. Pictures can be used to give clues to class records.
Now, the point is that picture can be very helpful in a teaching learning process because it supports the material that teacher give. It also enables the teacher to teach the material to the students.
E. The using of Picture in Writing a Descriptive Paragraph
In running a learning process, a teacher is required to be able to create an exciting and educating learning process. Besides, a teacher also must have responsibility in creating a good learning environment. One of the ways is by creating or choosing appropriate learning media.
The choosing of the appropriate learning media will be very much helpful for the students to reach the aim of learning. It means that not all of medias can help the realization of the aim of learning, it will happen when the media used by teacher is not appropriate with the need. Sometimes, teacher needs media in teaching process but sometimes not depends on the material given. In this case, in writing a descriptive paragraph, media such as picture is very helpful.
Look at the example of descriptive paragraph below:
This is my classroom. It is a comfortable classroom. My friend and I are sitting at our desks. We are learning English. Our teacher is Miss Maya. She is a good teacher. Now, she is reading a book. My friends and I are listening to her carefully. Then, we write what she says with our pen. The teacher’s desk is in the left corner in front of the class. It is covered with a table cloth and vase with flowers on it. The blackboard with a box of chalk is hung in the wall in front of the class. A map of Indonesia is in the left wall next to the picture. There are also dustbin and a broom in the left corner in back of the class. We clean our classroom everyday before the class begins.
The descriptive paragraph above can be written by looking at the picture. It can enable to write a descriptive paragraph as good as possible.
Descriptive paragraph paints a picture in words that shows not tells what a person, place or thing is like. The purpose of descriptive paragraph is to paint a picture with words for the reader. Teacher will use a variety of strategies to describe the elements of descriptive paragraph. It is best for all strategies to be modeled a few times and for the information to be displayed in the class.
Some of these ways will be possible to do to prove whether a picture can be very helpful or not. Students close their eyes as the teacher reads a short passage for students to visualize. Students open their eyes without talking, draw a picture using as much detail as possible, and add a few words if necessary. Next, the teacher will read a well written descriptive passage and students are to do the same exercise as above.
After the visualization process, teacher will begin a discussion about descriptive paragraph and how a good description allows readers to visualize a picture in their heads. Teacher will compare the different and show how the less descriptive passage did not give the students enough details to create a good picture in their minds, while the other passage did allow them to create a vivid picture in their minds.
The data were gained from some sources like book and internet. The sources gained are absolutely related to the topic or themes. The data then were explored and discussed as good as possible.
Descriptive paragraph is thus a culmination of the process of creating a visual image with the help of words and senses. It is not easy create a picture in mind by using words. We need such kind of pictures to enable in making a descriptive paragraph. Descriptive text is to give the brief explanation from the object clearly about person, place or things as if the reader can visualize and feel it. It usually uses the present tense. Descriptive text has two generic structures, they are identification and description. Identification is to identify phenomenon to be describe. Meanwhile description is to describe parts, qualities and characteristic.
There are three kinds of descriptive writing according to George and Julia (1980: 379), there are three kinds of descriptive writing. They are describing people, place and units of time.
It usually describes people who are interesting to read. Their appearance is interesting especially when describes personality. Character may be described directly or indirectly. In direct description, the writer tells how the person looks like and what the person is like. In indirect description, the character is revealed through what he or she does, thinks, or says in certain situations. The text below is one of the examples from describing people.
Agnes Monica is an Indonesian pop music singer, dancer, and actress. She is a beautiful and attractive girl. She has straight and long hair. She is tall and slim girl. Beside that she also has sharp nose and skin white. She has a beautiful smile and friendly to everyone. Most people like her, because she has a good characteristic of voice when she is singing. She always looks good performance when she is on the stage. Therefore, she becomes a trendsetter for young people.
Moreover, for describing places; how places look, smell and sound is important. The text below is an example from describing place.
My school is located in a suburban area near Mahakam Street. It is near the greatest landmark. It is one of the best schools in our town. My school is not small at all. The library is in front of the school building. It has a cozy playground at the back and 27 large classrooms to study. There is a large basketball field in the middle. There are two toilets, one for male and the other for females. And of course, it has 3 laboratories for chemistry, biology, and physics. The school building consists of two-stair-classroom, upper classrooms and lower classrooms. The canteen is the students’ most favorite place.
• Units of time
Description of units of time is often used to determine mood. It is full of descriptions of seasons, days, or times of day. The description of units of time set a certain mood, or emotional characteristic. The text below is an example from describing units of time.
It was a fine autumnal day, the sky was clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery which we always associate with abundance. The forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the tendered kind had been nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes of oranges, purple, and scarlet. Streaming files of wild ducks began to make their appearance high in the air; the bark of the squirrel might be heard from the groves of beech and hickory nuts, and the pensive whistle of the quail at intervals from neighboring stubble – field.
Based on the data finding and analysis, it can be concluded that the using of picture in writing a descriptive paragraph is very useful. It can also improve student’s ability in writing a descriptive paragraph. Using picture can create an interesting atmosphere in the language learning process.
a. In every language learning process the teacher is supposed to be able to choose an appropriate learning media so that it can create an active, creative, effective, interesting, and exciting atmosphere in the teaching learning process.
b. Picture is one of the media which can be found everywhere. It is easy to find is out, it can be borrowed or even can be created by the students. So, English teacher should use it particularly in a process of descriptive text learning.
Barnet Sylvan. 1983. Practical Guide to Writing. New York: Little Brown and Company
Ebbitt, Wilma R., and Ebbitt, David R. 1939. Writer’s Guide and Index to English. New York: Scott Foresman and Company.
George E and Julia M. Burks. 1980. Let’s Write English. New York: Litton Educational Publishing, Inc.
Harris, David P. 1979. Testing English as a second language. Bombay: TMH Publishing Company Ltd. Wishon.
Segal, Margaret Keenan and Pavlik, Cheryl. 1990. Interactions II: A Writing Process Book. Singapore: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company.
Warren, Thomas L. 1985. Technical Writing: purpose, Process, and Form. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company.
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/picture. Accessed in December 2009.