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Concept Mapping as a Strategy in Teaching Reading Descriptive Text

Buehl (2001:41) argues that concept mapping is a technique that allows the students to comprehend the relationship between ideas by creating a visual map of the content. It allows the students to see the connection between ideas that they already have (which can help students organize ideas), to organize ideas in logical but not rigid structure that allows future information or viewpoints to be included. Dolehanty (2008) argues that concept mapping would serve as a strategy for improving comprehension of a particular piece of text. In this way, the concept mapping as strategy for reading comprehension can assist the students to comprehend a descriptive text.
The use of concept mapping in teaching reading really help the teacher in conveying the decriptive text and making easier for the students in comprehending it. Concept mapping uses a visual chart so that the students can see vividly the charts. In addition, the use of the concept mapping in the field of the comprehension of a descriptive text is based on the theory of the multiple intelligences (Gardner, 2004 in Vakilifard and Armand, 2010), and based on the fact that a map could offer, as a possible alternative, a secondary path towards the comprehension of the same content. Therefore, concept mapping is included as meaningful learning.
Novak, et al (2008) says that they believe one of the reasons concept mapping is so powerful for the facilitation of meaningful learning is that it serves as a kind of template or scaffold to help to organize knowledge and to structure it, even though the structure must be built up piece by piece with small units of interacting concept and propositional rameworks. Thus the map makes it possible to memorize, re-use and retrieve information more easily in the long run, allowing the representation of ideas, of the relationships between these ideas, and of the way in which the reader perceives these interrelationships.
It is a must for the teacher to present the materials clearly and attractively. In concept mapping, the concept is the main point to attract the students focusing on the materials. Novak (2008) states that the concept should be in a hierarchical fashion with the most inclusive, most general concepts at the top of the map and the more specific, less general concepts arranged hierarchically below. It means the teacher should consider the materials and present them by seeing the context. He adss further more it is best to construct concept maps with reference to some particular question to answer or some situation or event to understand through the organization of knowledge in the form of a concept map.
The teacher can give an example first to the students by making cirle as an area on the whiteboard. It can start from a problem, a particular question that one is trying to understand, facts or ideas. The next step is to construct a preliminary concept map. Extending out from the center, lines are drawn which link secondary facts or ideas, which may also be in circles.  The web then extends as words and ideas are added.  The result is a visual or graphic representation of the simple description of the text.
Kaufman (2009) states that mindmapping or concept mapping is a useful technique to use while reading, since the non-linear format allows the students to view the entirety of your notes at a glance, then easily site new information in the appropriate branch or make connections between ideas. It is also a useful technique when solving problems or planning projects: start with a question or project description, then capture all ideas or necessary tasks in the appropriate branches.
Buehl (2001:42) specifies the useful of concept mapping for the students from elementary through secondary levels. The advantages are as follows, (1) students expend their understandings of key vocabulary and concepts beyond simple definitions; (2) students construct a visual representation of a concept’s definition that helps them in remembering; and (3) students are encouraged to integrate their background knowledge into definition.

References
Buehl, D. 2001. Classroom Strategies for Interactive Learning. Madison: International Reading Association.
Dolehanty, C. 2008. Concept Mapping and Reading Comprehension. Retrieved February 25, 2010, from: https://els.earlham.edu/dimicre/files/30/150/CherieD 2008.pdf.
Kaufman, Josh. 2009. 3 Simple Techniques to Optimize Your Reading Comprehension and Retention. Retrieved April 1, 2010, from: http://personalmba.com/3-simple-techniques-to-optimize-your-reading-comprehension-and-retention/
Novak, Joseph D. and Canas, Alberto J. 2006. The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct and Use Them. Retrieved February 18, 2010, from: http://cmap.ihmc.us/Publications/ResearchPapers/TheoryUnderlyingConceptMaps.pdf.
Vakilifard, A. and Armand, F.2006. The Effects of ‘Concept Mapping’ on Second Language Learners’ Comprehension of Informative Text. Retrieved February 26, 2010, from: http://cmc.ihmc.us/cmc2006Papers/cmc2006-p79.pdf.

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