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Concept Mapping in Teaching Writing Descriptive Text

Cocept mapping was developed in the 1960s by Joseph Novak of Stanford University. In early 1970s, Tony Buzan, the Head of Brain Foundation, developed it as a strategy to assist students in taking notes more effectively (Wycoff, 1991). Later on, concept mapping, also known as semantic mapping, clustering, or webbing, has gradually been developed as one of the effective techniques in generating ideas for writing.
Relating to the teaching of writing descriptive text, it is believed that the use of concept mapping enhances the students to improve their ability in writing. Most people think to search for ideas before they start the actual writing. Novak & Canas (2006) state that concept mapping is graphical tool for organizing and represnting knowledge. It includes concepts, usually enclosed in circles or boxes of some type, and relationships between concepts indicated by a connecting line linking two concepts.
Axelrod, et.al (1988) state that mapping involves making a visual record of invention and inquiry. The students make use of mapping to help them think about a topic. The map represents ideas and details. Mapping can be very useful because it visually shows the students’ thinking and planning. Mapping is one of techniques for gathering ideas. It is very helpful when the students want to narrow their topic (Simon & Schuster, 1987). Additionally, mind mapping is also called webbing which is much like brainstorming. But, it is more visual and linear. Many students find that mapping enables them to think more creatively and associates ideas more easily. In other words, concept mapping enhances the students to formulate topic for descriptive text either topic for identification paragraph or description paragraphs. Vacca & Vacca (1998) maintains that concept mapping helps the students generate inspiration for writing, identify important ideas, and show how ideas fit together.
Concept mapping is a type of writing plans which enable to overcome restrictions of linear list. By mapping out, ideas can be explicitly linked. Concept mapping is an orderly method of concept planning. In this way, concept mapping helps the students to organize their ideas from identfication to description paragraphs orderly. Sketching a central image to illustrate the main topic and then draw the main themes in branches can create a mind map. On each branch, a key word or phrase is written and the less central ideas or topics are connected to the main ones by smaller branches. In addition, mind map as a technique to generate and structure ideas for writing descriptive text helps students achieve higher level of creativity, clearer organization of thoughts, increase concentration, and more concise communications. A concept mapping lets the students rapidly produce an almost infinite number of ideas, and at the same time organize them by placing each idea next to what it is related.
Once the ideas are mapped, it will help in the conceptualization of the descriptive text. It also helps the students understand the structuring of the information needed to develop a descriptive text. With appropriate modeling, explanation, and experience, the students soon understand what a concept mapping is and how it works. They can begin to develop a concept map by themselves and write a descriptive text on the basis of organized idea in it. As with all techniques, concept mapping should not be overused. The teacher should not have their students make overly detailed and multi-leveled concept map that result only in a confusing visual display.

Axelrod. Rise, B. & Charles, R. C. 1988. The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Novak, J. D. & Canas, A. J. 2006. The Theory Underlining Concept Maps and How to Construct Them. http://www.ihmc.us, retrieved on December, 2010
Simon & Schuster. 1987. Handbook for Writers. New York: Lynn Quitman Troyka.
Vacca, R. T. & Vacca, J. L. 1998. Content Area Reading: Literacy and Learning Across the Curriculum. Addison-Wesley Educational Publisher.
Wycoff, J. 1991. Menjadi Super Kreatif Melalui Metode Pemetaan Pikiran. Terjemahan oleh Rina S. Marzuki. 2002. Bandung: Mizan Pustaka.


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