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Collaborative Technique in Teaching Writing Descriptive Text

Collaborative technique is actually derived from a broad term of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) approach. The communicative language teaching is an umbrella term used for a variety of educational approaches involving joint intellectual effort by students, or students and teachers together. The collaborative technique is under heading of CLT approach because this technique absorbs the characteristic of the approach. In this technique, students usually work in groups of two or more, mutually searching for understanding, solutions, or meanings, or creating a product (Smith & MacGregor, 2008).Collaborative which is also called “collaboration” is the process of working with others on writing or other projects (Glencoe, 2001) and it is an essential component of contextual teaching and learning (Johnson, 2002). Freeman in Nunan (1992) terms collaboration as constructing shared understanding in a second language classroom. The students in the collaborative conditions were significantly more pleased with their writing than subjects who worked independently. In this case, it is true that collaborative technique can be a solution in motivating students in writing process as well as improving their writing proficiency.
The collaborative technique is basically group working or cooperative technique to some extent. All these three techniques promote students to work in group, not individual. In group working technique, teacher puts the students in group. According to Gebhard (2000), the goal of group working is to provide lots of chances for students to use English to communicate meaning, such collaboration on producing a piece of paper. Tompkins and Hoskinson (1995) explained that students meet in writing group to share their descriptive composition with classmates. Meanwhile, cooperative technique means that the teacher and students work together to pursue goals and objective of teaching and learning (Brown, 2001). Cooperative learning is a set of processes which help people interact together in order to accomplish a specific goal or develop an end product.
In collaborative technique, the final writing product is the responsible of group not individual. Besides, collaborative technique is more students centered. Collaborative learning makes possible for the students to discover personal strengths and weaknesses, learns to respect others, listen with an open mind, and build consensus (Johnson, 2002).
The steps to practice teaching descriptive text by using collaborative technique proposed by Efendi (2009): (1) The students are grouped. The members of groups can vary such as in pairs, small groups, or large groups. Grouping is used to reduce the students’ anxiety in doing activities in writing class; (2) The students in groups are assigned to complete the incomplete model of texts provided by teacher; (3) The teacher assigns the students in group to discuss the determined writing tasks and asks them to take notes individually; (4) The teacher promotes the students in group to work together in accomplishing the writing task; (5) The students are encouraged to help one another in order to back up members of the group who are possibly weak in the writing task; and (6) The teacher assigns the students to do the writing task individually by considering the result of discussion as valuable input for composing individual work.

Brown, H. D. 2001. Teaching by Principle: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy. San Francisco: Addison Wesley Longman.
Efendi, M. 2009. Using Collaborative Technique to Improve the Ability of Students at MTsN Pulosari Tulungagung in Writing Descriptive Text. Unpublished Thesis: State University of Malang.
Gebhard, J. G. 2000. Teaching English as a Foreign or Second Language. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press.
Johnson, E. B. 2002. Contextual Teaching and Learning. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.
Nunan, D. 1992. Collaborative Language Learning and Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Smith, B.L. & MacGregor, J.T. 1992. What is Collaborative Learning?. Pennsylvania: The National Center on Post Secondary Teaching, Learning, and Assessment at Pennsylvania State University.
Tompkins, G. E. & Hoskisson, K. 1995. Language Arts: Content and Teaching Strategies. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.


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