Teaching Descriptive Writing Using Realia as Media in Learning Activities

Malang, 27 June 2013

Khafidhotun Nadliroh


Writing is one of four language skills which are speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Every learner may want to be able to write well in English. By having writing ability, the learners can share information, thoughts, experiences or ideas to other people. According to Ariyanti (2010:91), writing is an important skill in taking, retaining, and expressing information. In addition, “writing is an important part of language teaching as it also functions as an essential tool for learning in which students improve their knowledge of the language elements in real use” (Taselin, 2010:104). From the explanation, writing is an important skill to be learned by the students because it has important roles in the learning activities.

In a writing activity, the students must be able to write some text types. One of text types is descriptive text. According to Leksono (2009:80), descriptive text is fun and it makes students’ writing more interesting to readers because the students use their words to help readers “see” or to visualize of people, places, or things. It means that by using descriptive text, the readers can create their own pictures of what those are written. Writing a descriptive text needs more attention because the students have to know the things that will be described in detail. Because of that reason, the teachers must use the variety and useful strategies to make students write well in descriptive text. One of ways which can be considered in writing descriptive text is by using realia as media in learning activities.

Using media in learning activities is very important for teachers. The benefit of using media is media helps to enhance the quality in learning. Using media can support the teachers’ materials. Well-designed material takes the wisdom of different accepted learning theorist into account which result in active and effective learning (Kumar,1998:7). As a result, media is an integral part of the learning activities in order to achieve educational goals.

Realia is a kind of media that can be used for teachers to teach writing about descriptive text. Based on Soulier (1981:7), real objects or realia are things that we meet every day. We sometimes do not realize that they are very important to the math and English teachers as they are to the basketball coach and the medical professor. According to Ngaroga (1996:262), there are four advantages of using realia as the media in learning activities especially in teaching descriptive writing: First, realia are motivating. Second, they provide the learners with the sort of direct experience that cannot be obtained through other media of learning no matter how well contrived (designed). Third, they allow learners to apply various senses and this make effective. Finally, they are available in large quantities and are cheaply obtained. From the explanations from the experts, realia give opportunity in many areas of studies. Realia become a center of interest, stimulating other ideas for study.

Using realia in learning activities enables to the students write descriptive texts based on the characteristics of the realia. Then, hopefully by using realia in learning activities, the students’ writing ability can be improved. In this article, the writer would like to discuss about Teaching Descriptive Writing using realia as the media in learning activities. The following discusses is the implementation of realia in writing descriptive text.


In this article, the writer explains the implementation of realia in Junior High School level in the first grade. Teaching writing in Junior High School Students will develop the students’ competence in writing text types especially descriptive texts. Besides that, the writer make a syllabus to applied the materials to make students interested in the writing a descriptive text by using realia. Before a teacher teaches their students, the teacher must make a syllabus first. Based on Fatmawati (2011), syllabus is providing a focus for teachers and students in achieving basic competencies and indicators and influencing the development of individual students.

In the teaching of descriptive texts by using realia as one of media in learning activities, the writer used the three-phase technique which includes pre-writing, whilst-writing, and post- writing.


  • The teacher asks to the students to mention objects that they see in the real life such as books, pails, and snakes etc.
  • The teacher explains to the students about the material they will learn.


  • The teacher gives a picture to the students one example of realia media that is eyeglasses.
  • The teacher gives questions about the object through an overhead projector.
  1. What is the picture?
  2. What is the color of the frame?
  3. What is the color of the lens?
  4. How long the eyeglass?
  • The teacher asks the students to work in a pair
  • The teacher tells the students about the characteristics of a descriptive text.
  • After the students understand how to describe object, the teacher asks to the students to look for another real object indoor or outdoor of the class with the teacher’s guiding.
  • Each group discusses about everything related to their objects by using the leading questions from the teacher or based on their own questions.
  • The teacher asks to the students to write a descriptive text based on the real objects that they found.
  • Some groups read their descriptive text in front of the class.


  • The teacher asks the students to submit their work.
  • The teacher has reflection session to hear students’ opinion for what they have learned.
  • For homework, the teacher asks the students to look for another realia in around their house.


The role of a teacher in a writing class is very important to make the students active in the writing activities. It has been stated that writing descriptive text needs more attention because the students have to know the things that will be described in detail so the teacher should have creative and interesting strategies to make students active and able to write descriptive text. One of the strategies is by using realia media in the teaching descriptive writing. In the fact, realia is a interesting media for the students in learning activities. Realia can give students’ motivation, stimulate their imagination, and reduce the students’ stress in writing activities. Besides that, realia media also help the students to create their writing of descriptive texts because they can look at and touch the real objects that they want to describe. Teachers who want to conduct realia media in the other English skills such as speaking, listening, and reading are recommended to apply another writing process. They should be creative in choosing realia media to be used in the learning activities to make the classroom atmosphere alive.


Ariyanti, L. 2010. Teaching Writing by Using The Think-Pair-Share (TPS) Technique. On     Cahyono, B. A (Ed), The Teaching of English Language Skill and English              Language Components (page. 91-101). Malang:  State University of Malang Press.

Fatmawati, I. 2011. Manfaat Silabus dan RPP dalam Pembelajaran Biologi (The Advantages of Syllabus and Lesson Plan in Biology Teaching), (online), (http://jimmicka.blogspot.com/2011/05/manfaat-silabus-dan-rpp-dalam.html, accessed on Tuesday, 14 May 2013).

Kumar, V.1998. Media Options for Teacher. New Delhi: Atlantic Publisher and Distributors.

Leksono, A. B. 2009. Teaching Descriptive Texts Using Pictures and Cluster Diagramming. On Cahyono, B. A (Ed), Techniques in Teaching EFL Writing: Practical Guides for English Teachers of SMP/MTS in Indonesia (page.10-15). Malang: State University of Malang Press.

Ngaroga, J. M. 1996. PTE Revision Series Education for Primary Teacher Education. Kenya: East African Educational Publisher Ltd.

Soulier, J. S. 1981. The Instructional Media Library: Real Object and Models. New Jersey: Educational Technology Publications, Inc.,Englewood Cliff.

Taselin, M. 2010. Interactive Activities for Improving Students’ Writing Skill. On Cahyono, B. A (Ed), The Teaching of English Language Skill and English Language Components (page.103-112). Malang:  State University of Malang Press.




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