Figure 2 shows one of the students’ descriptive writing in the pre-test
Figure 2 shows one of the students’ descriptive writing in the pre-test. Students frequently make mistakes in the mechanic of writing and in grammar. Capitalizations, punctuations, and subject-verb agreement seem to be the most challenging in this writing. These challenges thus affect the convention trait as one of the traits of writing quality. The lack of vocabulary also crucially affects the sentence fluency as another trait of writing quality. However, most students seem to have ideas to begin writing. They also have their own way to express their ideas in their writing. The following table shows the results of students’ descriptive writing quality in the pre-test.
Table 1. Mean Scores of Writing Quality in Pre-test
Ideas Organization Voice Word choice Sentence fluency Conventions
57.21 47.11 52.40 48.55 40.84 36.53
Mean total= 47.12
Table 1 shows the scores of all traits of writing quality in the pre-test. Three traits are still below the total average score. Students gain the lowest score in convention trait. It means that students still have writing errors in grammar and some mechanics of writing, such as capitalization, punctuations, and paragraphing. The trait of sentence fluency is the penultimate lowest score. It shows that students need to work more on their vocabulary and in putting words into sentences correctly.
In her study, the researcher also found that there were 14 out of 26 students participated in pre-test whose writing quality scores are still below 47.12. It means that there are 53.84% students whose descriptive writing quality is below the average score. Based on the institutional academic grading scale, there is only 1 student in excellent level, and most of them (13 students) are in the very poor level (? 40.99). In the very poor level, students should not pass the test.
The average score of each trait of students’ writing quality in pre-test is mostly at the level of beginning and emerging. The highest score the students have in is the trait of ideas and the lowest score is in the trait of conventions. It means that most students might have a glimpse of ideas emerged in writing their descriptive text but still are still struggling in producing accurate convention in the paragraphs.
The first cycle of classroom action research was conducted by planning, acting, observing, and reflecting. Common preparations before starting the research were done by meeting the students to inform them about all things they would do in the learning process and providing all administrative class documents such as the learning materials, and research instruments such as attendance list, sensory detail chart, a vocabulary of senses, and observation checklist. Supporting learning equipment and media such as PPT and visual aids were also prepared in this session.
The first step of experiential learning begins at this stage of the research. It was done in the pre-test. The researcher asked the students to write a descriptive text on the given topic. They were asked to write the descriptive text within 45 minutes. They were allowed to refer to any dictionary to help them write. After the students finished writing, the researcher asked the students about their writing. They admitted that they were not quite satisfied with their writing during pre-test. They mentioned that it lacked grammar accuracy and vocabulary. It was hard for most students to express their ideas in proper words and appropriate sentences. Therefore, many of them used Google translator during the pre-test to help them write in English. Unfortunately, the translation tool was not sufficiently helpful to produce a good quality of writing.
Thus, the researcher helped them to figure out how to produce better descriptive writing by introducing the sensory detail strategy. They practiced how to explore their five senses to describe things they could see in the pictures shown. The researcher also gave them some words of sensory words and asked them to classify based on the senses. To help the students organize the words, the researcher asked them to make a sensory detail chart. Then they tried to put those words into sentences.
Further, the students also learned about the text organization of the descriptive text. They also identified its language features in texts shown on the PPT slides. This session helped the students to gain their abstract concept on descriptive text. It also supported the students to better comprehension of the descriptive structure before they were involved in the experiential learning.
After presenting all the materials in the previous stage, the researcher delivered students in the process of 90 minutes-collaborative experiential learning held in the first location (Oesapa beach). The students continued the experiential learning cycle by doing an active experiment. In this step of learning, each student was facilitated with a sensory detail chart to help them organize their ideas during their exploration of five senses. They did the exploration together in groups of 4 to 5. This group-work should add more details of description to each student.
During the exploration, students should fill in SDC by consulting the sensory words or phrases to the vocabulary of senses provided before the learning. Students in groups were dispersed along the beach. They also discussed their opinions to describe the object by using sensory words. They enjoyed their sense of touch when they felt the sand or the sea water. They also felt relaxed as they saw the beach and the ocean view. The smell of the air gave them different sensation during their exploration. Those senses exploration