The Use of a Visual Image to Promote Narrative Writing Ability and Creativity

English Language Education Program (ELEP), Faculty of Language and Arts (FLA), UKSW, Indonesia.
DOI: 10.14689/ejer.2019.80.10


Purpose: Second language writing as an inherent part of ELT is no exception. One specific part of second language writing in which visual images can be used is narrative essay writing. Visual images, in this case, comic series and pictures, can be a very useful aid in stimulating students’ ideas, creativity, as well as interest and ability in narrative essay writing. Students’ writing activities in using pictures and comic strips are discussed in this study, including students’ responses towards this particular topic, as well as the procedures of how these visual images are used. This study is therefore aimed at disclosing how pictures and comic strips, as forms of visual images, can be used to enhance students’ narrative writing ability as well as creativity. In writing narrative essays with the help of visual images, students were helped in terms of generating ideas, developing logical and critical thinking, and improving reasoning skills.

Research Methods: The design of this study was qualitative in nature. The participants were comprised of 19 Professional Narrative Writing students. The data for this research was taken from documents, that is, students’ essays and journals which were written after the writing activities were done, interviews with two students, and students’ scores. There were also pretests and post-tests given at the beginning and the end of the semester, but the scores were descriptively presented. Interviews with two students were also conducted to validate the findings. These students, whose essays were used as analyzed documents, were enrolled in the Professional Narrative Writing class of the English Language Education Program, the Faculty of Language and Arts (FLA), Universitas Kristen Satya Wacana (UKSW), Salatiga, Indonesia. The class was conducted in Semester I of the 2017-2018 academic year. The students were fourth-semester students. The Professional Narrative Writing course taught students how to be professional in writing narratives.

Findings: The findings showed that pictures, as well as comic strips, were very useful in helping students to write narratives. They helped students generate ideas, delve into more creativity, as well as develop their imagination and motivation in writing, though some students experienced difficulties in some aspects like ideas, grammar, diction, and plot.

Implications for Research and Practice: The results of the study hopefully can inspire other narrative writing lecturers all over the globe to maximize the use of visual images, including pictures and comic strips. These visual aids can enhance students’ writing abilities as well as their creativity. Students taking writing courses can hopefully be motivated to write better narratives.

Keywords: Narrative writing, visual images, pictures, comic strips, mystery.