Genre Awareness & Text Study in the esl/efl curriculum



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Genre Awareness & Text Study in the ESL/EFL Curriculum

Overview

  • What are genres?
  • What are the parameters of a genre?
  • What are the characteristics of a genre?
  • How does genre awareness help students learn better?
  • What does genre awareness mean in the age of computers and the internet?

1

  • Once upon a time…

1

  • Once upon a time…
  • folk tale

2

  • Dear sir…

2

  • Dear sir…
  • formal letter

3

  • 6 eggs
  • bread
  • juice…

3

  • 6 eggs
  • bread
  • juice…
  • shopping list

4

  • “The next station is…Al-Riqqah.”

4

  • metro announcement
  • “The next station is…Al-Riqqah.”

5

  • This process is called photosynthesis.

5

  • This process is called photosynthesis.
  • science textbook
  • – explanation

What are genres?

The term “genre”…

  • From the French word “genre” (and the Latin word “genus”) meaning “kind, type, sort, category, or class”
  • Refers to a type or category of communicative or artistic production
  • Used in artistic fields: film genres, music genres, art genres, literary genres
  • Used in language to describe any type of written or spoken text

Language Genres…

  • Categories of texts
  • Determined by a set of parameters
  • Used for a variety of purposes
  • Used in a variety of contexts
  • Can be written or spoken
  • Can be formal or informal

Examples of Language Genres: Categories of Written Texts

  • Narrative: novels, short stories, biographies, autobiographies, historical accounts, plays
  • Expository: letters, newsletters, definitions, instructions, guidebooks, catalogs, newspaper articles, magazine articles, pamphlets, essays, reports
  • Persuasive & Discursive: argumentative essays, discussion papers, advertisements, persuasive letters

Language Genres: Categories of Written Texts

  • Aesthetic & Wisdom: poems, songs, sayings, proverbs, mottos
  • Technical: research papers, lab reports, medical reports, accident reports, progress reports, directions (to a destination), manuals, evaluation forms, questionnaires, business letters, resumes, presentations, descriptions of features (products/designs/projects), instructions

Language Genres: Parameters

  • The parameters that determine language genres are:
  • Purpose
  • Audience
  • Context
  • Format

Purpose

  • Why a speaker is speaking or a writer is writing – the reason for the text, related to the topic, function, & aim
  • Examples of PURPOSE include:
  • To exchange information
  • To make arrangements
  • To negotiate a decision
  • To give instructions
  • To express feelings
  • To make a complaint
  • To express thanks

Audience

  • Who the text is aimed at – target person/group of people (the reader or listener)
  • Examples of AUDIENCE include:
  • • General public, spectators, audience (theater, movie, concert, sport, etc.)
  • • Students, colleagues, friends, family
  • • Visitors to a website (“browsers” or “users”)
  • • Participants in a workshop, presentation
  • • Members of a sports team
  • Rhetorical audience, an anonymous listener or reader, or yourself

Context

  • Where and when the written text will be read or the speaking is taking place – the time, place, and situation (the setting)
  • Examples of CONTEXT include:
  • • Time period (present, past, or future)
  • • A public place (street, square, park)
  • • At the workplace (factory, office)
  • In the city, in a village, in the country
  • • On TV, radio, a website, in the newspaper
  • • In a meeting, workshop, or presentation
  • At an event (wedding, graduation, opening)

Format

  • How it is delivered – what form it will be published or presented in
  • Examples of FORMAT include:
  • Spoken:
  • • Direct/face-to-face (conversation, meeting, recital, loud speaker)
  • • Broadcast live on TV or radio
  • Pre-recorded video (DVD, video files, podcasts)/audio (CD, audio files)

Format

  • Written:
  • • Handwritten (letter, memo, notes, list)
  • Printed/“hard copy” (letter, book, magazine, newspaper, journal, document)
  • Digital/“soft copy” (CD-ROM/flash drive, website, computer files, online chats, scanned documents)

What are the parameters that determine a language genre?

  • The parameters that determine a language genre are:
  • Purpose
  • Audience
  • Context
  • Format

So, what exactly do the parameters determine?

  • So, what exactly do the parameters determine?
  • In other words, what are the characteristics of a genre?

Characteristics of a Genre

  • The characteristics of a genre can be put into two groups:
  • Text structure
  • Language features
  • Note: All texts, whether written or spoken, have text structure and language features. However, FORMAL TEXTS have CONVENTIONAL FORMS – with more established text structures and language features.

Text Structure

  • Text organization and form:
  • Parts or sections of the text
  • Introduction, body, conclusion
  • Paragraphs & paragraph structure
  • Subheadings, subtitles, & summaries
  • Marginalia & visuals

Language Features

  • Wording and style:
  • Nouns, verbs, linking words
  • Text markers (discourse markers)
  • Sections: introduction, body, conclusion
  • Paragraphs & paragraph structure
  • Subheadings, subtitles, & summaries
  • Marginalia & visuals

ALL LANGUAGES

  • All languages are genre-based regardless of whether the native speakers recognize that fact or not.
  • The more widely used a language is in the world the more genres are needed for the greater variety of contexts and purposes.

English: An International Language

  • The most widely used language in the world for education, business, and technology.
  • English has many conventional genres for various purposes and many more new ones as a result of new technologies.
  • A competent knowledge of English allows native and non-native users of English to respond to and interact with the international community.

Does genre awareness help students learn a language better?

  • Does genre awareness help students learn a language better?
  • Should genre awareness be included in the ESL/EFL curriculum?

Genre Awareness & Text Study

  • Genre-based learning helps native and non-native learners of English improve as it focuses producing a whole text.
  • “Studies show that explicit genre-based instruction with the attendant metalanguage helps learners improve their writing.” [1]

Genre Awareness & Text Study

  • Genre awareness and text study empower both native and non-native users of English.
  • Genre awareness and text study gives both native and non-native users of English greater language independence.

How has technology impacted literacy?

  • How has technology impacted literacy?
  • What does genre awareness mean in the age of computers and the internet?

Technology & Genres

  • What technology has done is bring back “reading and writing as a normal activity for a huge group of peoples.” [2]

Technology & Genres

  • Technology means more genres
  • Technology means a greater need for literacy (e-literacy, information literacy), academic skills, & critical thinking skills

Technology & Genres

  • Examples of new technology-based genres: emails, ebooks, blogs, wikis, online chats, podcasts, homepages, menu bars, drop-down menus, online website polls, textboxes, etc.

Technology & Genres

  • English language skills for a technology-based society – higher level academic reading, writing, and critical thinking skills:
  • planning & prioritizing
  • skimming and scanning
  • identifying purpose, context, & audience of a written/spoken text
  • using appropriate text structure, language features in writing/speaking
  • interpreting information – including graphics and marginalia

Technology & Genres

  • evaluating the quality and relevance of information – fact/fiction/opinion, website evaluation
  • analyzing & synthesizing information
  • note-taking, summarizing, & paraphrasing
  • information transfer
  • develop academic speaking and listening skills – discuss, reason, reflect, hypothesize, speculate, question, clarify, summarize, explain, and interact

Technology & Genres

  • using process writing & word processing editing tools effectively (autocorrection)
  • using appropriate style, register, tone, and voice
  • identifying style, register, tone, and voice
  • acknowledging sources & referencing
  • using appropriate format, layout, & presentation

Review

  • What are genres?
  • What are the parameters of a genre?
  • What are the characteristics of a genre?
  • How does genre awareness help students learn better?
  • What does genre awareness mean in the age of computers and the internet?

Review

  • What are genres? TYPES OF TEXT
  • What are the parameters of a genre?
  • What are the characteristics of a genre?
  • How does genre awareness help students learn better?
  • What does genre awareness mean in the age of computers and the internet?

Review

  • What are genres?
  • What are the parameters of a genre?
  • PURPOSE, AUDIENCE, CONTEXT, FORMAT
  • What are the characteristics of a genre?
  • How does genre awareness help students learn better?
  • What does genre awareness mean in the age of computers and the internet?

Review

  • What are genres?
  • What are the parameters of a genre?
  • What are the characteristics of a genre?
  • TEXT STRUCTURE, LANGUAGE FEATURES
  • How does genre awareness help students learn better?
  • What does genre awareness mean in the age of computers and the internet?

Review

  • What are genres?
  • What are the parameters of a genre?
  • What are the characteristics of a genre?
  • How does genre awareness help students learn better?
  • BY FOCUSING ON TEXT
  • What does genre awareness mean in the age of computers and the internet?

Review

  • What are genres?
  • What are the parameters of a genre?
  • What are the characteristics of a genre?
  • How does genre awareness help students learn better?
  • What does genre awareness mean in the age of computers and the internet?
  • MANY NEW GENRES

REFERENCES

  • [1] A. Henry/R. L. Roseberry. (19990 “Raising Awareness of the Generic Structure & Linguistic Features of Essay Introductions.” Language Awareness 8:3-4 (190 – 200) website [Online]. Available: http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ608236&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ608236

REFERENCES

  • [2] Russ Juskalian, (2008) Interview with Clay Shirky, Part I “There’s always a new Luddism whenever there’s change.” Columbia Journalism Review website [Online]. Available: http://www.cjr.org/overload/interview_with_clay_shirky_par.php?page=all

Genre Awareness & Text Study in the ESL/EFL Curriculum

  • THANK YOU شكرا
  • phillip.keane@iat.ac.ae


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