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ERIC Number: ED346465
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Pages: 11
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Where Is Genre in Writing Instruction?
Beaufort, Anne
In writing, as in conversation, there are implicit boundaries which separate various modes of communication, and these boundaries cause exclusion, discomfort, and misunderstanding. The existence of these boundaries results in a number of issues, such as the categorization of texts, the differences between writing for English classes and writing in other academic disciplines, and the boundaries between audiences. A fourth issue bringing all of these issues together is that of genre. Research in several freshman composition classes illustrated the ways that conceptualizations of genre are played out in the writing and discussions of teachers and students. For example, there is an interplay between notions of discourse mode and genre. Teacher response to one student essay was driven by the theoretical model of the five traditional discourse modes--description, narration, exposition, persuasion, and poetry--a model which does not allow for a full discussion of the complexities of a text such as that written by the student. The revised essay, in conjunction with the teacher's advice, conformed more to the generic conventions of a moral, didactic essay. This essay also illustrates the second issue of boundaries; that is, the differences between writing done inside and outside of English classrooms. The student's initial attempt did not fit the traditional boundaries of freshman composition, and the teacher was caught by the boundaries of the discipline. In another instance, a teacher assigned a reflective essay which compared short stories, and illustrated the assignment by making a distinction between the genre of the reflective essay (the comparison paper) and the genre of the business report designed to make a recommendation. Finally, at Stanford University (California) a project in which students take on writing assignments for non-profit agencies demonstrates students' difficulty crossing over into genres outside academia. The point is made that issues of audience are embedded within all genres, and negotiating a way across the boundaries of genres is central in acts of writing. (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A