Genre Analysis in Teaching English

2 February 2017

Give a comprehensive discussion. Genre analysis as an area of inquiry is a framework for analyzing language use for different purposes, particularly for the teaching and learning of English for academic and professional purposes. To claim that the study becomes too product-oriented and prescriptivist violates the notion of dynamism in discourse for discourse is not merely the text, it is always context bound.

It is related with human behavior which is not entirely predictable as man has the tendency to exploit conventions to express his private intentions (Bhatia, 2001) However, genre analysis may have the notion of being product-oriented and prescriptivist when genre analysts describe the differences in language use among the different areas of academic or professional disciplines for despite its dynamic nature its dynamism is confined within the group.

A genre is not a genre if it does not belong to a category. Thus, discourse structure is essentially socio-cognitive where individual variation is underplayed and disciplinary community consensus is given foremost importance. From amongst the studies we discussed in our Discourse class, it is evident that genre analysts investigate on the social practices of academic writing treating each section of a research article as a genre by itself.

Martinez (2008), on the other hand, studied the construction of themes by different disciplines A lot of considerations or variables are made in the inquiry like differences between or amongst the different sections, interdisciplinary differences, NS (native speaker) versus NNS (non-native speaker) language use and so forth and so on. From the findings, they established frameworks, moves, strategies that would account for the communicative purpose/s of the genre.

Nonetheless, it is also evident that the studies were made in order for the “generic integrity” (Bhatia, 2001) which the analysts or the academic communities believe they posses and which they would like to establish. In that case, then, genre analysis is prescriptivist and product-oriented. However, in the course of our pedagogical practices, we may have laid the communicative purpose/s of a genre but with the intricacy of human linguistic behaviors, we cannot impose on the specific language to use, rather, we can only determine whether the language used was able to accomplish its purpose.

Purposes, on the other hand, as I may say so, vary according to disciplines, which I believe teachers of academic writing must put more attention. Going back to my previous premise, it is in the intricacy of human linguistic behaviors that make the study on genre analysis a dynamic one that is why analysts continue to seek patterns and have not really come up with a definite one as studies show. On the other hand, in utilizing these patterns inside the classrooms, I for one, believe that there must a balance between form and process.

Form, having established rules must coincide with the content as the two create a sophisticated and adequate product of writing. Among ESL students in particular, many educators would be tolerant of putting more credit to the process as the acquisition of grammar rules cannot be autonomously acquired by non-native learners (Anderson, 1976, in Lucas’s SLA module) However, the contribution of form in writing must not be underplayed at all times. Its importance must conform with the level of the students – say elementary pupils’ writing output must be assessed differently from those of the college students’ output.

It is the same with establishing the objectives of teaching writing according to the needs of the students and teaching writing like any other language acquisition process must be understood from the point of view of our second language learners. In the case of the college students whose academic requirements entail them to write academically, exposure to good articles and an awareness that form and content make a good writing must be established.

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