Genre in the Classroom: Multiple Perspectives

Genre in the Classroom: Multiple Perspectives

Genre in the Classroom: Multiple Perspectives

Genre in the Classroom: Multiple Perspectives


For the first time, the major theoretical and pedagogical approaches to genre and related issues of social construction are presented in a single volume, providing an overview of the state of the art for practitioners in applied linguistics, ESL/EFL pedagogies, rhetoric, and composition studies around the world. Unlike volumes that present one theoretical stance, this book attempts to give equal time to all theoretical and pedagogical camps. Included are chapters by authors from the Sydney School, the New Rhetoric, and English for Specific Purposes, as well as contributions from other practitioners who pose questions that cross theoretical lines. Genre in the Classroom: *includes all of the major theoretical views of genre that influence pedagogical practice; *takes an international approach, drawing from all parts of the world in which genre theory has been applied in the classroom--Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, the Middle East, the United States; *features contributors who are all both theorists and classroom practitioners, lending credibility and authenticity to the arguments; *combines theory and practice in every chapter, showing how particular theoretical views influence classroom practice; *grounds pedagogical practices in their own regional and theoretical histories; *openly discusses problems and questions that genre theory raises and presents some of the solutions suggested; and *offers a concluding chapter that argues for two macro-genres, and with responses to this argument by noted genre theorists from three theoretical camps.


This collection began to take shape in 1996 while I was participating in a three-day colloquium organized by John Swales on “Genre and Thick Description” at the International Association of Applied Linguistics Conference in Finland. We heard rich, “thickly described” theory and research papers, but the discussions of pedagogy were relegated to last-and quite thin. Participants had the same kinds of experiences (i.e., hearing excellent theoretical and research papers, but few pedagogical ones) at the Second International Genre Conference in Vancouver, organized in 1998 by Richard Coe. There, I concluded with others that we practitioners needed a volume that focused on pedagogy in which the various important theoretical camps were represented.

When Naomi Silverman, of Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, encouraged me in this venture, I began to solicit chapters and compile the manuscripts. As I continued to work, I became increasingly appreciative of Naomi's guidance and of the prompt responses made by assistant editor, Lori Hawver. I am also grateful for the very careful work of Laurie Mendenblik, the indexer. Central to the success of most volumes are the reviewers. the contributors and I are particularly grateful to reviewer John Hedgecock, who understood the volume's purposes and whose comments were very useful to us all as we revised our chapters.

The contributors of the volume's chapters are a very capable group, as their work will attest. I am most grateful to them for submitting and revising their texts to make them appropriate and for being patient with me as I took care of the business of putting a book together. As readers will notice, the conclusion is rather unusual: William Grabe's contribution, followed by commentaries by major figures from each of the theoretical camps represented. of course, I am very pleased with Bill's chapter and with the expert responses, which should dissuade any readers from believing that there is one “true way” to approach genre theory or practice.

I would also like to thank some local people in San Diego, particularly Harry Polkinhom of San Diego State University Press, who made excellent suggestions and helped with the editing, and Jim McMenamin, who worked long hours to edit and make the manuscripts camera-ready.

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