Academic journal article International Forum of Teaching and Studies

The Effect of the Genre Awareness Approach on Development of Writing Ability

Academic journal article International Forum of Teaching and Studies

The Effect of the Genre Awareness Approach on Development of Writing Ability

Article excerpt

Introduction and Literature Review

Writing is not just a process of forming words into sentences and putting sentences into texts. Rather, it is a purposefully situation-based activity. This means that writing is an act depending on the situational contexts and the communicative purposes (Hyland, 2002). A writer's role, purposes, audiences, content, contexts, etc. have an influence on how texts are shaped. In other words, this specific situation is called a genre (Hyland, 2003). Therefore, the ability to write can be perceived as the ability to produce a text that aligns with certain contexts, audiences, and purposes or to produce a text that is appropriate to its genre (Tribble, 1996). To have better writing thus refers to the ability to produce a piece of writing, which shows the appropriateness of style and correctness of form to match the situational contexts and communicative purposes (Hyland, 2014).

According to Atkinson (2003), a genre-based approach is one of the writing pedagogies, which is developed to improve students' writing ability based on the genre concept. In order to respond to what writing is, students should be explicitly taught to write to reach the particular goals in a distinctive way. This explicitness quality makes students grab a clear picture of what is to be learned to acquire writing skills (Gee, 1997). Students would be taught to use the appropriate language features such as grammar, vocabulary, and organization that are required in the particular contexts or how language is used to achieve the purposes in particular situations (Henry & Roseberry, 1998).

Moreover, students are taught how to write certain types of texts for their future occupations (Freedman, 1993) and they do not need to worry about the right and wrong of the language used. Instead, students could give more focus on the use of language to achieve effective communication. Ahn (2012) examines the effect of implementing a genre-based approach to develop writing ability on second language primary school students. The findings revealed that students' writing ability and students' awareness of how different texts were organized were improved.

As for instructors' choice of teaching writing genres, based on Hyland (2003), there are basically six broad families of text-types, which are exchanges, forms, procedures, information texts, story texts, and persuasive texts. These text-types have different features, which could be found in different written texttypes. However, some could be found in most of the written texts. For instance, information texts refer to the texts providing news or data in the form of descriptions, explanations, and reports. The objectives of this text types are to give and to describe the information. Another text-type that is usually found in the written texts is persuasive text-type. The persuasive texts refer to the texts showing writers' point of view on agreeing or disagreeing about something. The goal is to persuade the readers to lean on the writers' beliefs.

Surely, when students only have to focus on one genre, better writing could be easily developed. For instance, Su and Chen (2012) investigated the effects of a genre-based approach on teaching summary writing. The result indicated that genre-based approach noticeably improved the students' writing ability. However, this only focuses on grammatical and lexical knowledge but not for the effective communicative purposes and understanding, which is the key to a successful communication. The nature of genre is dynamic. It is nearly impossible to simplify the complex rules of genres to teach to the students (Bakhtin, Holquist, & Emerson, 1986). Hyland (2007) claims that genres are too complex and to vary to be successfully abstracted from the original context and taught in an artificial environment (Hyland, 2007). For example, when an instructor asks students to write to their lovers or their parents and send it back to an instructor as homework. …

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