Teaching ideas or teaching methods evolve regularly, over time new ideas arise and they always tend to unfashion the ones that were used in the past. Genre analysis is one of the methods or ideas of teaching that are effective in developing vital writing skills to students. Genres are classified to many forms, each and every genre be it a formal report or a historical romance has its own patterns that shape the text structure. Therefore the teachers need to teach their students about these patterns in great detail.
There is a variety of information that the teachers can use to develop writing skills to their students. This information includes analyzing how the writer sequenced his material to achieve a particular purpose. Each and every text has a particular purpose. Therefore by understanding these purposes the teachers can use that information to enable their students to be better writers. Students need to be taught more on the features that synthesize a good text in Oder to improve their writing skills. Explicit descriptions are the most effective way to achieve this. Hyland (1992).
In his article Hyland proved that using the explicit method of teaching genre analysis can be very helpful for teachers to develop writing skills to their students. In this essay I am going to critically review his argument by focusing on what I consider as the strengths and the weaknesses of this argument. I am also going to define my own point of view towards using an explicit approach or the implicit in teaching vital writing skills to students
One of the strengths in Hyland’s argument is that the genre analysis is indeed relevant to classroom learning, this is because it serves to broaden the understanding of the learners about writing in different contexts and different levels of language. Genre analysis is vital in locating texts within specific cultural contexts, it serves to situate them into a historical perspective and also counter the romantic ideology of authorial originality and create individualism. Chandler (2000).
Even though the explicit approach can be used to help develop good writing skills, it also has some complications as well. In his article Chandler (2000), argues that explicit approaches are not accurate, they evolve over time and they also have the problem of overgeneralization. Therefore using the explicit approach in teaching genre is the weakness in Hyland’s article, For the learners to clearly understand the way of writing the teachers are trying to teach, they require a more constant approach that will not evolve therefore the explicit approach might not be an answer in teaching good and important writing skills to the students.
Good writing does not only reacquire the knowledge of the text purpose, the topic and the audience, writing requires more than just genre, there are some more important areas of knowledge that the teachers need to teach to their students like the knowledge of the different linguistic levels, the correct way to use language in writing and the knowledge of grammar and punctuation, because even if a student has an idea of what to write and what to write about. Without proper punctuation and grammar the entre piece of work that the student is writing will certainly lose its meaning. This is the result of that some words have more meanings than one and it may confuse the student on how to go about starting a new paragraph.
Although genre approaches can be useful sometimes, it would still be a challenge at some schools to engage to the genre approach theories like the explicit approach because most have been developed in classrooms where the students are native speakers or approaching native speaking, in the foreign language classroom on the other hand, very few learners would be at the advanced level, many would be struggling with even basic vocabulary and grammar points. To ask such learners to analyze texts and negotiate the writer’s purpose, audience assumptions and so on is clearly unrealistic. Chandler (2000). The main element in developing good writing skills is the knowledge and the experience of the learner. Coe (1994). Therefore the main focus of the teachers should not be on teaching genre using the explicit approach only but should be on improving the ability and the experience of their students to use grammar and language correctly so as for them to be better writers.
In teaching genre teachers should use the implicit approach because this approach is reliable and will not constantly evolve and also the language and good grammar points are keen to enable students to produce well-written texts; therefore the explicit approach may not work on schools with students that are foreign language speakers. In this essay I have critically reviewed Highlands’ article “GENRE ANALYSIS” and contrasted with the position of that the implicit approach is the better way to teach writing skills to students.
- Coe, R.M. (1994). Teaching genre as a process. In A.
Freedman and P. Medway (Eds), learning and teaching genre
Portsmouth, N: H Boynton/coock
- Chandler, Daniel (2000): An Introduction to Genre Theory.