Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 6 : 8 August 2006
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.




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Sumaiya Haq, M.A.

Equipping Learners to Choose Appropriate Words and Structures

I attempt in this paper to find out if the genre-based approach to writing can be of any use to the students. As texts of the same genre have certain basic structural similarities, serving the same general social purpose, so does genre-based approach equip learners to choose words and structures for making meanings about experience in certain situations for an example, telling stories, trying to persuade people with strong arguments, describing a thing, showing procedures. It also helps the students to be aware of and careful to show relationship in the perfect manner appropriate to the situation. Finally genre-based approach is helpful for learners for arranging the whole meaning into a full text, which is compatible with the situation.

A Contrast and My Goal

  1. Most of the time in the conventional classroom it is seen that, learning activities focus on using correct language, as a result the students' participation lessens; sometimes they turn into passive receivers; on the other hand, if the teacher does not intervene to show structural patterns of different genre, does not demonstrate where it should be used, and the learning is based on communication only then the students will not be confident of using it properly . To solve this problem some language practitioners prescribe that there should be a cycle of teaching and learning, which consists of context exploration, explicit instructions, joint construction using the newly gathered knowledge.
  2. I want to find out if the activities in writing in the classroom maintain teaching-learning cycle, the cycle of modeling, teacher-student joint construction and independent construction.
  3. Language is a psychological and social tool, through it we communicate with others . People have different social relations with others, and the repertoire of languages changes according to social class, formality, surrounding and age. So, can textbook help student complete practical task? Does the understanding of different genres give the learners a outline of language used for certain purpose using certain structural patterns?, giving them ability to relate it to other contexts, which might be very far away from the text book contexts?
  4. If a different type of syllabus is required for developing writing what might be included to enrich the writing skills and make the adult learners confident enough to use it in other places than only exams.

The Rationale and Main Conceptual Themes for the Investigation

During my service as a teacher, teaching Basic Skills, most of the time I have found that even adult learners prefer to practice writing skills at home rather than doing it in the class. Even if they do participate , they are reluctant to read aloud their ' independent construction' . They fear that they haven't used language in a correct manner, more than that they cannot make up their mind how to start and how to finish. As English is not the learners' mother tongue, sometimes they are short of words. As a result, writing is most often done as homework and some of the learners do not submit their work. The summative evaluation is that learners are unable to develop the writing skills. I hope to find out if studying genre-based writing can help to equip the adult learners to improvise writing activity on any topic with confidence. Martin developed the concept of genre based on Halliday's theory of form and purpose of the text and the social context, in which it is produced. Texts, which share the same underlying structural pattern and the same purpose, are of the same genre.

Another Underpinning Idea for My Project

Another reading underpinning idea for the project derives from Hewings and Hewings, 'Disciplinary Variation in Academic Writing.' ' The genre-knowledge can be of preliminary use, students should be aware of discipline specifics, what to emphasize and what to exclude according to their discipline and subject matter and beliefs about knowledge.

Methodologies deployed in writing, can influence the written structure. As an example there is difference stance in hard discipline of science where attributive hedges like 'partially,' 'approximately' are often used to assert agreed knowledge, and in soft discipline of social science and arts where problems are less clearly defined, hedges are used extensively to write qualitative analysis rather than quantitative analysis. The teacher should explain text structure metadiscoursal feature, grammatical elements of the specific discipline together with why they are used.


Sumaiya Haq

Communication Across Castes | The Hells Envisioned in the Divine Comedy and Bhagavtam | Telugu Parts of Speech Tagging in WSD | Practicing Literary Translation: A Symposium Round 10 | The Effectiveness of Genre-based Approach to Develop Writing Skills of Adult Learners and Its Significance for Designing a Syllabus | Structural Predictability of Malayalam Riddles | Parsing in Tamil - Present State of Art | HOME PAGE OF AUGUST 2006 ISSUE | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Sumaiya Haq, M.A.
Department of English Language and Literature
International Islamic University
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