Genre awareness for the novice academic student: An ongoing quest, Ann M. Johns

Genre awareness for the novice academic student: An ongoing quest, Ann M. Johns

ABSTRACT: Genre, the most social constructivist of literacy concepts, has been theorized and variously applied to pedagogies by three major ‘schools’: the New Rhetoric, English for Specific Purposes, and Systemic Functional Linguistics. In this paper, I will discuss my long, and ongoing, search for a pedagogy drawn from genre theories for novice academic students. With others, I am trying to find or develop an approach that is coherent and accessible to students while still promoting rhetorical flexibility and genre awareness. I will first define and problematize the term genre. Then, I will briefly discuss what each of the three genre ‘schools’ can offer to novice students – as well as their pedagogical shortcomings. Finally, I will suggest two promising approaches to teaching genre awareness: learning communities and ‘macro-genres’.