December 2008
Volume 12, Number 3

Contents  |   TESL-EJ Top

Sensitizing ESL Learners to Genre

Jasti Appa Swami
Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India


This article evaluates the efficacy of explicit genre-based instruction by sensitizing the ESL learners to the concept of genre. The main questions addressed are: How does sensitizing ESL learners to the rhetorical move structure of a genre, the communicative purposes of these moves, and linguistic features that realize these moves help them to become confident writers? What impact does this sensitization have on the learners? To answer these questions, an experiment was carried out by identifying two genres--sales promotion and job application letters--and a text-type--academic essays. This was done for two different groups of students with two different needs--English for Specific Academic Purposes and English for General Academic Purposes. Pre- and post-tests were conducted. An analysis of these test scripts revealed that the students improved not only their confidence to handle genres but also their attitude toward language learning, as explicit instruction provided them with "a concrete opportunity to acquire conceptual and cultural frameworks to undertake writing tasks beyond the courses in which such teaching occurs" (Cheng, 2006, p. 77). The findings drawn from the analysis were also crosschecked for corroboration with the students' responses on the questionnaire and observations recorded in the teaching journal. The findings suggest that knowledge of genre and the generic features works as a powerful pedagogical tool for teachers and it benefits students as well.

Keywords: EFL, ESL, India, genre, ESP, pedagogy, curriculum

Full Article (HTML)  |  Full Article (PDF)

© Copyright rests with authors. Please cite TESL-EJ appropriately.

Editor's Note: The HTML version contains no page numbers. Please use the PDF version of this article for citations.