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Publication

Increasing genre awareness in students in the first-year composition classroom at a two-year college

Tate, Jeff
Abstract
This study investigates the use of the genre approach to teaching first-year composition in order to increase the genre awareness and transfer abilities of students. Previous research has shown that the genre approach is effective in teaching composition. However, the literature has focused mostly on using the approach with graduate students, L2 students, and workplace writing. This study addresses the effectiveness of the genre approach in a heretofore under-represented academic setting: the two-year college. This study is guided by three research questions: (1) Do students develop genre awareness and exhibit transfer potential to new writing situations by being taught with the genre approach? (2) Are there any differences in genre awareness and transfer abilities between a group of students receiving the genre approach and a group receiving a different pedagogical approach? (3) If there are differences, what are they? If not, why not? Through its application of teaching FYC with the genre approach in a setting which may have not received as much attention, this study extends the previous research done with the genre approach. I conducted this study using grounded theory to analyze the three reflective essays written by a group of students that received the genre approach and a group of students that received a different approach. The students in both groups wrote the reflective essays: one at the beginning, one in the middle, and one at the end of the semester. Using this data, I compared the essays within a group, for example the first essay to the third in the genre group. Additionally, I compared the essays between the groups, for example the third essay of the genre group with the third essay of the non-genre group. The findings from this study suggest that teaching composition with the genre approach is more effective in increasing genre awareness and transfer abilities than the more traditional pedagogy used in the other group. These findings support the previous research and extend it further into academics by showing its usefulness at the two-year college as well. These findings help raise further questions regarding the use of the genre approach in teaching FYC.
Date
2015-05