Overall, these genres tend to teach the following principles of writing:
- Written genres should be thesis-driven–that is, students should first choose a thesis and then defend it with “points” or “evidence”
- “Research” is separated out from other genres (which presumably are not research-oriented)
- Genres are identificable and somewhat static, even though the examples given (such as “analysis”) are more like modes or aims than specific genres
- Modes and aims-based approaches to teaching composition continue to be used in many undergraduate writing programs
To better design courses around principles of genre pedagogy, instructors can:
- Teach specific genres, not types–ideally ones that students can locate in publications or venues outside the classroom.
- Teach written genres as a part of a process of inquiry, one that often begins with a question or problem and leads to a solution or claim–not one that begins with a “thesis” that must then be defended with “points.”
- Teach research as a strategy, not a genre (as in a “research paper”). Show how research is embedded in different genres (e.g. a grant proposal versus a scientific article versus an editorial)
- Teach students meta-level concepts and skills to help them analyze unfamiliar genres, including their typical features, audiences, and purposes
- Using multiple examples of real-world texts, help students to identify how they can use genres as resources for invention, showing where writers can make choices about how those genres are implemented.