Teaching Genre for Transfer: Rhetorical Genre Studies in a Secondary English Classroom

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Nickerson, Amanda Kathleen
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Middle Tennessee State University
While Writing Studies scholars such as Angela Rounsaville and Elizabeth Wardle consider the applications of genre and transfer in first-year composition (FYC), few scholars are considering how to apply these topics in middle and high school ELA classrooms. Instead of relying on the prescribed state standards to guide the teaching of writing at the secondary level, this project proposes a pedagogy based on Rhetorical Genre Studies, an approach to genre that finds its genesis with Carolyn Miller and David Russell and has since been extended to questions of transfer by Rounsaville and Wardle. By identifying problems in secondary English Language Arts (ELA) classrooms associated with writing instruction and by offering a brief history of how standardized testing has influenced writing instruction, this project establishes a need for reexamining our writing practices in the secondary context.
By offering a nuanced perspective of the challenges of going outside the prescribed secondary curriculum and by closing with applications that could be piloted by other secondary instructors, this project encourages pre-service programs to revise their training methods, and challenges all writing teachers to question the reasons behind our practices as we endeavor to prepare students to be more than test takers.
Genre, Secondary, Teaching, Transfer, Writing