Workshop 5: Teaching Multigenre Writing
Key Practices To Observe in Workshop 5
This workshop demonstrates the following effective practices for teaching
writing in general and for teaching multigenre writing specifically:
- Teachers choose an approach to writing that reveals a broad definition
of genre and that enables students to communicate in a variety of forms
for a variety of purposes and readers. The range of options stimulates
students' interest in their work and gives them experience in writing
in various realistic forms.
- Teachers reveal their appreciation of the diversity of interests and
cultural backgrounds in their classes. The approach establishes a meaningful
reason for writing, which improves the odds for students' development
as writers, and it also indicates the teachers' affirmation of their students,
as well as the importance of differentiating practices to meet the needs
- In the multigenre project, teachers promote student ownership as
writers and as learners. Students consider options for genres, as well
as topics they may focus on. Such ownership, choice, and decision-making
are important influences on student writers.
- Each teacher establishes a specific structure and logical method of guiding the students
in their work, for example the FQI (facts, questions, interpretation) method demonstrated by one teacher and the autobiography project demonstrated by another. Though students
have many options, teaching practices are intentional and well organized.
- The teachers prompt students' curiosity, leading them to inquiry
that is significant to them. Writing is for a genuine, meaningful-to-student
purpose. Students investigate and recognize that writing is
a mode of learning and discovery. The purpose of multigenre writing is
not merely to gain experience in writing a variety of forms.
- Ample opportunity is provided for students to talk about possibilities
and to help each other in the project. Teachers emphasize
that the students are part of a community and should support and help
each other. Class activities reveal the efforts of students and teacher to
work in a supportive community.
- Teachers read often to the students, and the students themselves
read to understand different genres, as well as to learn about their
topics. Reading serves both to engage the students and to teach
them about the genres. Reading aloud is especially important for students
who are early learners of English.
- Both teachers and classmates respond to students' work through whole-class
discussion, small-group work, and teacher-student conferences.
- Teachers provide appropriate examples and help students understand how
they can learn about different genres. With the variety inherent in multigenre
writing, having examples available is especially important. Students are
challenged to read carefully to determine the characteristics of a chosen
genre, and, of course, teachers provide information to help students.