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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Teacher conceptualizations of academic writing and genre Robertshaw, Jady


Research has shown that a genre approach to academic writing grounded in systemic functional linguistics (SFL) can give teachers the metalinguistic awareness necessary to deconstruct the language of academic writing. However, teachers require considerable training to gain full control of an SFL-based genre approach, and the influence of this approach is still in its infancy in British Columbia. How then are BC teachers approaching academic writing instruction for ELLs and to what degree has the genre approach made in roads? Informed by SFL-based genre approach to academic writing, this multiple case study addresses this question by investigating 3 BC high school ELL teachers’ approaches to writing instruction to determine 1) how the participants conceptualized academic writing and genre and 2) how their conceptualizations impacted their practice as writing teachers. Data was collected through interviews, classroom observations and document analysis. Thematic analysis was used to develop descriptions of individual cases and to compare and contrast cases. The findings showed that although the genre approach had impacted the practices of all three teachers, only with considerable training did teachers develop a rich conceptualization of genre that could impact all aspects of writing instruction. Furthermore, data also showed that the base level of training required to teach certain ELL courses did not prepare them with an explicit understanding of the linguistic characteristics that distinguish the genres students are being asked to compose.

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