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Understanding Educational Genres

Posted on: July 10, 2010


Genre teks for reading-m yusack

What are texts

Understanding Educational Genres

Muchlas Yusak

Widyiswara LPMP Jateng

Foreword

Texts and text types or genres are now key concept in the new curriculum (Kurikulum 2004 and Standar Isi) and evidently new to many of our English teachers at the secondary schools. The teachers are badly in need for help in equipping themselves with good knowledge about the educational genres that they are supposed to teach to their students. Therefore, as the teacher trainers we need to pay serious attention to those text types so that we can assist them to make them get familiar with the text types in their in-service teacher training.

As chances for having a discussion in such a forum as this training are relatively rare, it is therefore good that “Reading” in this handout is then meant to go beyond reading in its common sense as to allow us to have common understanding of the characteristics of the various educational genres. This sort of reading, typically done during the teaching/ learning cycle called Modelling of Text, will not only make the students understand texts better but let them write a variety of educational genres as well. Knowing the structure and language features of such educational genres is very important because it enables students to successfully achieve the outcomes of the school curriculum. By having a discussion on this important issue it is hoped that we would eventually have the same perception and understanding about the new curriculum/Standar Isi.

It is only when the teachers really know what they teach then the learning on the part of the students would result in competencies they are supposed to have.

Unit 1

TEXTS

In the new curriculum (Curriculum 2004 and Standar Isi/Content Standards), texts and text types are key terms, replacing themes, which were a key concept for the previous curriculum. While themes, such as Family and School Life, are still important, the focus is now on text types. Another word for text types is genres.

What is a text? Texts are made of words. Words are all around us – in front of our eyes on signs, computer screens, on the pages of books, newspapers, magazines, encyclo-pedias, etc. Words bombard our ears, coming from radios, TVs, other people’s mouths, etc. When words are used to make meaning, a text is created. A text can be as short as the word No Smoking placed at gas stations, or as long as a 1000-page dictionary. It can be written – as in a newspaper – or spoken – as when our friends tell us what time to meet at the library. So, a text can be defined as any meaningful stretch of language – oral or written.

We can divide all these millions, and billions, and trillions of texts that we create into different text types. The text types that the secondary students should be very good at are those categorized as educational genres/text types. These are the text types that they encounter everyday during the classes and when reading coursebooks. Here, we will discuss only on some of them: Personal/Factual Recounts, Descriptions, Procedures, Information reports, Explanations, and Hortatory/Analytical Expositions.

Text types come in many different text forms: Some of the text forms we see are: poems, short stories, novels, TV news shows, explanations we give to our friend how to do an assignment, science fiction movies, radio music shows, biology coursebooks, instruction booklets on how to use a handphone, emails to a friend about our new computer programme, and disagreements with our colleague about which place serves the best “gado-gado”.

Three Characteristics of Text Types

Each text type has certain typical characteristics. We can divide these characteristics into three areas.

  • The first area is the social purpose of the text type. In other words, why we write or speak a text type of this type. We create texts in the Instructions text type in order to tell others about how to do something. We create texts in the Explanations text type in order to describe how something, such as a computer programme, works.
  • The second characteristic we need to look at to understand and identify a text type concerns the generic structure of the text type. For instance, when we create texts in the Narrative text type, our texts often follow three-part structure. In the first part of the story, we provide the background or the setting in which the story takes place. The second part of our Narrative text often presents a problem or conflict that one or more of the main characters face and how they go about confronting this challenge. The last part of the Narrative shows how the problem/conflict is resolved.

Our texts in the Procedures/Instructions text type normally follow a different three-part structure. We begin by stating our goal, what it is we will show people how to do. Next, we list the materials needed to achieve the goal. Finally, we describe the procedure to be followed.

  • The third characteristic of text types concerns their language features. By language features, we mean such things as the grammar, vocabulary, and connect-ors that we use. For instance, in our text in the Expositions text type, we often use modal auxiliaries, such as should, should not, must, and must not to talk about what we want people to do or not to do. In Personal Recount texts, we frequently use the past tense to tell what we saw and experienced. In texts in the Descriptions text type, the vocabulary we use frequently includes adjectives and adverbs to help us paint a word picture for our readers, listeners, or viewers. When we write texts in the Expositions text type, we often use connectors of cause and effect, such as therefore and as a result.

Complications in Text Types

Like most things in life, text types can be complicated. Some overlap exists between text types in terms of their three characteristics – purpose, organizational structure, and language features. For instance, we use the past tense forms of verbs as a common language feature in a few different text types: Factual Recounts, Personal Recounts, and Narratives.

Not every text in a particular text type will have all the characteristics that are common to that text type. Further, any given text can contain characteristics of more than one text. However, here we will discuss only texts that contain typical characteristics of that text type and that are of mainly one text type. This will help us identify, examine, and create good samples of that text type.

Some Concepts in Language Learning

Several concepts related to language learning can be presented here. First, it is believed that language is best learned in context. Therefore, whole texts are included in each of the text types, and the grammar and vocabulary practice is done within meaningful texts, rather than in isolated sentences. It is also believed that language skills should be learned together. That is why reading and writing are combined in the teaching and learning. Indeed, one of the best ways to improve the ability to write in a particular text type is to read many texts in that text type. For instance, if we want the students to become more skilled at writing Information Reports, we will need to make them read many Information Reports.

As the students read different types of text, they should not just focus on the meaning of the text. They should also “read like a writer.” In other words, they should be thinking about how the authors built their texts, asking such questions as:

  1. What is the purpose of this text?
  2. What is the generic structure of this text?
  3. What tenses are used?
  4. What kind of connectors are there?
  5. What sort of vocabulary is used?

Writing is not a magical skill that some of us are born with and others lack and will never have. Writing is like building a puzzle. We need to think logically so that the puzzle pieces fit together well. Thus, another key concept is the need to build analytical skills and logical thinking.

A final concept that should guide our students when they write a text is the idea of starting with the end in mind. They need to be able to write effective texts in a variety of text types. Writing is not like answering multiple choice questions; there is no one correct answer. Instead, the students should be provided with the building blocks so that they can construct their own texts that conform to general standards of what texts in a particular text type should look like.

Unit 2

TEXT TYPES

The different texts that students are required to interpret and produce at school provide a useful starting point for looking at patterns of grammar and meaning. In this module we would like to discuss some of the text types that are important for learning in the secondary school and further explore the relationship between text and context by looking at:

  • the social purpose and structure of different text types
  • the role of different text types in learning across the school curriculum.

It is hoped that this will help establish a context for the more detailed explorations of grammar in subsequent units.

Text types and social purpose

The way we get things done in our culture using language is through different text types of genres. We use a particular text type depending on our social purpose. This will vary according to the context within which we are using language – the home, the local community, the workplace, the school etc. There are text types which inform, entertain, argue a point, order meals, complain about services and achieve many other goals.

Exercise

The following segments of text are taken from text types encountered by one person over a week as they went about their daily life. Read through the segments and try to predict some aspects of the context of each segment. Use the questions on the table to guide you. A response to the first segment has been provided.

No.

Text Segments

What is the social purpose of the text? Is the segment taken from the beginning, middle or end of the text? How do you know?
1 OK, well turn on the oven first To instruct/teach someone how to do something Beginning – I know that when cooking you generally turn on the oven to start with so that it’s at the right temperature.
2 In conclusion, bikes should only be ridden on the footpath.
3 Once upon a time …
4 After we visited the museum, we returned to school.
5 The tallest hardwood tree in the world the mountain ash.
6 This leads to soil erosion.

As the exercise above demonstrates, text types occur in order to achieve a goal or social purpose. In order to achieve its purpose a text type has a particular structure, with parts or stages which are clearly recognizable. Here is an example of a simple fairy story, or more technically, a narrative. It has been annotated to show its typical structure.

Social Purpose: To entertain and instruct trough dealing with unusual and unexpected development of events.

Text structure

Orientation                   Once upon a time in the middle of the forest, there lived a girl named Jane with her father, a poor woodcutter.

Complication with         One day, the little girl’s father did not come home from the forest a

Evaluation                     and Jane became more and more frightened that he had had an accident. She didn’t know what to do because she was very afraid of the dark

Resolution                    Finally she plucked up all her courage and headed out to the clearing where she thought her father had been that day. After two long hours searching, she finally found him. His foot had been trapped under a log and he couldn’t lift if himself. Jane helped her father to free himself and they went home happily.

Coda                            Jane was very glad she had not been too frightened to go in search

(optional stage              of her father.

which evaluates

events)

Some text types (e.g. narratives like the text above) are more fixed and predictable in structure than others because of the relative lack of change in the purpose they were created to achieve. However, for the most part text types are dynamic and change over time as the purpose they were established to achieve change. Text types are also intricately related to the culture in which they are created. This understanding of culture relates not only ethnicity or country but also to particular groups people belong to (e.g. secondary school students or religious groups).

Text Types and School Learning

In recent years a great deal of research in Australia has been carried out to investigate the text types which students need for learning at all levels of education. Knowing the structure and language features of such text types is very important because it enables students to successfully achieve the outcomes of the school curriculum. The table bellows how these text types can be related to some important outcomes across key learning areas.

No.

Common Curriculum Outcome

Text Type

1. Classify and describe phenomena Factual Description

Information Report

2. Explain how or why things come/came about

Explain impacts and consequences

Explanation
3. Describe changes over time

Retell events in the past

Factual Recount
4. Evaluate, analyse and assess issues

Argue a case

Discussion

Exposition

5. Entertain through telling a story Narrative

Literacy Recount

Literary Description

6. Summarise, analyse and respond to literary texts, artworks or performances Personal Response

Review

Devise or follow a set of instructions and record steps taken to achieve the great Procedure

Procedural Recount

Important text types for learning are included in our syllabus/curriculum documents (See Kurikulum 2004 and Standar Isi). These are often organized according to whether they are literary or factual. Literary text types, such as narrative, literary recount and literary description explore personal experience in order to evoke an emotional response. However, others, like review and personal response interpret other texts or artworks.

Factual text types function to present information for purposes such as describing, explaining, instructing and arguing. It is important to note that all text types, factual and literary, represent the perspective of the producer of the text. This perspective often needs to be questioned and challenged by listeners, readers and, when texts are multimodal, by viewers too.

It is important to remember that different curriculum areas also require students to use different text types. Why Volcanic Eruptions Occur is an example of such an explanation which is a text type used to explain phenomena in areas such as Geography, Science and Maths. Auntie Peg’s Holiday, is an example of a text type (review) which does play an important role in these learning areas.

Unit 3

PERSONAL RECOUNTS

Personal Recounts are a text type that we use to retell events in which we were directly involved. For instance, if we tell a friend about a sporting event or a school trip we participated in, that would be a personal recount text. We are telling what happened and how we reacted to what happened. Personal Recounts are very common in conversations, letters, email, and school compositions. In Personal Recounts, we tell what happened during events in which we were directly involved.

  1. A. Read through the text quickly to answer these questions.
  • What is the purpose of the text?
  • Which part of the text gives you the background information needed to understand the text? What do you call this part of the recount text?
  • Does the text tell you what happened in time order?
  • What does the final paragraph tell you about?

A Trip to the Eden Project

Last Friday, our class traveled in the school bus to visit the Eden Project in Cornwall. It was a long ride to get there so we had to be at school an hour early, at eight o’clock. We brought our breakfast to eat on the bus.

When we arrived at the Eden Project, we could tell it was a big attraction by the size of the car parks, which were carefully laid out and named after fruits – we were in Plum Car Park. As we walked down, we could see the Eden Project buildings – two enormous plastic domes, built in a dip in the ground;

Mrs. Jeffries told us they were called ‘biomes’ and the dip used to be a claypit, where men had dug out the clay to use for making pots. We spent our morning going round the biomes, looking at the plants. One is kept very warm inside and filled with tropical plants like rubber trees, bamboo, spices, coconuts and pineapples. There are also displays of buildings and gardens from tropical countries. The other biome is not so warm and among the plants there are oranges, lemons, grapes and olives.

We had our lunch in the exhibition centre, where we watched a video about ‘The making of Eden’. The Eden Project was built to show how men and plants depend upon each other and it cost millions of pounds to build. Next we had a talk about the plants. A lady explained how you get cocoa beans and cocoa milk from a pod and use them to make chocolate.

We were allowed to look in the shop and spend two pounds. I bought some stickers and a postcard of a man building the biomes. Finally, it was time for the long ride home. We were back by half past three, just in time for the bell.

  1. B. Write in the blank provided what paragraph it is each of these contents of the text.

………………   lunch and the afternoon’s events (including information on the purpose of the Eden Project).

………………   arrival at the Eden Project and first impressions.

………………   the tour of Biomes (including information on the building of the Eden Project).

………………    the detail of who (our class), what (trip to Eden Project), when (last Friday, setting off early), and where (in Cornwall).

………………   the end of the trip, return journey and arrival home.

  1. C. Language Features
  1. The text above is mostly written in the past tense because the trip was a specific event, which only happened once. However, the third paragraph, describing the project, is mainly in the present tense. Why is it so?
  2. Underline all the participants in the text. Are they specific or generic?
  3. Does the writer assume a high level of background knowledge on behalf of the reader? What makes you think so?
  4. The exact timings for the beginning and end of the excursion help establish that time is an important element in this chronological account. Why do they help us follow the story easier?
  5. Which of these are the common forms of personal recount text?
  • letter
  • autobiography
  • diary or journal
  • newspaper report
  • magazine article
  • write-up of a trip or activity
  • account of science experiment
  • biography
  • non-fiction book
  • obituary

Unit 4

INFORMATION REPORTS

Information Reports are a text type we use when we want to offer factual information about science reports about a class of plants, animals or objects and reference articles in encyclopedias or on the Internet often use this text type. In other words, Information Reports are factual text which describes the way things are, with reference to a whole range of phenomena, natural, cultural and social in our environment.

  1. A. Which of these are the common forms of report text?


  • Information leaflet
  • School project file
  • Tourist guide book
  • Encyclopedia entry
  • Magazine article
  • Non-fiction book (e.g. geography)
  • Letter
  • Letter to the editor


  1. B. Read this text paying attention at how the text is staged. Write the name of each of the stages

Text Structure

Butterflies

Butterflies belong to the order of insects known as Lepidoptera. This means they have scaly bodies and wings, and a feeding tube on the front of the head, called a proboscis, coiled up when not in use. Their wings may be large, brightly coloured and patterned. Butterflies are found in most parts of the world and different species are adapted to the environments in which they live.

Like all insects, the butterfly’s body is divided into three parts: head, thorax and abdomen. On the head are a pair of antennae, used for smelling, fore and hind – grow from the thorax. The wings are made of a very thin membrane, stretched over a framework of ‘veins’, in the same way as the skin of an umbrella is stretched over the frame. Tiny overlapping scales on the membrane give the wings their pattern and colour.

Male butterflies tend to be more brightly coloured than the females but the females are larger. They also hove bigger wings, enabling them to fly even when they are carrying a heavy burden of eggs. A female butterfly may lay up to 3,000 eggs, always choosing the appropriate plant for the caterpillars to feed on. However, usually only one or two eggs out of a hundred hatch out and may others die as they grow through the stages of larva (caterpillar) and chrysalis (pupa) to become an imago (adult butterfly).

The imago usually has al lifespan of only a few weeks. It feeds on nectar from flowers or other sweet food, such as over-ripe fruit, which it sucks up through the proboscis. This food provides energy to fl and reproduce, but most butterflies do not need any body-building foods to see them through their short lives. In fact, a few species have mouthparts that do not open so they cannot feed.

  1. Discuss whether these statements are true (T) or false (F) about Information Report texts.
  1. The difference between report and recount is that report text is usually non-chronological.
  2. Learning to organize report text involves learning to categorize information.
  3. The first paragraph of the text is introductory information about what is to be described: who, what, when, where (overall classification).
  4. Information Reports are written in the present tense (except historical reports).
  5. The writing often involves the use of technical words and phrases.
  6. Third-person writing is used.
  7. The nouns/noun groups and pronouns are usually general/generic (not referring to particular people or things).
  8. The text is organized chronologically.

Unit 5

EXPLANATIONS

Explanations are a text type we use when we want to tell how something works or why something works as it does. It is more about processes than things. In the school curriculum, explanations are often found in Science and Social Studies.

  1. A. To get familiar with a genre of a text, it is good to have these questions in mind when we read it.
    1. What do you think we might use this sort of a text in our society?
    2. Look at the beginning of the text. What do you think the writer is doing here? What does the beginning of this text tell the reader?
    3. Is it the same as the beginning of a Report?

Why do people die if they stop breathing?

In order to stay alive, human beings need a constant supply of oxygen (a gas found in the air) to all parts of the body. They also need to rid their bodies of a waste gas called carbon dioxide, which would otherwise poison them.

These two gases are carried round the body in the blood. Veins carry blood to the heart and arteries carry blood away from the heart. Both veins and arteries divide into millions of tiny capillary blood vessels. Gases can move between the blood in the capillaries and the tiny cells which make up the human body.

When a human being breathes in, the air goes down into the lungs, which are like two spongy bags filled with millions of air sacs. Oxygen from the air passes through the sacs into the capillary blood vessels. The blood then carries the oxygen through a vein to the heart.

The heart pumps this oxygen-carrying blood around the whole body through arteries which divide into capillaries to reach the body cells. Oxygen passes from the blood to the cells, and carbon dioxide (the waste gas) passes from the cells into the blood. Veins take this waste-carrying blood back to the heart, which pumps it back to the lungs. There the carbon dioxide passes into the air sacs.

When the human being breathes out, the carbon dioxide is pushed back out into the air. Breathing in and out is therefore essential because it ensures that life-giving oxygen is constantly replaced and poisonous carbon dioxide expelled.

(Sue Palmer, 2001)

  1. B. Some Points for Discussion

Generic (schematic) structure of Explanation genre generally consists of

  • a general statement to position the reader
  • then sequenced explanation of why/how something occurs (usually a series of logical steps in the process.

The organizational structure of the text can be more easily understood from this diagram.

This sequence continues till final stage of being or thing is produced.

  1. C. Questions:
    1. d. Volcanoes
    2. e. Earthquakes
    3. f. How a Jellyfish Stings
  1. Identify which part of the text which gives general statement to position the reader.
  2. Which parts of the text tell sequenced explanation of why/how something occurs?
  3. Explanations focus on generic, non-human participants. Circle all the generic participants in the text.
  4. One of the language features of Explanation texts is material (action) processes/ verbs. Underline all these verbs.
  5. Some passives are used in the Explanation text to get Theme right. What does this mean?
  6. As the text explains how or why things as they are, the language used shall reflect this, such as the use of temporal and causal conjunctive relations. List all these words.
  7. Which of these titles suggest that the texts are Explanations?


    1. How Does a Car Engine Work?
    2. How to Make a Kite
    3. Volcanic Eruptions
  1. When you explain something, does it necessarily produce an Explanation text type?

Unit 6

POSITIONS/PERSUATIONS/

ARGUMENTS

Expositions are a text type we use when we want to offer opinions, give suggestions and convince people to take particular actions. For instance, maybe our friends want to play badminton, but we want to go swimming. When we try to persuade each other, we are using Expositions. In the Expositions the emphasis is on persuading someone to your point of view. We might be arguing simply to justify a position/interpretation (“persuading that”), or we might be arguing that some sort of action be taken (“persuading to”).

Let’s have a look at the characteristics of Expositions.

  1. A. Fill up the blanks with an appropriate name for each of the paragraphs.

Persuading to …

(Hortatory Exposition)

Dear Sir

On behalf of the residents of …, I would like to express our concern at the unreasonable amount of pollution created by the steel works in our area.

The pollution is increasing and causing many problems for the neighbourhood.

  • The sulphur fumes cause breathing difficulties when a north-easterly blows.
  • The ash from the stack makes the washing dirty.
    • The coal tracks are ruining the roads and making sleep impossible for shift-workers.

We would like to suggest that an enquiry be held into the running of the steel mills and the impact of the local community.

We hope that you will give this matter serious consideration at our next meeting.

Yours sincerely,

Bruno Ballo

Persuading that …

(Analytical Exposition)

I think it’s good to be bald.

Firstly you don’t have to wash your hair.

Secondly you don’t have to comb your hair.

And thirdly you don’t have to go to the barber.

So you’re lucky if you’re bald

(Derewianka, 2001)

  1. B. Which of these are the linguistic features of expositions?
    1. possibility of technical terms related to the issue.
    2. variety of verb (process) types – action (material), linking (relational), saying (verbal) and mental
    3. mainly timeless present tense when presenting position and pints in the argument
    4. frequent use of passives to help structure the text
    5. actions are often changed into “things” (nominalised) to make the argument sound more objective
    6. connectives associated with reasoning (therefore, so, because of, the first reason, etc.)
    7. use of emotive words (concern, unreasonable amount, I strongly believe, etc.)
    8. use of verbs such as should
  1. C. Points for Discussion.
  1. Because we use Expositions to express our opinions, we use verbs of belief, such as think, believe and feel, and phrases such as I am convinced that …, in our opinion and from my point of view. What are the words/ phrases in the text above used to express opinions or beliefs?
  2. What is the difference between the two texts above in terms of their social purposes?
  3. Which of the following are some common forms of expositions?
  • Convincing a friend to lend you the car
  • Newspaper editorials
  • Political speeches
  • Telling how things happen
  • Sermons
  • Certain essays
  • Letter to the editor
  • debates

Exercise

Study these texts to answer these questions.

1)      Identify the social purpose and the text type of each of the texts below?

2)      Identify the generic text structure and then try to label the stages of each text according to how they function to achieve the text’s purpose?

3)      Identify the significant language features of each of the texts. These questions may guide us:

  • What participants are in the text – specific/individualized or generic?
  • What are the grammatical features dominant or significant in each of the texts? (verbs/adverbials/tenses/connectors/ conjunct-ions/etc.)
  • What are the significant lexical features in each of the texts? (emotive words/modals/etc.)

Text 1

Why Hats Should be Worn in the Play Ground

Students should always wear hats in the school playground to protect their skin and eyes.

Firstly, hats protect the skin from sunburn. As we know, lunch and recess are during the sunniest part of the day. Without hats, students’ skin would get very burnt and that could cause skin cancer.

Secondly, hats can help prevent eye damage from the sun. Even on cloudy days there can be a lot of glare from the sun. Hats help to prevent some of the glare so that we don’t have to squint and hurt our eyes.

In conclusion, hats should be worn in the play ground at all times.

Text 2

Time to Give Mary the Chop

Last week it was proved beyond any shadow of doubt that Mary Stuart, the former Queen of Scots, has been plotting yet again against the life of our dear queen, Elizabeth. It is clearly difficult for our beloved monarch to consent to her on cousin’s death, but after nineteen years of threat and betrayal, surely the time has come to sign Mary’s death warrant?

The foolish Queen of Scots was long ago rejected b her own countrymen. During her brief but turbulent reign, Scotland suffered religious unrest, lack of leadership and eventually a bloody civil war. As a result, the Scottish people took away her crown and threw her into prison. When she escaped and fled to England, all Scotland sighed with relief to be rid of her!

Since then Mary has lived under Queen Elizabeth’s generous protection and at the expense of English taxpayers – in comfortable English county ever possible opportunity to plot against Elizabeth’s life! Surely such betrayal cannot be tolerated any longer?

Moreover, as long as Mary lives, there will be plots. This woman has always claimed to be the rightful Queen of England, and she always had the support of the King of Spin, who knows he can make her his puppet. Could any true Englishman want to exchange our wise, generous Elizabeth for this vain, selfish woman? Could anyone want our free, prosperous county to fall under the control of the power-crazed King of Spain?

It is hard for Elizabeth to sing the document that sends her own flesh and blood to the block. Yet sign it she must – for herself, for justice, and for the future of England.

Text 3

Why Volcanic Eruptions Occur

Volcanic eruptions often occur at the boundaries of two colliding of plates. These plate boundaries are called subduction zones.

When the two plates collide, one plate is forced underneath the other. Because the plate moves downwards, it heats up. This heating creates magma. As the heat and pressure continue to build up, the magma bursts through the crust. This results in hot lava and gases being released into the atmosphere along with rocks and smoke.

(Grammar and Meaning, p. 7)

Text 4

Auntie Peg’s Holiday

Auntie Peg’s Holliday was written by Robert Coleby and illustrated by Sarah Wilkins. The book is about Auntie Peg needing a holiday. She’d never had one before cause farms and holidays don’t go together. So, since she couldn’t go to Fiji, Fiji would have come to her.

The book was funny because Auntie Peg always did things the hard way. Even though farms and holidays don’t go, Auntie Peg was able to make her own holiday. I liked the way the illustrations were done because they put a lot of detail. For example, when Auntie Peg was doing her ironing ‘the hard way’ and the writing said ‘leaves and bits of earth were in the clothes,’ Sarah Wilkins actually put them there.

I’d recommend this book to all the family, especially farm families who need a holiday.

(Grammar and Meaning, p. 7)

Text 5

Telephones

A telephone is a device that transforms voices into electrical signals so that people can communicate over long distances.

Telephones have a number of parts. On the outside of the handset there is a mouthpiece, an earpiece and a keypad. Inside the mouthpiece is a microphone which contains a plastic disk called diaphragm. The earpiece contains a loudspeaker.

People talk to each other on the telephone through the microphones in the handset. The sound of the caller’s voice causes the diaphragm to vibrate. As it vibrates, it generates an electric signal that passes down the telephone line to the receiving telephone. When the receiving telephone gets the signals, the diaphragm in the earpiece loudspeaker also vibrates and recreates the sound of the person’s voice at the other end.

There are many different kinds of phones. Most home and office phones have keypads and many are now portable. Mobile phones are not physically connected to a network and can be used from almost anywhere. Videophones, which contain a small TV camera, give users a chance to see each other.

Text 6

Dear Mum and Dad,

We arrived in Cairns on Sunday and are staying in a small hotel next to the marina. It has a great pool and lovely tropical gardens. Yesterday, we snorkeled near the outer reef. Bob took some photos of the fish with his underwater camera. Tropical fish are amazing. Some are rainbow coloured and others have fluorescent stripes. Then bob noticed two reef sharks near the pontoon and called the instructor. She said that they were harmless, but I still felt scared. I loathe sharks!

Love Emily

Text 7

Place eggs, sugar and butter in a bowl and beat well. Add the flour and continue beating until ingredients are well combined. Carefully stirred the chopped fruit and toasted almonds. Place spoonfuls of the mixture onto a greased baking tray and heat in a hot oven for 15 minutes. When they are cool, sprinkle generously with sifted icing sugar.

Text 8

Trail bikes in National Parks have become a huge problem for park rangers and there are many reasons why they should be totally banned.

The first reason is that trail bikers cause a lot of damage to the native plants in the area. Riders make tracks through the bush and destroy many of the plants and trees. The tracks are used again and again which makes it hard for the plants to grow back. This also causes severe soil erosion.

The second reason is the noise from the trail bikes. This noise is very annoying and spoils the peace and the quiet of the park for visitors. It also scares many of the native animals away from their natural environment.

Another reason is the danger of riding in National Parks. Many riders go to isolated and rugged parts of the parks. This increases the risk of injury and means that riders are a long way from help if they have an accident.

All visitors to National Park should do their best to protect the natural environment for everyone to enjoy. Therefore trail bikes should be totally banned and there should be severe fines for anyone who is caught.

Text 9

Do We Still Need Zoos?

Zoos were originally set up so that people could see and learn about wild animals from distant lands. As more people become city-dwellers, never seeing animals in the wild, zoos began to house local creatures too. However, in today’s world, are zoos really necessary?

Since people can now see any sort of wild animal in its natural habitat, simply by tuning in to a TV programme or buying a video, some animal rights activists claim the zoos are out of date. They argued that it is cruel to capture animals, transport them long distances, and then keep them caged up, simply for the entertainment of the human beings. Captive animals often develop ‘zoochosis’- abnormal behaviour like rocking or swaying – which indicates that they are bored and unhappy in their prison-like conditions.

On the other hand, there is a huge difference between watching an animal on screen and seeing it in a real life. It could be argued that visiting zoo is educational, often increasing people’s concern for wildlife and conservation, which is of great importance in today’s developing – and overdeveloped – world. Indeed, sometimes the only way to save an endangered species may be to arrange for it to breed in captivity. Behind the scenes, zoos also provide scientists with opportunities to research into animal behaviour: modern zoos can also be better planned than old-fashioned ones, providing animals with carefully designed enclosures appropriate to their needs.

It seems, then, that there are still arguments for retaining zoos. These should, however, be carefully planned with the animals’ welfare in mind: in the modern worlds, there is no excuse for keeping the animals in cramped or cruel conditions.

Text 10

Dear Grandpa and Grandma,

Yesterday at my school we had International Day. We had performances, food stalls, displays, raffle ticket draw and some of us were dressed in costumes. We started our day off with performances but the one I liked best was one from fourth grade. It was about games. The performance I was in was called Labamba.

Straight after our performances we had our lunch. There were food stalls. They come from Australia, Arabic and Greece.

Everyone had a job. These people were from sixth grade. I did my job after I had a lunch. My job was to sell International Day books.

We had displays in the hall. These displays were good but I didn’t get to see them. The displays came from a lot of countries.

There was also a Trash & Treasure stall where they sell toys. The school got these things by asking the children to bring them in.

After lunch we had a raffle ticket draw. I didn’t win but a lot of people did.

Although I didn’t win anything, International Day was still fun.

Love from Huy

References:

Board of Studies NSW (1998) English K-6 Syllabus, Sydney: New South Wales Department of Education and Training, <http://www.bosnsw-k6.nsw.edu.au&gt;

Derewianka, B. (1991) Exploring How Texts Work, Sydney: Primary English Teaching Association.

Droga, L. and Humphrey, S. (2003) Grammar and Meaning: An Introduction for Primary Teachers, Berry NSW: Target Texts

Hayland, K. (2004) Genre and Second Language Writing, Michigan: The University of Michigan Press

Palmer, S. (2001) How to Teach Writing Across the Curriculum at Key Stage 2, London: David Fulton Publishers.

3 Responses to "Understanding Educational Genres"

good tutorial
thanks

thank U…..enjoy reading

what a clear explanation it is!

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