In this week's blog entry, I wanted to think about and discuss the two genres that have been presented on in class so far -- the persuasive and expository genres. I believe that these are two valuable genres that can be effectively used in classrooms to expose students to more than just "fiction" and "non-fiction". By introducing a wide variety of genres to students and teaching them the nuances and characteristics of each respective genre, it helps improve their ability to interact with and analyze a text. Ultimately, this will set them up to become better readers and writers.
Giving students an education in persuasive writing is often overlooked; it is rarely explicitly taught in the classroom. Students may be able to write proficiently in the persuasive genre, but I think teachers need to be more proactive about explicitly teaching what should be included in a persuasive writing piece, and its typical characteristics. Persuasive writing can be used across content areas, but can be especially useful in an ELA classroom when discussing the topic of language and how to effectively use both oral and written language to tailor to one specific audience. Tompkins (2012) states that "when students have a clear purpose and a plausible reason for writing, they can adapt their writing to meet the needs of their readers" (pp. 252). This is an important skill for students to learn because persuasive language and writing is used in everyday real-life situations, even outside of the classroom. Tompkins (2012) does a good job of summarizing what students learn with the persuasive genre: "they learn to think critically, differentiate between persuasion and propaganda, analyze arguments, and use oral and written language effectively in their appeals" (pp. 252). These are all valuable and necessary skills for students to have and can be used with almost any text, theme, or idea in the classroom. My students just finished reading 1984 by George Orwell and are currently discussing the idea of government/politics and whether censorship is a good thing or if it is a violation of our privacy. After reading and hearing about the persuasive genre, I think it would be useful for them to stage a debate and critically analyze current event articles dealing with these issues. They would have to persuade other students that their view on the matter is correct and use findings/evidence from articles to support the points that they were making. This is just one example of the many different ways that I could implement the persuasive writing genre into my classroom.
The expository genre is also extremely valuable but often gets a bad reputation among students for being boring. By exposing students to fun and exciting information that's conveyed through the expository genre, it can open their eyes to the many positive aspects of expository writing. Tompkins (2012) describes expository writing as "used to explain something, provide instruction, or present information" (pp. 202). I don't think students realize how much they're actually exposed to the expository genre; for example, magazine or newspaper articles are considered expository. Incorporating magazines or newspapers into the classroom to learn about this genre would be a good way to motivate students and get them interested in writing.