Instructor Resources – All About Genres: Exploring, Research, and Analyzing

Students will learn to identify key features of genres, use specific techniques for studying and analyzing genres (genre studies and cultural-historical activity theory – CHAT), and produce texts with clear explanations of how genre conventions have been adhered to, modified, or even resisted in a particular production.


Learning About

Video –  Genres Part 1: Let’s typify that response

Description: A very short video that explains “genre” in a way similar to our program.

What is it good for? As it basically explains how we define genre, this video is great for getting into the right mindset for teaching in our program.

Student Readability Rating: 10 – This video is great for students!

Keywords: Genre

Author: The Word Bird


Video – Genres Part II: Let’s make activities happen

Description: This video explains how genres are used to get certain actions to take place.

What is it good for? Discussing with your students how a genre is “a text that makes an activity possible.”

Student Readability Rating: 10 – This video is great for students!

Keywords: Genre, Text, Power

Author: The Word Bird


Video – Understanding genre awareness

Description: A quick video on the importance of considering a genre’s conventions and contexts.

What is it good for? While we don’t use the term “centripetal sources” in our program, the explanation of genre awareness is a great one for our instructors and students to consider.

Student Readability Rating: 9 – This video is great for students!

Keywords: Genre, Genre Awareness

Author: CAES HKU


Video – Learning Outcome Episode 3: Voyages of the Genre Enterprise

Description: Created by a PhD student in our program, this cartoon follows two aliens who “investigate the difference between content research and genre research, exploring diverse forms and compositions, learning new skills and knowledge that will travel with them to future writing situations.”

What is it good for? It includes quite a few keywords related to genre research. Watch it with your students, and pause periodically to clarify the terms and concepts.

Student Readability Rating: 8- This video is great for students, but it might require you to clarify a few points for them.

Keywords: Genre, Genre Research, Genre Conventions, Antecedent Genres

Author: Michelle Wright Dottore


Video – Genre Analysis (Rhetorical Situation)_Part 5 of 6

Description: This video provides some strategies for analyzing different genres.

What is it good for? By comparing and contrasting the genres of Facebook statuses, letters, and research, this video can help you better understand the importance of analyzing a genre before creating it.

Student Readability Rating: 9 – This video is great for students!

Keywords: Genre Analysis, Conventions, Rhetorical Situation

Author: Mary Lourdes Silva


Our Favorite Grassroots Articles on Genre Research

Issue 3.2 – The Importance of Understanding Genre . . . and Memos

Description: In this article, Safran explores the reasons for researching and understanding a genre before creating it. Part of this process includes acknowledging the variances in expectations for various genres—they are not all formatted like essays! She conducts this exploration through a narration of her own experience learning the genre of the memo.

What is it good for? This article can serve multiple functions. It’s an example of the types of articles you’ll be assigning your students. It demonstrates one of our program’s main elements: researching genres. It explains why knowing how to write an essay often doesn’t translate to writing other genres, which is a lesson many of your students will need. Also, a writer’s memo is a common uptake genre in our program, so you and your students can use this article as a resource in many ways.

Student Readability Rating: 10 – perfect for students!

Keywords: Classroom Genres, Genre Revision, Workplace, Memo

Author:  Jessica Safran


Issue 4.2 Me, Me, Me: It’s All About Meme

Description: Katie Shoukry takes her readers through her process of researching and investigating memes, including, among others, some of her favorites: Socially Awkward Penguin and Condescending Wonka.

What is it good for? It’s a short piece that demonstrates not only genre analysis, but also the connection between genres and their audience.

Student Readability Rating: 10 – perfect for students!

Keywords: Design Elements, Genre Analysis, Social Media, Socialization

Author: Katie Shoukry


Issue 5.2 The Creation of a Personal Blog: Genre Bike Riding

Description: Mary Cullen takes the reader on a journey through the multiple stages she encountered when learning to compose in this way: piquing interest, choosing a style, finding teachers, training, making first attempts, practicing, experiencing the mishaps along the way, and finally reaching the overall goal.

What is it good for? As one of the longer articles published in this journal, it provides a very detailed explanation of the writer’s research process.

Student Readability Rating: 10 – perfect for students!

Keywords: Blog, Content Research, Research Process, Transfer

Author: Mary Cullen


Issue 7.2 Spreading Roots Presents: An Investigation of Recipes

Description: In this article, Langstaff looks deeper into the genre of recipes. She searches for what may be taken for granted in, or missing from, various recipes and how that might be connected to assumptions about antecedent knowledge and antecedent genre knowledge. She uses many different examples and research methods (including baking) to test her research theory and attempts to investigate the reception of specific recipes as well.

What is it good for? It’s written by an eighth grader who was taught by an ISU instructor, so it’s a very reader-friendly description of genre research.

Student Readability Rating: 10 – perfect for students!

Keywords: Antecedent Knowledge, Primary Research, Reception

Author: Hailey Langstaff


Background, In-Depth, and Related Resources

Book Chapter – Genre Pedagogies

Description: Amy J. Devitt’s chapter from the new edition of Tate et al., A Guide to Composition Pedagogies neatly summarizes the Genre Studies approach that we employ every day in our Writing Program classrooms. A pedagogy seminar full of veteran teachers in our program described Devitt’s synopsis of the field as the text they wish they had been given when they began Orientation.

What is it good for? Reading about three approaches to teaching writing through particular genres, genre analysis, and genre critique.

Student Readability Rating – 0 – This is definitely a resource for instructors, not students.

Keywords: Genre, Genre Analysis, Pedagogy

Author: Amy J. Devitt


Article – “Mutt Genres” and the Goal of FYC: Can We Help Students Write the Genres of the University?

Description: Elizabeth Wardle’s “Mutt Genres” article from College Composition and Communication is a foundational text for our approach to composition pedagogy. Wardle identifies a key problem in the field and provides a preliminary outline of a possible solution. The ISU Writing Program has taken up Wardle’s proposal and developed it further.

What is it good for? Helping you consider potential hazards of teaching genres in FYC and how to prevent yourself from including “mutt genres” in your course plan.

Student Readability Rating – 0 – This is definitely a resource for instructors, not students.

Keywords: Mutt Genre, FYC, Pedagogy

Author: Elizabeth Wardle


Audio – Huddle up! Purposefully Scrambling in the Writing Trenches for Productive Uncertainty

Description: Two PhD students in our program describe how “productive uncertainty” can “destabilize students’ fixed notions of writing, giving way for the opportunity to not only embrace failure, but also discuss context and culture as well as audience tools.”

What is it good for? Inspiring you to consider how destabilizing student ideas about genre (rather than beginning the lesson by immediately teaching or researching it) can help them realize the importance of genre research.

Student Readability Rating – 4 – While not difficult to understand, this resource is definitely intended for instructors, not students.

Keywords: Genre Research, Antecedent Knowledge

Author: Deborah Riggert-Kieffer and Dan Hummels


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