Preparation and Implementation of a Genre-Based Approach in a Non-Academic EFL Classroom

| March 10, 2014

March 2014

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Preparation and Implementation of a Genre-Based Approach in a Non-Academic EFL Classroom


Matthew Davies


Matthew Davies is an adjunct lecturer at The University of Shimane and is a principal teacher at Excellent English School in Shimane, Japan. He has taught English for more than 9 years and has extensive experience in curriculum design and teacher training. His research interests include collaborative learning, the task based approach to language learning, young learner autonomy and young learner assessment. He has completed a Masters degree in TEFL with Birmingham University.


This research paper reports the implementation of a short ESP genre-based writing course in a non-academic EFL classroom in which adult students learn English for non-specific purposes (e.g. personal pleasure or career development). To overcome some of the limitations in the conventional ESP genre-based approach (which in previous research is typically applied in academic / specialised classrooms) and to adapt the instruction to meet the needs and abilities of the students as well as the institutional teaching goals, a process genre approach was incorporated throughout the genre-based writing course. The steps involved in the preparation and conduction of the course were outlined in detail together with the theoretical considerations taken into account for each pedagogical process.

Fourteen novice Japanese students engaged in sequenced phases in the carefully designed process genre model. The implemented writing instructions were empirically evaluated based on descriptive analysis of macro data obtained from the participating students letters and the qualitative analysis of the students opinions about their own writing and the overall course. The findings showed the practical effectiveness of the genre-based pedagogy for developing the students genre awareness and improving their writing skills pertinent to the target genre. It was found that contextualisation of the genre through a preparatory role-play, facilitated discussions and the students examination of the various rhetorical features within genre exemplars were particularly helpful in raising the students genre awareness and emphasising the key factors affecting the given genre (i.e. purposes, audience and textual choices). The participants positive remarks on the course and the observed progress in their writing skills also signalled the efficacy of the implemented instructions. Although this research should be treated as a preliminary study of the potential implementation of a genre-based approach for a non-academic EFL teaching environment, there was corroborating evidence to support the stance that the genre-based approach (with careful planning) could be effectively applied in similar teaching contexts which are non-conventional to the general ESP genre-based approach.

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