Table 1. Some genres of schooling
Retells a sequence of events, drawing on personal experiences.
Material and behavioural process clauses. Specific participants, personal pronouns, typically one actor. Additive and temporal conjunctions. Past tense.
Reports and evaluates problematic events and their outcome. Has a complicating action that results in an overall point to the story. Focuses on the action of participants in confronting problems.
Variety of process types and verb tenses for reporting past events and timeless generalizations. Pattern of participant roles changes, with more than one actor. Embedded clauses expand nominal groups. Conjunctive relations vary according to state of the narrative. Adverbs introduce information about manner and express judgment about behaviour. Themes mark passing time and help to structure the narrative.
Reports a sequence of events with general participants. Directions and instructions are subgenres of procedures.
Material process clauses. Timeless, simple present tense or imperatives. Directions tend to use declarative clauses in simple present tense with you/we/one as a generalized actor. Instructions use imperatives.
Relates a set of facts, using specific statements to back up general ones. Organized by classification or part-whole relationships. Focus on classes of things, rather than individuals.
Relational and existential process clauses describe characteristics and present generalisations. Material and behavioural process clauses describe activities. Generic participants, timeless verbs in simple present tense.
Adds causal links to a recount; tells why things happened in a sequence.
Nominalisations of events, relational verbs that realize causal relationships.
Explains and interprets a phenomenon.
Logical, not temporal, organization. Relational processes. Timeless verbs. Expanded nominal groups. Variety of clause themes.
Argues why a thesis has been proposed, with more than one argument presented in favour of the judgement. Relies on generalisation, classification, and categorization.
Nominal expressions name the arguments to be used, drawing on abstractions. Modality presents claims as possibilities. Reasoning with nouns, verbs, prepositions, requiring subordination and condensation. Markers of contrasts, classification, logical sequence.
Schleppegrell M. J. (2004), The language of schooling. A functional linguistics perspective, Mahwah, New Jersey.
Table 2. Genres in history
Genres in history
Adapted from Caroline Coffin (2006), "Learning the language of school history: The role of linguistics in mapping the writing demands of a secondary school curriculum", Journal of Curriculum Studies, 38 (4), 413-429.
Try to work out a similar table of genres for mathematics
2) provide concrete examples of the genres you identify. For example, what is it ‘to describe’ in mathematics
Use one of the tools to design a task for one or more subjects integrating language and content objectives. If you do this on your own, try to get some feedback from a language teacher.
Ask your students to make a short oral summary of a text they have read. Pick the language function summarize in tool 1 (language descriptors). Tailor language goals for strong and weak students.
Work with a colleague who teaches a different subject from you. Use one of the tools to find out common language objectives for the two coming weeks (or more).