Genre-based Teaching and Vygotskian Principles in EFL: The Case of a University Writing Course

| September 29, 2006
Genre-based Teaching and Vygotskian Principles in EFL: The Case of a University Writing Course

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Benedict Lin
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Bio Data
Dr Benedict Lin has recently joined the Nanyang Techonological University, Singapore. Prior to this, he was Associate Professor at the Nagoya University of Commerce and Business, Japan. He also previously taught postgraduate courses in Applied Linguistics and TESOL, as well as in-service courses for English teachers, at the SEAMEO Regional Language Centre in Singapore, and was a secondary school teacher for 19 years. Currently, he serves on the editorial boards of the Asian EFL Journal and the RELC Journal, a leading journal for language educators in Southeast Asia.

This paper documents an initiative in introducing a genre-based approach to EFL teaching in the Japanese university context, in a third-year writing program. Its aim is to illustrate how and why such an approach may be extended to EFL teaching. Principles based on the learning theories of Lev Vygotsky are first outlined, before the notion of a Curriculum Cycle deriving from them is introduced. Consequently, a lesson unit based on this Cycle, as well as the process and experience of designing and implementing the course, is described. Particular attention is paid to the roles played by model texts as well as contextual and textual exploration involving both teachers and students in the co-construction of knowledge and skills. The place of a functional view of language – in particular, grammar – in the course of instruction will also be briefly discussed, as will the limitations and inadequacies of more prescriptivist approaches. Although the focus is on the teaching of writing, it will be contended that such an approach and its principles are applicable to the effective learning of other language skills.

See pages 207-225

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 8 Issue 3