Date of Award

8-1-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Jeannine M. Fontaine, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Nancy Hayward, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Mary R. Jalongo, Ph.D.

Abstract

This qualitative study explores genre awareness of a specific group of Thai EFL learners in a Thai university context. It aims to examine the impact of explicit writing instruction on the target genre on the learners‘ awareness of genre, as well as the relationship between the learners‘ previous reading-writing experiences and their writing of the target genre. Multiple qualitative data collection methods were employed in the study: class observation, semi-structured interviews of teachers and students, and examination of students‘ texts. The ten weeks‘ observation was done in three writing-based classrooms, namely Introduction to Public Relations Writing, Academic Writing, and Article Writing. The findings of class observation and teacher interviews demonstrated that the three teachers employed mostly traditional product-centered approaches that consider the teacher‘s role as a judge and corrector. Sample texts representing models of the target genre were provided in two classes, reflecting the course teachers‘ pedagogical belief that students can learn to write through imitation of model texts. Analysis of student and teacher interviews and student texts led to the following findings: the course teachings played an important role in students‘ learning of the target genre; students used sample texts as their models when writing the target genre, and generally felt that more sample texts would have been helpful; students‘ awareness of the target genre as shown in student text, as a result of formal instruction, was predominantly aimed at matters of writing format; students claimed to improve their knowledge of language and writing from reading non-academic related genres in English outside of the classroom; and they felt that reading texts related to the target genre could help students better understand how to write the target genre. The study concludes by suggesting that writing teachers might benefit from utilizing genre-based approaches to their teaching, with an emphasis on ―moves‖ analysis, a factor that was not featured prominently in the teaching methodologies taken in these three classes. Writing teachers may also emphasize the role that reading plays in writing and encourage students to read various genres outside class, so as to be exposed to different written genres and styles.

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