Challenges of Selecting Model Texts in Genre

Challenges of Selecting Model Texts
in Genre-based Writing Classes
Ibtesam Hussein
April, 2014
Discussion Questions
• Which model do you think is the best for your
students? Why?
• How do you usually select models for your
• How do you usually use model texts in your class?
Watson (1982) defined models as “the product of
other people’s writing, not the student’s own product,
and it is the product not the process of writing that is
observed” (p. 6).
A model is also seen as “a text written by a specific
writer in a specific situation that is subsequently
reused to exemplify a genre that generalizes over
writers in such situations” (Charney & Carlson, 1995,
p. 90).
Selection of Model Texts
Expert model texts
Novice models
Authentic and specially written models
Selection of appropriate model texts is a factor in the
value of those models (Charney & Carlson, 1995)
Criteria for Selecting Models
L2 writing instructors need to be “analytical and
critical readers” (Stolarek, 1994).
Stolarek (1994) suggests that writing instructors
should endeavor to “develop an awareness of the
linguistic features which define a particular form of
writing, and to select models which present those
features in a manner which is most accessible to
students” (p. 170)
Stolarek (1994) writes: Instruction in which modeling
works best would be characterized by a clear
conception on the part of the instructor of what,
exactly, is to be modeled, along with the presentation
of a model which clearly exemplifies the
characteristics which are to be modeled (P. 178).
Noticing is defined as “awareness of a stimulus via
short-term memory” (Qi & Lapkin, 2001, para 4).
Research in second language acquisition, cognitive
psychology and cognitive science agrees that
attention or noticing is significant for learning to
Context for a graduate-level writing course
Research Questions
Quantitative component
Is there a measureable change / progress/ improvement?
Qualitative component
Does providing students with quality model texts of a
variety of genres (genre awareness) in a genre-based
writing course have a positive impact on improving
international graduate students` academic writing?
Does explicit focusing (noticing) of a particular area of
language use in a specific writing genre improve
performance in that aspect of language use?
A total of fifteen international graduate students
(Saudi Arabia, Libya, Bangladesh, Columbia and
China) enrolled in TL 524 Academic Writing for
Dissertations and Publications course at Washington
State University (WSU).
Data collection and analysis
The graduate writing based genre class lasted for four
• Students’ rubric
• Rating rubric
• Field notes
Preliminary Results
• Ss made a progress
Multiple Models
• Modeling texts
• Student models
• Faculty models
• Published models (student selected)
• Modeling instruction
• Responsive classrooms
• Instructional tools (technology)
• Modeling professional discourse
• Oral
• Written
• Provider Perspectives on the Use of Assistive Technology
for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities (Wilcox, Guimond,
Campbell & Weintraub Moore, 2006
• Words associated with expressing perspectives
• Predictions around study type (design, instruments,
sample size, analysis)
Paragraph Organization
Word and Sentence Choices
Other Activities…
Reconstruction activities
Definition: activities that require students to
reconstruct a text or diagram by filling in missing
words, phrases or sentences, or by sequencing text
that has been jumbled.
Texts used: modified texts - the teacher modifies the
original text, taking out words, phrases or sentences,
or cutting the text into segments.
Types of activities:
Text completion (Fill in missing words, phrases or
Sequencing (Arrange jumbled segments of text in a
logical or time sequence.)
Grouping (Group segments of text according to
Table completion (Fill in the cells of a table that has
row and column headings, or provide row and
column headings where cells have already been
filled in.)
Diagram completion (Complete an unfinished
diagram or label a finished diagram.)
Prediction activities (Write the next step or stage of a
text, or end the text.)
Analysis activities
Definition: activities that require students to find and
categorize information by marking or labeling a text
or diagram.
Texts used: unmodified texts
Types of activities:
Text marking (Find and underline parts of the text
that have a particular meaning or contain particular
Text segmenting and labeling (Break the text into meaningful
chunks and label each chunk.)
Table construction (Draw a table. Use the information in the text to
decide on row and column headings and to fill in the cells.)
Diagram construction (Construct a diagram that explains the
meaning of the text. For example, draw a flow chart for a text that
explains a process, or a branch diagram for a text that describes
how something is classified.)
Questioning (Answer the teacher's questions or develop questions
about the text.)
Words and Phrases
Graphic Organizers
Ignoring the process of writing (Collins & Gentner,
1980; Werner, 1989; Abbhul, 2011).
Presenting students with model texts is meant to
present them with a model of how “good writers
organize, develop and express their ideas”
(Smagorinsky, 1992, p. 162), particularly in genre
writing classes
1. Form groups of 3
2. Choose a writing genre. Some examples include
narrative, critical analysis
Argumentative essay
science report
Compare/contrast essay
historical interpretation
3. Model the genre
What techniques from our presentation would apply?
4. Share out and discussion
Thank you
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