The genre approach, "involves the direct teaching of a range of genres through a cycle that includes modelling, joint construction and independent construction". (Green and Campbell 2003, 209). This approach to teaching writing stemmed from a specific criticism of process writing- that students were producing a surplus of narrative genre to the detriment of developing writing competency in other genres. Critics in the 1980s and 90s claimed that "children needed to be taught explicitly about the structural and textual features of a large range of text types, or genres" (Green and Campbell 2003, 133) and thus the genre approach to teaching writing emerged.
The genre approach promotes a selection of text types that are "modelled, jointly constructed with the teacher and then independently written by the children" (Derewianka, 1990, in Green and Campbell, 2003, 133). This is a useful approach to take, because when planning a writing program for students, many aspects of writing need to be considered, including "the nature of writing, the relationship between writing and reading [and] the way the social purposes of writing change for different groups in our culture."
(Green and Campbell, 2003, 132).
Cambourne, an early advocate of the process approach, outlines a number of optimum conditions for learning language (Green and Campbell, 2003, pp 46-47) of which many may be used as strategies within the genre approach. This essay will use these conditions as a vehicle for the strategies, tasks and resources employed through a genre approach to writing.
The most prominent of these conditions is Demonstration, which describes the fact that learners need to observe and be given many demonstrations of language use, and that teachers must be conscious of what they are modelling. Using this condition for learning language, modelled writing becomes a key strategy for learning writing in...