As I have been learning about the different genres in class I have begun to reflect on my schooling as a child. I do not recall explicitly learning about a number of the genres that have been introduced in class. Even as I student taught and been subbing in classrooms, I have not seen genres taught in the way we have in class. In general I have seen students learning fiction vs. non-fiction as well as poetry. Beyond this, genres are not really introduced from what I have experienced. With this experience, and the influence of class I plan to change this.
In my classroom I want to teach each genre explicitly. I would like for my students to know the characteristics for each genre and how they differ from each other. I would like my students to be able to feel comfortable in writing each genre. Not only should students know the characteristics that are specific to each genre, but they should also understand how the genre is flexible. An example is poetry. As we talked this week, many students see poetry to take a very structured form, which is not the case with the genre as a whole. There is room for creativity within poetry as well as any genre. We have also talked about persuasive writing in a previous class. This genre can also take a wide variety of forms, ranging from a video to an essay. This week we discovered the narrative and biography genres. I was asked to present on the narrative genre, but paired it with biography. It was a learning experience for me, as I was very unsure of how to mesh the two genres, let alone know enough about each. Prior to creating the presentation I had always seen the biography genre as a research project. This idea is far from the truth. I learned that biographies, like the other genres, can also take many different forms. The ideas I have learned from the presentations thus far will be extremely helpful in the classroom one day.
Not only have I learned the characteristics that set each genre apart from the others, but I was also forced to find how the narrative and biography genres overlap. This was an interesting finding for me, as I had not seen these two genres as similar before. The major overlap is the personal narrative, which is a story about an even that happened to you. After this presentation I began to think about the overlap that other genres have. An example is biographies can take the form of poems, as well as resemble an expository text format. I want my students to see these overlaps within the genres and not to see them as completely separate. I feel that this will help them to become stronger writers.As teachers we are expected to teach cross curriculum and have our students understand that writing and reading do not only take place during ELA time, and math is not only needed in math class. With this in mind I feel that students need to be able to mesh different genres together. Students will be required to choose the genre(s) and format they choose to write in that is the best way to get their message across. Writing is not only the words that are written on the page, but also how they are formatted and used with each other. Once my students have an understanding of the characteristics of each genre the use of the genres together will be a main focus in my classroom to make my students stronger writers. I was never introduced to this idea as a student, but I feel it would be helpful to my students to have this knowledge.