Genres in geography, history and science

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Appendix to The Secret of Literacy

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Genres in geography, history and science

  1. 1. Genres  in  geography   Genre  family   Genre   Overall  purpose   Explaining   Sequential     To  present  a  sequence  of  events  (e.g.  the   formation  of  a  glaciated  feature)   Factorial     To  explain  multiple  causes  for  one   phenomenon  (e.g.  the  factors  involved  in   climate  change)   Consequential     To  explain  the  multiple  outcomes  from   one  phenomenon  (e.g.  the  effects  of  a   volcanic  eruption)   Descriptive     To  describe  a  phenomenon  –  the  text   starts  with  a  classification  of  the   phenomenon  and  then  describes  it  (e.g.   the  structure  of  urban  areas)     Classifying     To  classify  and  then  describe  phenomena   (e.g.  types  of  moraine)   Compositional   To  describe  the  parts  of  a  whole   phenomenon  (e.g.  human  and  physical   factors  of  industrial  location)   To  instruct  on  how  to  do  an  activity  (e.g.   where  instructions  are  given  on   conducting  fieldwork)   Reporting   Procedural   Instructional   Arguments   Exposition   To  give  one  point  of  view  –  this  is  not  as   common  in  geography  where  balanced   approaches  are  normally  given  (e.g.   argument  in  support  of  a  wind  farm)   Discussion   To  discuss  two  or  more  points  of  view   identifying  the  issue,  giving  arguments   from  both  sides  and  then  a  resolution   (e.g.  discussion  on  the  impact  of  tourism   in  Loch  Lomond  and  the  Trossachs   National  Park)   Interpretation   This  is  a  common  activity  in  the   geography  class  where  pupils  are  asked  to   interpret  the  meaning  of  a  text  (e.g.  in  a   text  describing  tourist  activities  the   question  might  be:  What  problems  do   you  think  are  caused  by  jet  skiers?)     Text  responses     Adapted  from  www.strath.ac.uk/media/faculties/hass/.../Geography_genre_outline.docx.    
  2. 2. Genres  in  history   Genre  family   Genre   Overall  purpose   Recording   Autobiographical   recount   To  retell  the  events  of  your  own  life     Biographical  recount     Historical  recount   To  retell  the  events  of  another  person’s   life   To  retell  events  in  the  past     Historical  account   To  account  for  why  events  happened  in  a   particular  sequence       Explaining   Factorial  explanation       To  explain  the  reasons  or  factors  that   contribute  to  a  particular  outcome       Consequential   explanation       Arguing   To  explain  the  effects  or  consequences  of   a  situation       Exposition     To  put  forward  a  point  of  view  or   argument         Discussion       To  argue  the  case  for  two  or  more  points   of  view  about  an  issue       Challenge     To  argue  against  a  view     Source:  Adapted  from  Caroline  Coffin,  Learning  the  Language  of  School  History:  The  Role  of  Linguistics   in  Mapping  the  Writing  Demands  of  the  Secondary  School  Curriculum,  Journal  of  Curriculum  Studies   38(4)  (2006),  413–429.      
  3. 3. Genres  in  science   Genre  family   Genre   Overall  purpose   Doing  science     Experiments   To  instruct  someone  in  how  to  make  or  do   something   Practical  reports   To  provide  a  recount  of  the  method   undertaken  in  an  experiment,  as  well  as  the   results  and  the  conclusions   Investigations   To  investigate  a  scientific  phenomenon  by   combining  aspects  of  the  experiment  and   practical  report  genres   Acknowledging  scientists     Biographical  recounts   To  recount  the  major  events  in  a  famous   scientist’s  life   Describing  and   organising  scientifically     Descriptive  reports   To  describe  the  features  of  scientific   phenomena   Comparative  reports   To  compare  the  features  of  two  or  more   examples  of  a  phenomenon     Compositional  reports   To  organise  knowledge  according  to  the   component  parts  of  a  phenomenon   (whole/part)     Classifying  reports   To  organise  knowledge  according  to  a  system   of  classification  (class/subclass)     Sequential  explanations     To  explain  a  scientific  phenomenon  by   presenting  the  events  producing  the   phenomenon  in  chronological  order   Causal  explanations   To  explain  a  scientific  phenomenon  by   presenting  the  events  producing  the   phenomenon  in  chronological  order  with   reasons  included   Factorial  explanations     To  explain  the  multiple  factors  that   contribute  to  a  particular  phenomenon   Consequential   explanations   To  explain  the  multiple  factors  that   contribute  to  a  particular  phenomenon,   whilst  focusing  on  the  consequences   Theoretical  explanations   To  define  and  then  illustrate  a  theoretical   principle  or  law   Analytical  arguments   To  present  arguments  on  an  issue  in  order  to   persuade  the  reader/listener  to  agree  with  a   particular  point  of  view   Explaining  events   scientifically       Arguing  and  challenging   aspects  of  science         Hortatory  arguments   To  persuade  the  reader/listener  to  take  some   action   Discussion     To  present  the  case  for  more  than  one  point   of  view  about  an  issue     Challenge     To  challenge  an  established  point(s)  of  view   Adapted  from  John  Polias,  Assessing  Learning:  A  Language-­‐Based  Approach.  I  Symposium  (2006).   Available  at:   http://www.su.se/polopoly_fs/1.84020.1333710072!/menu/standard/file/2006_3_Polias.pdf,  p.  46.  

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