Text genres and L1 education

Submitted by: Bernard Schneuwly
Abstract: Text genres are since ever a fundamental category for organizing L1 education: through classical school genres like, in French for instance, “narration, description, dissertation” or in German, “Bericht, Erzählung, Beschreibung, Schilderung, Abhandlung, Betrachung”, the teaching of writing was systematically organized in a pedagogical progressive order. In the context of deep changes in this matter towards what is often called a communicative approach since circa the 1970es and more systematically since the 1990s, other text genres entered school and the concept of text genre itself changed, referring to different linguistic, semiotic and literary theories (see, for instance, Rose and Martin, 2012, for Australia; Bunzen, 2004, for Brazil; Chartrand & Emery-Bruneau, 2015 for Québec). These changes happened more or less simultaneously in many countries all over the world and still go on in others. The symposium on text genres and L1 education aims at documenting these transformations in a comparative approach, with particular attention to teaching writing: researchers coming from different countries where text genres play a significant role in L1 curricula (Brazil, Portugal, Spain and French speaking Switzerland) will discuss about text genres perspectives in L1 education in their respective country, by following freely a common grid of presentation (see Schneuwly and Cordeiro, 2016):
- the place text genres occupy in syllabi (study plans) within a historical perspective;
- the main teaching methods, textbooks or teacher training projects developed for teaching text genres used to implement the study plans;
- the main theoretical references, be they linguistic, literary, pedagogical or, in European terminology, didactic.
The discussion will focus on common features and on differences concerning the concept of text genre, its place in school programs and the ways text genres are studied and taught in L1 education.
The general aim of the symposium is to lay the foundations for creating a Special Interest Group of ARLE on “Text genres and L1 education”.

Bunzen, C. (2004). O ensino de “gêneros” em três tradições: implicações para o ensino-aprendizagem de língua materna. In : Covre et al. (2004). Quimera e a peculiar atividade de formalizar a mistura do nosso café com o revigorante chá de Bakhtin (pp. 221-257). São Carlos: Grupos de Estudos dos Gêneros do Discurso.
Chartrand, S., Emery-Bruneau, J. & Sénéchal, K. (2015). Caractéristiques de 50 genres pour développer les compétences langagières. Québec : Didactica, c.é.f.. En ligne : http://www.enseignementdufrancais.fse.ulaval.ca.
Rose, D. & Martin, J. R. (2012). Learning to write, reading to learn. Genre, knowledge and pedagogy in the Sydney School. Sheffield: Equinox.
Schneuwly, B. & Cordeiro, G. S. (2016). Le genre de texte comme objet autonome d’enseignement : comparaison de deux approches didactiques. In G. S. Cordeiro & D. Vrydaghs (Ed.), Statuts des genres en didactique du français (pp. 83-108). Namur : Presses universitaires de Namur.

Keywords: Text genres – writing – L1 education – syllabus – teaching methods