10 A Concept-based Approach to Teaching: Writing through Genre Analysis
Marilia M Ferreira [+]
FFLCH-University of São Paulo
James P. Lantolf [+]
School of Foreign Studies, Xi'an Jiaotong University; The Pennsylvania State University, Emeritus
The fourth chapter that deals with Concept-based Instruction is by Ferreira and Lantolf, ‘A Concept-based Approach to Teaching Writing through Genre Analysis.’ It is, however, not based on Gal’perin’s theory of instruction, but on the second important pedagogical interpreter of Vygotsky’s theory, V. V. Davydov, who designed a more flexible model for educating students in scientific concepts. One of the differences between Davydov and Gal’perin is that Davydov asks students to draw their own models of the concept under study, whereas Gal’perin presents them with a finished model to follow. The idea here is that through self-generated modeling of the concept, learners come to a deeper understanding of the concept; in addition, their understanding is open to observation by the instructor, who can then interact with the learners in order to help them modify their understanding when necessary. The chapter reports on a 16-week university ESL writing course in which the guiding concept was the System-Functional concept of genre as developed in the work of James Martin and his colleagues working in Australia. The chapter traces the performance of a subset of the students who participated in the course in terms of the models they produced to represent their understanding of three concrete genres: invitations, job application letters and argumentative/expository texts. The authors then attempt to link changes in learners’ understanding of the genre as reflected in their models with improvement in their writing performance as assessed by a team of independent raters.