Since the beginning of the semester, I have learned more than I expected to about all the different writing genres. Because I have been in school for so many years and have written in all the genres we have learned about in this course, I felt as though I understood them all fairly well. However, once I read Tompkins (2012) and participated in each of the genre presentations, I was proved very wrong. I became aware of aspects of each genre and their specific features I didn't know existed, and learned how to apply each genre both in my own writing and in my practice as a teacher.
As I stated, I had a surface level understanding of most of the genres before we researched them this semester. I understood the general structures of genres such as the narrative writing and biographies; I understood their formats and the basic terminology used within the genres. However, I did not know the specific aspects of narratives and memoirs, such as the importance of scaffolding theme, or using autobiographies to form detailed writing pieces.
I was thankful to have learned about both the expository and persuasive genres, two forms of writing which I did not know very much about but have a much better understanding of now. I use expository texts in practice quite often, but don't usually apply the genre to writing, when it's actually very important. I learned each of the expository text structures and their importance and learned how to apply expository writing in the classroom, even at the primary level. With persuasive writing, I did not know anything about the genre itself or how to use it with students. After researching it thoroughly and presenting the genre to the class, I understand its purpose and function in reading, writing, and speaking, and its importance in students' literacy development. I suppose these two genres still slightly intimidate me because I know the reality of their importance in student writing as they get older. I teach SAT prep classes to high-schoolers and we work on the essay portion for weeks, which is all persuasion, and every student has difficulty with it. It is my goal to understand the genres my students must understand in order to help them the best I am able, and this course significantly made a difference.
There were genres I had a significant understanding of, such as the
poetry and letter writing
genres, in which I did not feel as though I gained too much more
information from the presentations. However, from each and every
presentation I became much more comfortable with applying the genre in
practice at different levels, and was extremely appreciative of each
group incorporating text lists into their presentations, creating a
reference for each grade level for future use. I think this was
important because many times educators forget to use simple resources
like picture books or novels to help explain an idea, when they truly
can be very beneficial.