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Genre knowledge and teaching professional communication

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1 Author(s)
Paltridge, B. ; Sch. of Linguistics, Auckland Univ. of Technol., New Zealand

Recent years have seen increased attention to the examination of the genres that people use in professional communication. C. Berkenkotter and T.N. Huckin's book “Genre Knowledge in Disciplinary Communication” (1995) is an important contribution to this discussion. Their view of genre has important implications for the teaching of professional writing. Their view gives us an insight into the ways in which people both acquire and use genre knowledge as they participate in the knowledge-producing activities of their field or profession. It shows us how important the process of genre acquisition is in the learning of disciplinary genre knowledge. Linguistic knowledge is necessary for effective communication, but it is not sufficient for writers to achieve their goals. Just as important, writers need to understand the underlying views, assumptions and aims of a field. They need control of the rhetoric through which they are expressed. They also need to understand the history, knowledge and expectations of their particular area, and to locate their writing clearly within the context of this work. The notion of genre can provide students with the tools for both recognizing and adapting to the changing genre landscapes that their professional lives will travel across. While we cannot hope to predict all of our students' possible future genre needs, we can help them ask questions of texts, of contexts, and of themselves, so they can produce and understand the kinds of texts which they need to control in their professional lives

Published in:

Professional Communication, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:43 ,  Issue: 4 )