The Importance of Teaching Genre in the ELLs' Classrooms

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
NEMLA
contact email: 

Instructing English language learners (ELLs) in composition is a topic that has been widely debated in recent years. Finding ways for teaching ELL students is almost marginalized, though the number of ELL students is growing too fast in the USA institutions. Some scholars and texts suggest emphasis on certain concepts, such as grammar, to better teach writing to ELLs. All studies proved that grammar is not the only factor that can improve the ELL’s writing because there is still disempowerment in ELL writing. This disempowerment comes from treating language as the only barrier to ELL students, when in fact genre serves as an equally challenging barrier, if not more so. Genre has never been read or understood as a practical method for teaching composition to ELLs because many instructors focus on teaching ELLs grammar and sentence structure as opposed to content and argument. In addition, many instructors presume that all students know the differences between genres, such as literacy narratives and argumentative essays. By doing so, instructors ignore the fact that ELLs come from different cultural backgrounds that do not necessarily stress the same rhetorical genres and devices common to American composition. So, I think Teaching Genre in the classroom would be one of the best ways to bolster compositional instruction for ELLs. If these students are introduced to the concept of genre and get to know that each genre has its own style, audience, and terminology, then their writing will definitely improve. Finally, this roundtable will explore different methods, in particular the use of cultural texts that can be used to implement genre pedagogy in the hopes that these courses will help students to understand that there are different types of texts they can use to improve their compositional skills.