Characteristics of genre are the foundation

Originally when asked what “genre” was I thought it was a simple thing to define. To me it was a category that met a certain criteria for describing music and writing or movies. After reading the article by Dean’s “Genre Theory”, I realized that there was more to the word. The article breaks down genre into having characteristics and similarities between each other. The characteristics of genre are the foundation of understanding genre in different contexts.

The article opens with “Genre Theory” Explanations.

“The vises of genre theory that help it address instructional challenges underscore the new way genre is being defined.” As I read the intro it made me form a question “What does it mean for writing to be socially constructed?” but I did grasp Millers theory that a genre is used to accomplish action rather than the form a genre takes or the situation that it a rises.
I read that genres can be rhetorical, meaning that someone can choose from many choices in order to fulfill their needs based on each situation. Similar to asking someone a rhetorical question, that person can think about all of the options and try to find the best fit. Initially I didn’t understand but a classmate compared it to a rhetorical question and it helped me better piece the concept.

“Genres pervade lives. People use them, consciously and unconsciously, Creatively and formulaically, for social functions and individual purposes, With critical awareness and blind immersion, in the past and yet today. They shape our experiences and our experiences shape them.”

This I understood of course it was new to me but I got it. I had to Google both pervade (spread through and be perceived in every part of) and formulaically (containing a verbal  formula or set form of words; followed rule or style)

The concept that genres are dynamic is fairly easy to grasp. “Their ability to be flexible also contributes to their dynamic nature: because genres can adapt, they also change.”  Also, their ability of genres to respond to and affect situation is part of what makes them dynamic.

Flexibility and Stability: Genres are actions “recognize mothers day card due to things that are stable, you know its not a flyer for a fish fry” Each card can differ though due to pop ups, music, etc

“Because genres don’t exist in a vacuum, our response to a situation can be guided by past responses.” Helped me better understand the historical context of genre.

Things I didn’t understand:

-The situated characteristic. It operates under the “micro level” of context and that “Such a context differs slightly from traditional views of the rhetorical situation.”

-How do genres help people make sense of shared personal experiences?

Blend the Knowledge We Gain

A discourse community is group of people who share an understanding of basic values and assumptions, and how they communicate these goals. This is important to understand because we are all apart of discourse communities. After going over some assigned readings I realized that 3 writers Harris, Bartholomaes, and Barthes were trying to explain that we all have our own influences and styles of writing. Although that I true sometimes our variety of experiences and goals that we share can bring us together. Thus without us realizing we are “willingly” apart of discourse communities

Discourse communities are not a matter of boxing people in for a comparison of one group to another to see who’s more superior in their thoughts. I think of them as a means to help gain new ideas, feedback and knowledge from other people that may share the same thoughts as you. Therefor these communities can be helpful in many ways and you can branch from one to another.

John Swales’ has a reading that can help break down discourse communities. His six characteristics help define what a discourse community is. After applying his knowledge to the writings of Harris you can learn the significance of belonging to more than one community at one time.

Harris approves of a statement from Bartholomaes. The statement was “we write not as isolated individuals but as members of communities who beliefs, concerns, and practices both instigate and constrain, at least in part, the sorts of things we can say.” Harris also refers to a statement from Stanley Fish, “one is always simultaneously a part of several discourses, several communities, is always already committed to a number of conflicting beliefs and practices.”

Harris also approves of the statement Barthes makes which is “We do not write simply as individuals, but we do not write simply as members of a community either”, which is supported by another quote by Pratt: “People and groups are constituted not by single uni- fied belief systems, but by competing self-contradictory ones”.

After comparing and contrasting between the two statements Harris sums them up by saying “Our aims and intention in writing are this not merely personal, idiosyncratic, but reflective of the communities to which we belong”. I agree with his statement, I can honestly say that personally I can’t identify all “discourse communities” and I can’t explain why they exist. I do agree with the statements provided by all the writers. I can say that I think it is okay that discourse communities exist, because we get to learn new things and adopt new ideas from a variety of social classes, culture, races, languages and etc. Then we can come up with ways to blend the knowledge we gain, and share it with the world.

Being Flexible in my Learning

Two courses that I am currently taking at UNC Charlotte are Adolescent Psychology and then a Liberal Studies class (Citizenship and Service) that is service learning based. These two classes differ in which the way they are taught, and also in grading method. What it takes to get a good grade in one simply does not work when it comes to getting a good grade in the other.

In Citizenship and Service we are graded on how much volunteer work that we do. We host events to raise money for causes and to bring awareness. Most classes are facilitated around readings about service and topics on things like food insecurity, poverty, violence, abuse and etc. It isn’t a class where there is homework every night, quizzes, tests and essays its more discussion based. It’s a class where your work outside of class is what really teaches you and that’s what you’re graded upon.

Then there’s Adolescent Psychology. In this class there are weekly quizzes, some exams, note taking is crucial and you have to read chapters from a textbook on your own. You are responsible for the knowledge you obtain here. The slides presented in class don’t allow you to not read and you need the slides discussed in class to better understand what you read on your own in your textbook. It’s more of a teamwork thing to learn the material.

After reading Swales article, I think that the foundation for inquiry based learning and literacy lie within a discourse community. At the beginning of the reading “The concept of discourse community” the first characteristic Swales mentions is having an agreed set of common goals. Each class at UNC Charlotte has a set of Student Learning Outcomes, but I think that each class and its professor have different goals. Secondly, swale describes mechanisms of intercommunications, which for my classes is Moodle. Thirdly, are participatory mechanisms to provide information, which can be a textbook or a syllabus outlining each weeks learning objectives. The fourth characteristic talked about having more than one genre within a discourse community. The fifth characteristic Swales describes is the acquiring of specific lexis, which deals with class vocabulary. Lastly, the final characteristic is all about members with a degree of discourse expertise. At UNCC each class is taught differently and uniquely to fit its learning objectives and ways that information can be best received. It is such a diverse place of learning, which is very helpful when it comes to acquiring knowledge.

My two classes that I mentioned take different things in order to be successful. What makes you successful in one area doesn’t always guarantee success in another. It is important to be versatile in your learning. Maximizing all skills that have been learned naturally or taught is very important in order for you to succeed here at UNCC. I’ve learned to be flexible in my learning, because it can only benefit me.

The 5 Paragraph Outline friend or Foe?

As a first year college student you approach all your classes with your previous high school mindset. Throughout high school teachers give the run down on how college is going to be way more intense and how your work needs to be better but they never really prepare you for what is coming. I felt that way at least not speaking for everyone. As students in high school in our English and writing classes we’re taught to use the five-paragraph outline for all of our essays. We’re told to have a thesis and intro, 3 body paragraphs and a conclusion. That always seemed weird to me because even though it worked for simple papers I always wondered what am I to do when I get to college. In college I heard there would be longer essay requirements and possible dissertations and so I always wondered was the five paragraph essay guide really ordeal. Was if helpful or was it a hindrance? Friend or Foe to me?

Inquiry requires studying and researching a topic or question. You can also inquire using your own thoughts and experiences to further your knowledge on a topic. I believe writing without guidelines takes a lot of “inquiring”. When involving this in your personal writing it can help separate your work from others.

According to “Blaze’s Experience” that I read in a blog “We don’t need to be adapting our writing to fit a style or format, we need to create a style that is adapted to the ever changing subject we are writing about.  The five paragraph essay is hindering creativity and student exploration, and I think that is wrong.” I wasn’t completely convinced and so I had to do some more “inquiring” on the topic.

After reading “The Five-paragraph Essay and the Deficit Model of Education” I realized that inevitably at a young age when kids are just starting to write papers and essays and there are no guidelines, the paper would probably end up not being well put together. I realized the five-paragraph outline provides structure to papers and helps organize them. It dawned on me that without organization and structure in a paper it’s harder to understand or to simply embrace its content. I feel that to be a good writer it takes a lot of critiquing and practice. Teachers simply teach less time on teaching and allowing students to practice they just give you a guideline and you do what you take out of it yourself and hope for the best that your writing receives a good grade. When you just base your paper off of someone else’s idea of a good paper it means that your writing can lack the creativity you possess and can lack individuality if you aren’t a strong writer. Therefore I can see both sides of the argument surrounding “The Five-paragraph Essay and the Deficit Model of Education” and I can say that it is both a friend and a foe and therefore I look at it as a friendneme (friend/enemy).

After reading “The Elements of Literacy” I was able to understand “literacy” itself more. According to me if you could read and write, and then articulate back to me what you wrote or even what you understood from what you were reading then you were literate. I never used a few grammatical errors or even writing style to judge whether someone was literate or illiterate. I never did so simply because I know some people are better at expressing a point through talking rather then writing. I also know some people are good readers but they can’t explain what they may have just read about. Defining what it means to be literate before calling someone illiterate is very important.

Rambling about Good Writing

Literacy is “the quality or state of being literate”, it is being “versed in literature or creative writing having knowledge or competence” according to a source. When I think of the term I think of being able to read, write, and talk properly even when not always being grammatically correct. I also compare it to the term being illiterate only because my generation uses illiterate too loosely.

It can be hard to be a good writer these days. Good writing is writing that makes a difference, writing the can win the hearts and minds of its readers. Qualities of good writing according to some sources are well-developed content, good organization, and a writer’s strong voice. Some qualities that I find in good writing are, a sense of passion, humor, hyperbole, imagery, and a storyline that keeps me wanting to continue reading non stop until I finish. Some qualities that you would not find in good writing are no change. I think as a writer your writing should evolve. In good writing you wouldn’t find many grammatical error, and unanswered anticipated questions and etc.

In writing or communication something that “grinds my gears” is when people misuse your and you’re, their, there, and they’re in writing. I struggle sometimes myself but I feel like the teenagers overly misuse it in my generation. I see it mostly on social media and I just silently hope that the teens cover those areas better when it comes to their schoolwork.

A professor at Georgia Perimeter College made a blog post about “Teaching as Unteaching” and it has some interesting points pertaining to writing. The post discusses contradictions, conjunctions, using “I’ and “you in your writing. In addition to that it talks about the re-wiring of students brains when it comes to writing papers. What I got out of it is that your writing will change throughout your academic career and that as you evolve so will your writing. Also I learned to be able to take constructive criticism when it comes to your works of writing, taking all the advice and doing what works best for you is what will have you on the road to becoming a good writer.

After all the research I did on writing I can say I can’t wait to evolve. I am ready to get to a point where good writing comes naturally to me.




An inquiry is a request for information. An inquiry is usually a open ended question.When you want to inquire about something basically you want to gain knowledge on it. You can inquire through questions, interviews, or investigations. Inquiry based learning(IBN) is when you involve a learner and help lead them into understanding.  Evidence has been happened to show IBL can enhance student engagement, academic achievement and
higher order learning outcomes. Inquiry based learning is used in math, science, and psychology. Inquiry based learning would be used less in say an athletic field. Everyone does not agree on what Inquiry and Inquiry Based Learning is. There are various definitions on the two and a subject will use a particular definition that pertains to that subject itself. In addition some people don’t think that inquiry learning is worth the time. For example a question was posed “how learning happens isn’t as important as whether that learning encourages students to try to learn even more.” Overlaps in people’s understanding of IBL were discussed in the following article.