Response to “Navigating Genres” by Kerry Dirk

I found this essay really interesting and I’m glad that I read it. Some of it I’d already considered – as I noted in the text, one activity I often do in class is to have students write a letter to a professor, a text to a friend, and the opening of a cover letter for a job—just to get them thinking about how they naturally write in different ways according to whatever context they’re in. It’s a fun assignment and the students (and I) usually end up laughing when they read some of the texts to their friends. I honestly hadn’t thought of those situations as “genres” though I completely understand that they are.

To be honest, until very recently I’d thought of genre as “horror, sci-fi, romance…” ugh. I’m almost embarrassed to admit it—but I must. I’m excited about the idea of teaching genre awareness in ENG 1101 because I think it’ll be really helpful for my students. As I said, I think I was doing it in some ways without realizing it. But naming it—so that they can name it themselves and be even more aware of it—can only be helpful to them, and to their writing.

I wrote this at the end of the essay, and it’s actually how I feel about the article as a whole: “These suggestions are all excellent – they’re all things that I’m sure we as instructors do instinctively, but spelling them out like this will be great for students who may not do them automatically.”

2 thoughts on “Response to “Navigating Genres” by Kerry Dirk

  1. Randi Ross

    I thought that this essay could have been stated more simply and concretely. He is, after all, writing to beginning EG 101 students, who respond better to plain language with colorful examples.

    If there are three considerations to writing – and I think there are – then the author could have mentioned this more plainly and used more vivid details. The headlines from The Onion were terrific; examples from other genres, such as thrillers and the horror genres, both popular with teens, would have worked well, too.

    Overall, the author makes valid points. But I think that he should have made them more plainly and directly and used more vivid examples throughout in order to appeal to his audience: college freshmen.

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