I introduced the concepts of genre and rhetorical analysis on the first day of class with an easy exercise. I put up 3 questions on the board, asking students to:
- Introduce themselves briefly, including any details they felt were pertinent for the class to know about them.
- Compile a list of 2-3 questions they had about the course (before going over the syllabus).
- Describe what they’d like to achieve by the end of the course.
This first genre was the basic in-class response to a writing prompt. Afterwards, they were asked to convert their answers into the genre of an oral presentation. Each student was asked to get up and present the content of these questions, but in a format more suitable to a presentation.
Finally, for homework, students were asked to convert this information into a third genre, the academic email to me, their professor. Once again, students were asked to reflect on the different rhetorical choices they would make depending on audience and purpose.
The following class we had a more in-depth discussion of the differences between the 3 genres and how reflecting on the rhetorical situation impacted the style, tone, language, content, etc. of their writing/speaking.