Using the Genre-based Approach in Teaching Chinese Written Composition to South Asian Ethnic Minority Students in Hong Kong

  • Mark Shiu-kee Shum The University of Hong Kong
  • Dan Shi University of Nottingham Ningbo China
  • Xian-han Huang The University of Hong Kong
  • Chung-pui Tai The University of Hong Kong
  • Wan-shan Yung The University of Hong Kong
Keywords: GENRE APPROACH, WRITING PERFORMANCE, ETHNIC MINORITY STUDENT

Abstract

This paper aims to investigate the effectiveness of Halliday’s Sydney School genrebased approach in teaching Chinese written composition to South Asian ethnic minority students in Hong Kong. Chinese language, with its heightened status in Hong Kong, holds a key for South Asians with low socio-economic status to obtain upward mobility (Shum, Gao, Tsung, and Ki, 2011). However, South Asian ethnic minority students, as a disadvantaged group of second language learners, lack sufficient parental and institutional support in Chinese language learning. The genrebased pedagogy derived from Halliday’s Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) was applied in this study to improve Chinese language performance of South Asian ethnic minority students for a better chance to participate in mainstream society. The SFL approach is primarily concerned with language choice in social situations and has been widely applied in sociolinguistics (Hyland, 2007, 2012). Its latest model in language teaching methodology, the ’Reading to Learn, Learning to Write’ (R2L) pedagogy, is a genre-based teaching strategy which is designed to guide students to experience different levels of language through extensive classroom reading and writing activities with selected texts. The current study is intended to extend the approach to teaching and learning Chinese as a second language. The employment of genre-based pedagogy aims to support South Asian students with their learning of Chinese written composition in the senior secondary curriculum. The Chinese teachers involved were first provided with appropriate training in the genre-based approach to language teaching focusing on the genres of Narration and Explanation. Research data were collected while the teachers began to use theand Explanation. Research data were collected while the teachers began to use the and Explanation. Research data were collected while the teachers began to use the genre-based teaching approach, by means of pre- and post-tests after and before genre instruction. Text analysis based on SFL was then employed to analyze the students’ written composition in both pre- and post-tests in order to understand the effectiveness of the genre-based pedagogy in teaching Chinese as a second language. The finding shows that the students at the high, medium, and low levels improved both in the construction of schematic structure and the variation of lexicogrammatical choices from the whole-text, sentence and word levels respectively in their writing performance. Hopefully, the findings will help curriculum development and teacher education for teaching Chinese as a second language to non-Chinese speaking students in Hong Kong and beyond.

Author Biographies

Mark Shiu-kee Shum, The University of Hong Kong

Dr Mark Shum is currently an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at The University of Hong Kong.

Dan Shi, University of Nottingham Ningbo China

Dr Dan SHI is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of English at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China.

Xian-han Huang, The University of Hong Kong

Dr Huang is currently an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at The University of Hong Kong.

Chung-pui Tai, The University of Hong Kong

Dr Tai is currently an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at The University of Hong Kong.

Wan-shan Yung, The University of Hong Kong

Dr Yung is currently a Post-doctoral Fellow in the Faculty of Education at The University of Hong Kong.

References

Acevedo, C. (2010). A Report on School-based Action Research: Will the implementation of Reading to Learn in Stockholm Schools Accelerate Literacy Learning for Disadvantaged Students and Close the Achievement Gap?Stockholm: Multilingual Research Institute, Stockholm Education Administration.

Callaghan, M, and Rothery, J. (1988). Teaching Factual Writing. Erskinville, NSW: Metropolitan East Disadvantaged Schools' Program.

Chaisiri, T. (2010). An investigation of the teaching of writing with a specific focus on the concept of genre.International Journal of Learning, 17 (2), 195-206. https://doi.org/10.18848/1447-9494/CGP/v17i02/46879

Chen, Y. S., and Su, S. W. (2012). A genre-based approach to teaching EFL summary writing. ELT Journal, 66, 184-192. https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccr061

Christie, F. (2002). Classroom Discourse Analysis: A Functional Perspective. London: Continuum.

Culican, S. J. (2006). Learning to Write, Reading to Learn: A Middle years Literacy Intervention Research Project: Research Report 2003-2004. Melbourne: Catholic Education Office.

Halliday, M. A. K. (1985). An Introduction to Functional Grammar. London: Edward Arnold.

Huang, J. C. (2014). Learning to write for publication in English through genre-based pedagogy: A case in Taiwan. System, 45, 175-186. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2014.05.010

Hyland, K. (2003). Genre-based pedagogies: A social response to process. Journal of Second Language Writing, 12, 17-29. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1060-3743(02)00124-8

Hyland, K. (2007). Teaching and Researching Writing. Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.

Hyland, K. (2012). Second Language Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lap, T. Q. and Truc, N. T. (2014). Enhancing Vietnamese learners' ability in writing argumentative essays. Journal of Asia TEFL, 11 (2), 63-91.

Martin, J. R. (1999). Mentoring semogenesis: 'Genre-based' literacy pedagogy.In F. Christie (Ed.), Pedagogy and the Shaping of Consciousness: Linguistic and Social Processes. London: Continuum.

Martin, J. R. (2000). Grammar meets genre - reflections on the 'Sydney School'. Arts: The Journal of the Sydney University Arts Association, 22, 47-95.

Martin, J. R. (2012). Genre and language learning: a social semiotic perspective. Linguistics and Education, 20, 10-21. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.linged.2009.01.003

Miles, M. B., Huberman, A. M., and Saldaña, J. (2014). Qualitative Data Analysis: A Methods Sourcebook(3rded.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

McRae, D., Ainsworth, G., Cumming, J., Hughes, P., Mackay, T. Price, K., Rowland, M., Warhurst, J., Woods, D., and Zbar, V. (2000). What Works? Explorations in Improving Outcomes for Indigenous Students. Canberra: Australian Curriculum Studies Association.

NSW Department of Education. (1989). The Report Genre. Erskinville, NSW: Metropolitan East Disadvantaged Schools' Program.

NSW Department of Education. (1991).The Recount Genre. Erskinville, NSW: Metropolitan East Disadvantaged Schools' Program.

NSW Department of School Education. (1989).A Brief Introduction to Genre: Examples of Six Factual Genres and their Generic Structures. Erskinville, NSW: Metropolitan East Disadvantaged Schools' Program.

NSW Department of School Education. (1990). Assessing Writing: Scientific Reports. Erskinville, NSW: Metropolitan East Disadvantaged Schools' Program.

Oliveira, L. C. D., and Lan, S. W. (2014). Writing science in an upper elementary classroom: A genre-based approach to teach English language learners.Journal of Second Language Writing, 25, 23-39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jslw.2014.05.001

Rose, D. (2009). Writing as linguistic mastery: The development of genre-based literacy pedagogy.In R. Beard (Ed.), The SAGE Handbook of Writing Development. London: SAGE.

Rose, D. (2011). Beyond literacy: Building an integrated pedagogic genre. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 34 (1), 81-97.

Rose, D., and Martin, J. R. (2012). Learning to Write, Reading to Learn: Genre, Knowledge and Pedagogy in the Sydney School. London: Equinox.

Rose, D. (2012). Reading to Learn: Accelerating Learning and Closing the Gap. Sydney: The Reading to Learn Program.

Rothery, J, and Macken, M. R. (1991). Developing Critical Literacy: An Analysis of the Writing Task in a Year 10 Reference Test. Erskinville, NSW: Metropolitan East Disadvantaged Schools' Program.

Sachiko, Y. (2011). Genre-based tasks in foreign language writing: Developing writers' genre awareness, linguistic knowledge and writing competence. Journal of Second Language Writing, 20, 111-133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jslw.2011.03.001

Sanders, T. J. M. and Schilperoord, J. (2006). Text structure as a window on the cognition of writing: How text analysis provides insights in writing products and writing process.In C. A. MacArthur, S. Graham, and J. Fitzgerald (Eds), Handbook of Writing Research. New York: The Guilford Press.

Schultz, K. (2006). Qualitative research on writing. In C. A. MacArthur, S. Graham, and J. Fitzgerald (Eds), Handbook of Writing Research. New York: The Guilford Press.

Shum, M. S. K. (2010). Research on subject specific genres by adopting systemic functional linguistics: Exploring the genres of History, Economics, Physics, Chemistry Biology and Geography. In M. S. K. Shum (Ed.), The Functions of Language and the Teaching of Chinese(2nd ed.), 231-269. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

Shum, M. S. K., Tsung, L., Ki, W. W., and Lam, M. (2010). Accessing Chinese: For Teaching Chinese as a Second Language, Volume II.Hong Kong: Centre for Advancement of Chinese Language Education and Research, Faculty of Education, the University of Hong Kong.

Shum, M. S. K., Gao, F., Tsung, L., and Ki, W. W. (2011a). South Asian students' Chinese language learning in Hong Kong: Motivations and strategies. Journal of Multilingual & Multicultural Development, 32 (3), 285-297. https://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2010.539693

Tian, C. Y. (2010). Genre-based Approach and the Teaching of Writing through Reading Assisted by Blackboard Learning System. 2nd International Conference on Industrial Mechatronics and Automation.

Troia, G. A. (2006). Writing instruction for students with learning disabilities.In C. A. MacArthur, S. Graham, and J. Fitzgerald (Eds.), Handbook of Writing Research. New York: The Guilford Press.

Tsung, L., Zhang, Q. Y., and Cruickshank, K. (2010). Access to majority language and educational outcomes: South Asian background students in postcolonial Hong Kong. Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education: Studies of Migration Integration, Equity, and Cultural Survival, 4 (1), 17-32. https://doi.org/10.1080/15595690903442256

Tuan, L. T. (2011). Teaching writing through genre-based approach. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 1 (11), 1471-1478. https://doi.org/10.4304/tpls.1.11.1471-1478

Unsworth, L. (Ed.). (2000). Researching Language in Schools and Communities: Functional Linguistic Perspectives. London: Washington Cassell.

Zhang, Q. Y., Tsung, L., Cruickshank, K., Ki, W. W., and Shum, M. S. K. (2011). South Asian students' educational experience and attainment: Learning Chinese as a Second/ Additional Language in Hong Kong. In L. Tsung and K. Cruickshank (Eds), Teaching and Learning Chinese as Global Contexts. London: Continuum.
Published
2019-11-27
How to Cite
Shum, M. S.- kee, Shi, D., Huang, X.- han, Tai, C.- pui, & Yung, W.- shan. (2019). Using the Genre-based Approach in Teaching Chinese Written Composition to South Asian Ethnic Minority Students in Hong Kong. Writing & Pedagogy, 11(2), 253-283. https://doi.org/10.1558/wap.36916
Section
Research Matters