A genre-based assessment of the approaches used by selected teachers in the teaching of the literary essay in the high school.
Naidoo, Patmanathan Gopaul.
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This study investigates issues around the teaching of the literary essay in the high school. The purpose of the study is to explore the instructional approaches used by selected high school teachers in respect of the literary essay, and to gain an insight into teacher and student perceptions of the essay and its place in the English syllabus. This study also examines the effect of the genre-based process on student argumentative writing at the senior certificate level. A review and theoretical consideration of principles and approaches to teaching the essay is included. The sample comprised two groups. The first was made up of six teachers from schools in the Northdale/Raisethorpe area, Pietermaritzburg, and the second of a class of eighteen standard ten students at a high school in the same area. Data drawn from a survey of the teachers, a content analysis of the students' essays and a Pre-process questionnaire was synthesized with information from relevant literature to formulate the genre-based writing process to which the students were subsequently exposed. The fmdings revealed that current methodologies and perceptions of the essay are product centred with minimal focus on the writing process itself and on specific genre requirements. They indicate that there is a need for teachers and students to develop an awareness of writing as a process of refinement which involves their collaborative effort. It was concluded that the genre-based process is an appropriate methodology for instruction in literary essay writing.