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A Process Genre Approach to Writing
Transactional Letters
By James Frith
- 7

Lesson procedure

Stage 1 Notes Aim(s)

5 mins

At this point, the students will already have decided on an organisation to write to requesting information, and will have generated some ideas

  • To guide students towards a consideration of the audience and appropriate style
  • To encourage students to consider layout and discourse structure in the genre

Sub-stage

Interaction

Procedure

1

Groups

Ask students to imagine their audience in terms of job, age, whether they know them and decide on an appropriate register (Stress importance of this activity to the students)

2

Groups

Students work together to decide on layout and general content of paragraphs

Stage 2 Activity Aim(s)

15 mins

Discourse Analysis
  • To raise awareness of discourse structure and layout in letters of request

Sub-stage

Interaction

Procedure

1

Pairs

Students order paragraphs from a model letter of request (discourse markers removed)

2

Pairs

Students give each paragraph a general title (and perhaps reassess the order)

3

Pairs

Students compare with the original

4

Pairs

Students adjust their titles to make them more general by looking at other sample texts from the genre

5

Individual

Students create a template to keep, including layout and discourse structure of a letter of request

6

T-S

Highlight how the approach can be applied to other genres

 

Stage 3

Activity

Aim(s)

5 mins

Listening to a telephone conversation

  • To encourage consideration of linguistically effected stylistic differences between spoken English and formal written English, this being these students’ predominant problem

Sub-stage

Interaction

Procedure

1

Whole class

Students listen to a telephone conversation which mirrors the original sample text

2

Whole class

Elicit major lexico-grammatical differences

Stage 4 Activity Aim(s)

20 mins

Implementing stylistic choices

  • To raise awareness of how stylistic differences are effected linguistically through;
  • use of uncommon lexis
  • nominalisation
  • long noun phrases
  • To provide controlled practice in producing the above

Sub-stage

Interaction

Procedure

1

Pairs (one student from each group)

Each pair is given a separate task, comparing the language in the tapescript of the telephone conversation with that in the letter

A

Pairs

Students find lexis in the letter which parallels lexis highlighted in the tapescript

B

Pairs

Students find non-noun alternatives for nouns from the letter

C

Pairs

Students find noun phrases in the tapescript and compare them in length to those highlighted in the letter

2

Groups

Students report back to original groups on findings

3

Groups

Students start work on a short series of transformation, word ordering, and gap filling exercises – To be finished for homework

 

Stage 5 Activity Aim(s)

10 mins

Planning and organising

  • To raise awareness of the importance of a planning stage

Sub-stage

Interaction

Procedure

1

Groups

Students rank ideas from generating stage (not in plan) and eliminate those considered less relevant. The purpose of the letter should be taken into account when deciding on relative emphasis

2

Groups

Students organise ideas into discourse template

3

Whole class

Elicit the purpose of this stage

Stage 6 Activity Aim(s)

5 mins

Drafting
  • To practice the aspects of formal letters of request we have looked at so far

Sub-stage

Interaction

Procedure

1

Groups

Students decide who will be responsible for individual section(s) of the letter

2

Individual

Students quickwrite draft WITHOUT connectives

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