Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Teaching explanations to primary school children: the how and the why
    Sandiford, Carmel ( 1997)
    Considerable discussion has taken place in the last twenty years regarding writing programs in Australian primary schools. Within this time two schools of thought have tended to emerge, often polarising debate: those that view the child as an individual involved in a personal quest as a learner and those that see the child as a social being involved in developing as a learner in social process. On the basis of these views, different approaches to writing have been promoted. One of the more influential individual based approaches, known as Graves' Process Approach to Writing, emphasises the child's 'ownership' of his or her writing, from selection of the topic to the final product. The Genre Approach to writing, based on Halliday's functional model of language, promotes the notion that language is constitutive of meaning and is constructed in a social context. Children need to be able to write different forms of texts in various curriculum areas. The purpose of this study is to implement a teaching cycle based on a genre approach to writing and analyse the texts using elements of Systemic Functional Grammar. The study discusses the progress and linguistic features of explanations written by children in a Year 2/3 class and a Year 6 class. The study reveals that a genre approach offers students of different ages and abilities a useful, supportive framework for their written texts.