National Writing Project

NWP Radio—Beyond Formulas to Learning: The Unfamiliar Genre Project

Date: February 10, 2011

Summary: Teacher-consultants from the Eastern Michigan Writing Project share the work behind their book, Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone: Helping Students Navigate Unfamiliar Genres. They discuss the Unfamiliar Genre Project, a way to move writers beyond formulas to lifelong learning about writing.


Excerpt from Show

Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone is a book that Sarah and I co-wrote about a genre-based approach to teaching writing with a focus on the Unfamiliar Genre Project. The idea of the project is that we'd really love to prepare the students for all the genres they're going to encounter in their lives, but we know that that's impossible. There's just too many genres out there to prepare for everything.

So in the Unfamiliar Genre Project, we ask the students to learn how to explore new genres. We start by asking them to pick a genre that's uncomfortable or challenging to them, and then with lots of help from us they learn some strategies for how to investigate that genre. They're not only learning about that particular genre, but more importantly, they learn what they can do in the future when they face an unfamiliar genre.

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Duration: 1 hour

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