Teaching text genres at secondary level I

An approach to integrate the foreign language (German) and the school language (French)
Project management

Giulia Bierens-de-Haan (UNIGE)

01.2012 - 11.2014
Didactics, Teaching

Project conducted by the University of Geneva (UNIGE)

The main objective of the project was to employ empirical methodology in order to investigate which genre features can be taught. By developing and utilising tools in integrative teaching methods when teaching German as a foreign language, the project explored how learning text genres in the foreign language can be supported by already existing knowledge of the same genres in French. Hypotheses concerning the possible effects on constructing knowledge of German have been proposed. In doing so, however, the project's goal was not simply to establish which scholastic settings (tasks, textbooks, exercises) are suited for teaching text genres in a foreign language. The project also aimed to identify the systematic links between the two languages. Finally, the project aimed to propose a model for interdisciplinary teaching methods that unites learning progression as defined by the curriculum with learning progression as practised in the classroom.

The project consisted of three stages:

  1. Developing concept cards of the taught text genres and first drafts of teaching sequences, based on existing didactic material. Teachers received these drafts and adapted them for actual classroom use. Both group work and one-on-one discussions took place.
  2. Constructing a series of teaching sequences (that will be videotaped) in the classroom.
  3. Organisation of a workshop to discuss the research project with teachers and to draw conclusions.

The project team worked with 11th-grade teachers.