Genre-based writing, “preparation culture,” and the marshmallow test

Trying something new here. I’m sharing my pre-recorded presentation from the 2022 TESOL conference, where I spoke as part of the Second Language Writing Interest Section panel on genre-based writing across ESL contexts.

My bit was supposed to be about teaching genre in intensive English programs (IEP), but I took the opportunity to reflect on the mindset of “preparation,” which I think is an impediment to good writing instruction. Along the way, I take swipes at the five-paragraph essay (of course), traditional points-and-average grading, and the obsession with assessment.

At the end, I introduced the approach that Ann Johns and I take in our new textbook, Essential Actions for Academic Writing, available now from University of Michigan Press.

Author: Nigel Caplan

Nigel Caplan, Ph.D., is an associate professor of ESL, the Online Program Manager for the University of Delaware English Language Institution, and a textbook author, consultant, and speaker. He lives in Delaware in the United States.

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