Leveraging Genre Theory: A Genre-Based Interactive Model for the Era of the Common Core State Standards



Recent educational standards have refocused the goals of foreign language (FL) instruction on “the purpose of communication” (ACTFL, 2012, p. 1) across the three modes of communication (interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational). To this end, this article considers a linguistically based genre theory as a means of enhancing instruction of presentational (writing) communication that is linked to authentic model texts. The genre theory considers all language as texts (genres) that are realized in contexts (registers) through knowledge and use of a functional grammar for making meaning called Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) (Halliday & Matthiessen, 2004, 2013). Key research from English as a second language (ESL) and FL education in the United States establishes empirical evidence of the effectiveness of instructional approaches based in this genre theory. To articulate a genre-based model of instruction for FL education linked to the National Standards (2006), the genre theory is incorporated into the Interactive Model for Integrating the Three Modes of Communication (Shrum & Glisan, 2010). Finally, implications of genre theory are discussed and recommendations are made for next steps to meet the goals articulated for FL education in the era of the Common Core State Standards (ACTFL, 2012; National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010).