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Volume 20 Number 2, Summer 2023, Pages 215-506   

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Using Systemic Functional Linguistics and the Genre-Based Approach in EFL Classroom Language Communities of Practices

    Akiko Nagao

This study explores the process by which university-level learners of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) develop their understanding of composing academic essays. A series of lessons utilizing the genre-based approach to instructional writing, alongside the systemic functional linguistics (SFL) framework, were implemented. A classroom unit was treated as a single community of practice (CoP) to understand social learning; anthropology and social theory (CoPs), literacy pedagogy (genre-based approach), and linguistics (SFL) were conceptually connected for theorization. Participants wrote pre- and post-academic essays, and then reviewed each other's essays using the SFL framework to answer the question “What did you learn from the genre analysis of your peer's essay?” These reflections on learning shared through journals and interview data were analyzed to answer the question “What literacy strategies connected to learners' cognitive and metacognitive knowledge can be found in their reflections on learning?” This cognitive and metacognitive knowledge was categorized into six features: top-down strategies, bottom-up strategies, the interactive approach to strategies, initial assessment, ongoing assessment, and the elaboration of strategies. Both bottom-up and top-down strategies were identified in the journals, especially among high-proficiency learners. EFL learners with lower English proficiency focused on the selection of lexical resources, a bottom-up strategy.

Keywords: genre-based writing instruction, communities of practices, cognitive strategies, metacognitive knowledge