n South African Journal of Higher Education - Towards an integration of a pedagogical and political project : the use of the genre approach in academic literacy development

Volume 19, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article focuses on an academic literacy development initiative in a postgraduate, Honours level teacher education programme. Informed by a 'critical' perspective on literacy, and the field of Systemic Functional Linguistics, it describes and evaluates this initiative against an understanding that the Genre Approach can be a very effective approach to advancing students' reading and writing competence as it embodies both a pedagogical <I>and</I> a political project. In the experience reported on in this article, the pedagogical project had as its explicit goal, students' mastery of the genre of the academic argument. The `political goal' was to nurture an understanding of the potential of many existing reading and writing teaching practices (particularly in South African school and tertiary contexts) to entrench the established social order. The article shows how difficult it is to address both these goals simultaneously, particularly within a distance learning context, but argues that a commitment to realising the political goals is central to an authentic transformative pedagogy.

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