Edith Cowan University, Western Australia in association with Khon Kaen University, Thailand and Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat University, Thailand.
The development of academic writing skills in English has recently become a global priority. However, these courses, where they exist at all, usually adopt an out-dated approach. This paper seeks to redress this by giving an example of a research program, where current linguistic theory was blended with an awareness of local conditions to good effect in terms of student outcomes. In this case what is known as genre theory was applied to the teaching of basic scientific report writing to final year science students at Pibulsongkram Rajabhat University. According to genre theory, as interpreted by the Australian School of Genre, it is argued that students will learn to write after first listening to and/or reading authentic samples of the target text type or genre. It is only then that they will see how the purpose of the text is conveyed in the overall organisation and features of the language. Thus the grammar and vocabulary are related to the meaning of the genre and not seen as isolated aspects. Finally this holistic approach helps students write their own text, something that is not usually possible with the separate sentence method most frequently used. The researcher, Dr Karmolnad Malakul, in developing this model compared two separate genrebased courses, one of which followed the genre theory more closely than the others. In both cases, however, students were advantaged by this new approach. Details and examples of how she analysed and taught the five micro-genres of the science report will be given, concluding with the optimistic view that this approach can be adapted for much wider use.