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As you can see from the images, I've just completed first drafts of a range of text types I need to address as part of the Applied Learning program I deliver to Year 11 and 12 students. I'm not entirely satisfied with their accuracy or usefulness just yet, but they're a start (in the usual process that begins in late November to prepare curriculum and materials for the following year's enrolment).
It's been an interesting exercise, because as part of delivering the Literacy component of VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning) the learners are required to address four broad domains with specific text types within each. These are:
Writing for Self Expression: Write a recount, narrative or expressive text
Writing for Practical Purposes: Write an instructional or transactional text
Writing for Knowledge: Write a report, explanatory or expository text
Writing for Public Debate: Write a persuasive, discursive or argumentative text
In all honesty, most of those text types come across as complete gobbledygook to not only my students, but many other teachers as well. It's not helped by the fact that there isn't exactly complete agreement across educators and education systems as to what each of those text types calls for.
Consider the Writing for Knowledge text types by way of example. Depending on whom you ask, a report, explanatory or expository text is basically defined and presented the same way: as an expository text. But just for some added confusion, it appears now in at least some parts of the officialdom of British and Australian education systems that an expository text is all about arguing a position.
Given we already have the persuasive, discursive and argumentative text types in Writing for Public Debate, we have a choice in the Knowledge domain to either stick to expository being essentially about information/explanation/description or making it about argument/debate strictly in relation to knowledge-based topics. I'm inclined to stick to the informative/explanatory application - that's what I was brought up to believe expository writing was about.
I'm also not satisfied with the bare bones interpretation of what a report should be about. Most guides present it in the same way explanatory texts are laid out, and it's pretty darned dry and boring. I've interpreted it the way I think reports helped me as a high school student: actually reporting something based on what I've been reading, learning, experiencing and thinking.
I'm still mulling over my own interpretations and recommendations, but it's clear that if writers and writing teachers can't quite agree on what the different text types are (and what they require), what chance do students have of getting it right?
I'm sticking to the notion of Applied Learning and focussing on how the texts can actually facilitate, describe and supplement students' learning experiences. If that means I am incorrectly interpreting some text types in the eyes of certain literacy experts, I'm willing to take it to the judge and hope its defensible!