E. Sheikhzadehmarand1, G. Modarresi2, M. Bouzhmehrani3, A. Sanjari2

1Islamic Azad University, Damavand Branch (IRAN)
2Islamic Azad University, Quchan Branch (IRAN)
3Neyshaboor Higher Education Complex (IRAN)
Swales (1990) defines genre as a class of communicative events, the member of which share some set of communicative purposes. The current study first clarifies the distinction between genre, register, and speech act and then, closely examines the various approaches to genre, particularly in three research traditions including (a) ESP, (b) North American New Rhetoric studies, and (c) Australian systemic functional linguistics, from a critical perspective. A major criticism leveled against North American New Rhetoric studies, and Australian systemic functional linguistics is that they focus just on written texts and pay no attention to oral communication. Up to now, little attention has been given to the ideological dimensions of genre in the ESL classroom. In responding to such a challenge, ESL genre researchers try to consider the place, if any, of a critical, ideological approach in the teaching of academic and professional text. In more recent versions of genre analysis context has been assigned a more important role, redefining genre as a configuration of inter-textual and interdiscursive resources, thus highlighting two kinds of relationships involving texts and contexts. Teachers often see the power of genres to inhibit creativity more than the power of genres to reveal constraint. Genre teaching can indeed be formulaic and constraining, if genres are taught as forms without social or cultural meaning. Genre teaching can also be enlightening and freeing, if genres are taught as part of a larger critical awareness.