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A study of variation theory to enhance students’ genre awareness and learning of genre features

Kwok-Kuen To (Pat Heung Central Primary School, Hong Kong)
Ming Fai Pang (University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong)

International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies

ISSN: 2046-8253

Publication date: 10 May 2019

Issue publication date: 25 June 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how different arrangements, such as lesson structures and patterns of variation, enhance students’ genre awareness, their understanding of genre features of informative text and can generate new learning.

Design/methodology/approach

This is an example of learning study consisting of a design experiment, and embedded in the design was the selected test criteria. The variation theory of learning served as the major guiding principle for the pedagogical design, lesson analysis and evaluation.

Findings

The findings of this study give support to variation theory being a powerful pedagogical tool for improving students’ understanding of informative texts and enabling them to generate new learning. Students in the target group who had more opportunities to encounter the “first contrast, next contrast and last generalisation” pattern of variation performed better than those in the comparison group, who were exposed to the “first generalisation, next contrast and last generalisation” pattern. The pure hierarchical lesson structure used for the target group was found to be more conducive to learning than the mixed structure (sequential–hierarchical structure) used in the comparison group.

Originality/value

Both the lesson structure and patterns of variation and invariance used are extremely important in developing a powerful method of enhancing students’ genre awareness, their understanding of genre features of informative text and to generate new learning.

Keywords

Citation

To, K.-K. and Pang, M.F. (2019), "A study of variation theory to enhance students’ genre awareness and learning of genre features", International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 183-195. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLLS-10-2018-0070

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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