In the past when I've used the term 'genre', I've used it to refer to fiction targeted at a specific audience, writing with its own set of rules and conventions. However, in my current school work I am being forced to re-examine and to broaden this concept. According to several scholars in language arts, 'genre' writing refers to the use of text to reflect or express a culture or a social value. For instance, an editorial in a newspaper would be considered a subgenre which seeks to convince a readership; its structure is based on a rhetorical model. Another example of genre based on this broadened definition would be journal writing.
In a past post I referred to the works of certain authors who produce "high-brow" literature as being part of their own genre. The above definition would support this view. Like the horror writer, the "slice of life" writer has his own conventions, visible as the work attempts to mirror the sort of writing one has come to associate with something called authentic writing. Authentic writing, a term I hate, is writing which is primarily autobiographical and often gives the reader a good deal of inner conflict as opposed to externally driven action.
For those who write, I look forward to your feedback. Fellow teachers, I am interested in your own take on this. How do you teach writing? Do you spend time on syntax and grammar as part of some metalanguage approach, or do you teach genre, focusing on genre specific rules and conventions, forsaking any attempt at formally advancing understanding of grammar for the sake of grammar?