Pascual, Daniel: “How to exploit travel blogs in the EFL classroom from a genre-based approach”
As digital natives, Secondary Education students should be provided with enough opportunities in the English as a Foreign Language classroom to properly enhance their digital competence. To trigger this improvement lessons can include up-to-date widely-used digital genres which may encapsulate real and meaningful interactions with other native or non-native English speakers. This presentation aims to show a proposal to foster Secondary Education students’ digital and communicative competence through the use of travel blogs from a genre-based approach (Bhatia 2004; Swales 2004). To do so, a logical sequence of lessons and tasks will be planned from the compilation of a corpus and the identification of the prominent discursive and linguistic features in travel blogs to their exploitation in the classroom to enhance students’ communication skills and thinking strategies. This procedure will prove to be enriching for the students’ learning of English and development of key competences, as they are exposed to authentic materials and can work on communicative activities with a real purpose and audience. They further allow for the integration of the skills, since students can jointly practice different reading micro-skills, like scanning or skimming a post, writing strategies when publishing their comments taking a process-oriented approach (Hedge 2003; Tribble 1996), or speaking/interacting skills when working in pairs or groups. Precisely because communication in travel blogs is indeed realistic, students have to be respectful, open-minded and accountable for their productions when addressing this digital world. Hence, students can also develop their pragmatic competence, both by using the appropriate linguistic and discursive features and by raising their cultural awareness and social and civic competences. In short, this presentation will exemplify and analyse a communicative functional proposal to work on a digital genre like the travel blog, which can be of students’ interest and can greatly contribute to their learning of English.