Co-authored with Suguru Ishizaki, Marsha Lovett, Stacie Rohrbach and Mollie Kaufer
Introduction: This article presents an experimental pedagogical framework that focuses on increasing the explicit “rhetorical consciousness” of professionals who are already immersed in multiple genres of workplace communication but are not confident in the effectiveness of their communication skills. Although a number of genre-based pedagogical approaches have been developed in the past, the majority of the research on genre-based communication pedagogy has focused primarily on classroom settings. Previous research is often concerned with supporting students’ improvement of their writing skills on their way to producing authentic workplace communication through practice and exposure to disciplinary communication practices. However, to our knowledge, the communication pedagogy for the needs of early- to midcareer professionals has not been fully explored.
In a classroom setting, in first-year and disciplinary courses, genres are assumed to be new and unfamiliar to students; hence they must be introduced. However, in a workplace setting, where professionals have already been exposed to the genres that exist in their work environment, an introduction to genres is not necessary. Although genres are most likely implicit in professionals’ minds, the context and the purpose of communication are familiar to professionals, and they are also likely to be able to distinguish between effective and ineffective communication. This, however, does not mean that they can all produce effective communication, nor can they articulate what works well and what it could have been. Therefore, the study we report in this article focuses on helping early- to midcareer professionals to increase their explicit rhetorical consciousness—or metacognitive skills—in technical communication.