Diaz-Santos, Gilberto
University of Havana

Gilberto Diaz-Santos
Facultad de Lenguas Extranjeras
Universidad de la Habana
Ave 19 do Mayo y Ayestaran
Ciudad Habana 10600, CUBA

FAX: 53 7 335930
53 7 335774

or patricia@infomed.sid.cu

[Bernard Mohan, Dept. of Language Education, UBC, 2125 Main Mall,
Vancouver BC,
Canada V6T 1Z4. Tel: 604-822-2353/5788 Fax: 604-822-3154

Strand: Educational

Title: Technothrillers, EST, and genre variation.

This paper discusses experience at the University of Havana with technothriller stories (such as "Jurassic Park") as source materials for EST courses and how they have positively affected students' motivation to learn and use English. It demonstrates how teachers can use technothrillers to provide learners with highly motivating reading passages while at the same time working with features of academic discourse and the characteristic tasks of ESP methodology, by drawing on genre variation.

Essentially, teachers access the same field information through different genres. Novel techniques for DNA reconstruction, computer algorithms for image processing, or virtual information environments are topics one normally finds in academic and professional publications. But they also appear as ingredients in technothriller stories featuring bio-terror, or a conflict over the control of a country's vital technology or a case of sexual harassment at a high-tech firm. Each of these topics allows classroom discussion to blend popular fiction and academic seminar.

The paper will discuss how the teaching approach based on a reading task model applied to the technothriller, considered as a narrative genre. It will examine passages selected for classroom use, noting topic or field structures such as description, sequential process and conflict/choice/dilemma. It will report on learner interviews where students express their perspectives on their learning experiences. Finally, it will address questions for future research.