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Sarah Antinucci
Mr. Chrisman
ENC 1102
18 February 2015
(Final Draft)
Focused Analysis
Each discourse community has a genre or a set of genres that are used to
accomplish a specific contextually based task. In an activity system each genre/genre sets
are related by working together in certain ways. In the activity system triangle there are a
few different parts. The parts are tools, motives,, community, rules, subjects, and
divisions of labor. Each of the parts affects the genre in a different way. Anne Johns is a
linguist who was able to analyze genres in various lenses. Some of the lenses Johns
introduces in her article were authority, values, cost, identity, change, and gatekeeping.
The discourse community I chose to write about is my previous high school cheerleading
team. Within my chosen discourse community I chose to study a specific genre called the
skills chart.
Since I was previously involved on a high school cheerleading team I came across
a genre to study, which was our skills chart. The skills chart consisted of particular details
in it that people outside of this community would not understand. It was a huge poster
board that had columns and rows. Going across the top there were many different skills
listed that each girl was potentially going to achieve. On the side there was a list of each
girls name to be able to see which girl completed which skills. Each name corresponded
with each skill. Every time a girl got a new skill we would put a colored star sticker in the
box that had their name and the corresponding skill they achieved. This chart was very

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simple because you could easily look at each skill and look down to see who had it, or
you could look at the girls name and go across to see which skills they had.
For every discourse community, there is a triangle diagram that identifies different
parts to the community. According to Wardle on pg. 287 the parts to an activity system
triangle are tools, motives, subjects, community, divisions of labor, and rules. The first
part of the triangle is tools, which are pretty close to the same thing as a genre. In
cheerleading I chose the tool or genre to be the skills chart we use. The skills chart affects
every other part in many different ways, but all parts are related in some way. For
example our motive was to win all of our cheerleading competitions and if the coach puts
the best skills on the skills chart and each girl achieves them then we are able to complete
our goal of winning. Another example would be if we were all able to get the ideal
amount of skills on the skills chart that affects our high school its self, which is
considered our community in the activity system triangle. The better skills each girl has
the more the school gets involved at pep rallies and football games. Also the judges are a
part of our community, so the better skills we perform at competition the better score they
are going to give us, or if we perform poor skills they will give us a bad score at
competition. Rules are another part of the triangle in which our skills chart can affect.
One of the rules we have on our team is a book created by FHSSA who puts limits on
certain skills to be performed in competitions such as no doubles or no double downs. If
we put a double full flip as a skill to be achieved on the skills chart we would be banned
at our competitions and immediately lose. Getting new skills also affects are teammates
which are the subjects. This is because when each girl gets a new skill we are all now
motivated to get that same skill so we can perform it all together in competitions. The

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skills chart is one genre that affects many parts of an activity system.
As I introduced earlier, Ann Johns was able to come up with many lens to
analyze a genre. There are six different lenses Johns expresses in this particular article on
genres. The six lenses are authority, identity, cost, change, gatekeeping and values. You
are able to look at the discourse community as a whole with these lenses or analyze
genres themselves with these lenses. Now I will look at the discourse community through
Johns lenses. In cheerleading we create an identity by wearing the uniforms with our
squad name on it, our body types, and by the language we speak when being around each
other. The authority of our cheerleading team is the coach, and sometimes the captains.
The values we have as a team are sportsmanship, athleticism, leadership and the drive to
win. Cheerleading not only costs a lot of money but it also costs us a lot of time and
effort. We pay a lot of expenses for practice wear, competitions, hotels, and to go to
certain camps. We also spend most of our afternoons and mornings practicing putting a
lot of effort into cheering for many of our school sports teams, as well as going over our
routine for competitions. Every year we have different amounts of talents therefore our
routine changes each year becoming more or less difficult. In order to make our team we
have a certain GPA to obtain, amount of skills we must have, and we must have a good
attitude. These all fall under Anns last lens, which is called gatekeeping.
You are also able to look at genres themselves through the Ann Johns lenses as I
stated earlier. I am able to use identity to analyze the skills chart, which is my chosen
genre. Identity is the way we define a certain person/thing. You can relate the skills chart
to identity because by each girl getting a certain skill it shows the skills each team has by
their performance at competitions. You can identify each team by the skills they perform.

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For example if a team performs poor skills then you would call them mediocre. So in
order for a team to be considered good they have to perform very intricate skills. The
skills chart we have allows people to see what kind of skills we will be able to perform in
front of people who will determine the identity we have as a team. In order to create an
identity we must do certain skills from the skills chart. Another lens we can use to
analyze our skills chart is gate keeping. In order to make the team we must perform
certain skills, and those skills we do at tryouts will determine what skills we can put on
the skills chart that year. This way we are able to create our identity as a team. For
example if many girls make the team with standing tucks then our coach is going to
decide to put those on our skills chart. If that skill is very complicated and we can master
it in competition then people are going to identify us as a very good team. Therefore
identity and gatekeeping are related. By having to do certain skills to make the team,
those skills depend on what skills we will perform in competition. The skills we perform
in competition sets the identity people will give us. The skills chart changes every year
because each year girls come and go from our team. This is another lens of Johns that
relates to our genre. By us performing different skills each year that causes our skills
chart to evolve over time. Each genre relates to each of Johns lenses affecting one and
other.
The skills chart can be broken down into many different parts, which were
explained above. In an activity system we have a triangle diagram that has different parts
to it in which the genre affects each part in different ways. Ann Johns a linguist was able
to introduce six different lenses for us to be able to closely analyze not only our discourse
community under them but also specific genres or genre sets. I was able to share my

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discourse community and how it relates to her different lenses as well as how my genre
specifically relates to a few of Johns lenses.
When analyzing this genre I was able to come up with a few research questions.
One of the questions I came up with was what if girls on the team do not master all of the
skills on the skills chart? If this occurs they may be at risk at being an alternate and not
being able to compete or if they are good in other things they may still compete. Another
question I was able to come up with was what happens if the skills on the skills chart are
not good enough? If the coach chooses very easy skills then everyone would complete
those skills but when it comes to competitions we might score low and lose.