You are on page 1of 6

Antinucci 1

Sarah Antinucci
Mr. Chrisman
ENC 1102
18 February 2015
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. (1) 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 was 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

Antinucci 2
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. (2) The
first part of the triangle is tools, which are similar to a genre in an activity system. In
cheerleading I chose the tool or genre to be the skills chart we use. (3) The skills chart
affects every other part of the activity system triangle in many different ways, but all
parts are related in some way. (4) Our community consists of the girls on the team, the
coach, the judges, and the high school we cheer for as a whole. The skills chart affects
our community in various ways. As a team if we perform plenty of complicated skills off
of the skills chart then we are able to get the crows more involved as events such as
basketball/football games. Another way this genre affects our community is by the skills
we perform at the competitions. If we perform intricate skills from the skills chart the
judges are most likely to score us high, leading us to win the competitions.
Rules are another part of the triangle in which our skills chart can affect. (5) In
cheerleading part of our rules is following a certain rulebook given to us by the FHSSA.
This book holds all of the limitations as to what we can, and cannot perform on the mat
during competitions. For example, 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. (6) This is
because that skill is prohibited from being performed at competitions. (7) The subjects
are the girls that are participating on this team. The skills chart affects our team because
we are always very happy when girls can complete new skills. As one girl starts to

Antinucci 3
achieve a new skill it has a domino affect on our team. This means soon enough as a
whole we are all going to be able to perform new skills which makes us better as a whole.
The 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. (8) I am going to focus on applying Johns six lenses
to my discourse community. (9) In cheerleading we create an identity by wearing the
uniforms with our squad name on it, the bows in our hair, our body types, and by the
language we speak when being around each other. If people were to see us around school
wearing our uniforms or speaking in terms of our cheerleading vocabulary they would
know that we are cheerleaders. Therefore these characteristics help define who we are
which is what identity is.
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. (10) Changing over time is the next characteristic by Johns.
Every year we have different amounts of talents therefore our routine changes each year
becoming more or less difficult. (11) Gatekeeping is the last lens, which is the ways to

Antinucci 4
keep certain people from out of the discourse community. To make the Hagerty
Cheerleading team you must have at least a 2.0 GPA or higher, have clean social media,
have a good attitude, and be able to perform the skills needed for the team. Before tryouts
even start the coach checks into all of these things to make sure you are a good potential
member for our team. For example at tryouts if the coach hears a girl say I cant do it
then she is in danger of not making the squad due to her bad attitude. These are the things
that determine whether potential girls make or do not make our cheerleading squad.
You are also able to look at genres themselves through Ann Johns lenses as I
stated earlier. (12) I am able to use our skills chart as the genre to analyze two different
lenses. The first lens is Identity is the way we define a certain person/thing. (13) You can
relate the skills chart to identity because the amount of skills each girl can perform off of
the skills chart determines what type of identity she is given. What I mean by that is if a
girl can perform most of the skills off of the skills chart she is most likely given a good
identity. If a girl can only complete a few of the skills then she would be given a bad
identity. In this way the skills chart is analyzed under Johns lens of identity.
Another lens we can use to analyze our skills chart is gate keeping. (14) Earlier I
listed a few factors that can keep potential girls off of the squad at tryouts. Once you
make the team the skills chart is the thing that plays the biggest role in gatekeeping. This
is because after everyone makes the squad only twenty out of twenty-five girls can make
the competition squad. This is where the skills chart serves as a gatekeeper. The coach
watches each girl at practices as they complete certain skills off of the skills chart. If a
girl can complete many of the skills off of it she is most likely to be put on the
competition squad. If she can perform very few skills off of the chart she most likely will

Antinucci 5
not be competing. This skills chart does a good job of keeping certain girls off the
competition squad in a fair way.
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
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 two research questions.
(15) One of the questions I came up with was how does the skills chart create an identity
for the girls on the cheerleading squad? The second question I came up with was how
does the skills chart play a role in gatekeeping on the cheerleading team?

Antinucci 6
Works Cited
Downs, Doug. Wardle, Elizabeth. Framing the Reading. Writing About Writing: A
College Reader. 2nd ed. Eds. Elizabeth Wardle and Doug Downs. Boston:
Bedford/St. Martins, 2014. 216. Print.