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Fictional Narrative

Restructuring FASP Narratives: What Students Can Do

La restructuration du récit FASP : ce que les apprenants peuvent accomplir
Gilberto Diaz-Santos


Dans une approche didactique, cet article étudie l’interdiscursivité des œuvres de la FASP comme un moyen pour l’apprenant en anglais général ou de spécialité de passer du statut de récepteur et transformateur d’un contenu élaboré par un tiers à celui de producteur d’un contenu qui lui est propre. Plusieurs exemples de tâches et de projets accomplis par un large éventail d’apprenants illustrent comment la restructuration des récits FASP permet d'intégrer des pratiques et des modèles d’apprentissage précédemment utilisés. À la suite de notre démonstration, nous concluons que, la FASP, en plus de son potentiel dans l’acquisition de compétences langagières, est aussi une source pertinente pour approfondir la connaissance des médias, des genres et du développement des compétences et de la créativité. Cependant, il n’en reste pas moins qu’analyser et documenter les stratégies et techniques développées par les étudiants dans leur reconstruction de récits FASP restent un défi pour les chercheurs et les enseignants.

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  • 1 In the context of Petit’s definition (1999), substrat professionnel refers to the professional or s (...)

1Coined by the French linguist and ESP specialist Michel Petit in his 1999 seminal article, the term fiction à substrat professionnel (FASP) has been increasingly accepted to identify contemporary fictional plots which develop within—or explore in varying depths—particular substrats professionnels1. These works of fiction are mostly written, produced, or supervised by people with inside knowledge of the specialized domains fictionalized, some examples of which are such bestselling works by writers Michael Crichton (science and technology), Robin Cook, Michael Palmer and Tess Gerritsen (medicine), Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs (forensics), John Grisham (law), movie adaptations of these novels, and contemporary TV series such as House, M.D., Bones, CSI, and Breaking Bad.

  • 2 “Interdiscursivity”—along with its kin term, “intertextuality” (Prentice & Barker, 2017)—may be sum (...)

2Petit’s core idea of FASP as une autre voie d’accès à l‘anglais de spécialité (another way of accessing specialized language and discourse) has been greatly welcomed by language professionals and has generated significant research in ESP areas as diverse as law, mathematics, nuclear science, medicine, psychology, business, forensic science, journalism, and the military. However, published research on classroom applications of FASP tend to focus mostly on using fiction as textual input to develop reading comprehension and vocabulary skills. In a departure from using such fiction essentially as a source of input (reading comprehension, vocabulary activities, highlighting models of specialized discourse and culture, etc.), we would like to explore the dynamics of tapping into the output potential offered by the use of FASP narrative as a source of learner production and creativity. Through three teaching-learning activities that capitalize on interdiscursivity2 in FASP works, we illustrate how students can draw on specialized fiction to produce new formats/contents of their own. These examples indicate not just a starting point but rather a reachable horizon when bringing FASP material to the language classroom.

3A narrative technique that has been used effectively in FASP to render plots more authentic is the encapsulation or embedding of authentic (‘realia’) and non-authentic (‘fabricated’) documents in the body of the fictional text. The inclusion of maps, charts, tables, drawings, photos, family trees, breaking news segments, weather forecasts, transcriptions (of communications, media interviews, or cross examinations) and other assorted documents has become a common and characteristic feature of this type of fiction. These encapsulations may appear as full text/genres/graphics or in abridged forms like, for example, the “Recommended Procedures for Execution by Lethal Drug Injection of the Georgia Prison for Women” in Patricia Cornwell’s Red Mist (2012) or the 274-page classified dossier of the Wildfire Project in Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain (1993). While they might not be a 100% generically accurate, these documents, especially the non-authentic ones, give further credibility to the story as they establish a certain correspondence with the formats in which the popular mind represents them (Genty, 2009).

4An additional feature of FASP narratives is what could be called the “embryonic genre/narrative structure” (Diaz-Santos, 2000) by which we mean a recognizable narrative structure or technique used by the author, like free indirect speech, with the potential of being transformed by another writer/producer into a different recognizable narrative structure or technique, like the dialogue. The term “embryonic genre/narrative structure” is preferred here over Bhatia’s “genre embedding”, “mixing”, and “bending” (1997, 2004, 2010, 2012, and 2016) firstly, because these narrative passages are not always full generic forms and secondly, because it is through didactic mediation that these “embryonic” forms are developed into different “life” forms. Two concrete examples of “embryonic genres/narrative structures” that have taken on new lives in the language classroom are the way in which authors introduce fictional characters and the “scholarly asides” (Diaz-Santos, 2000) intended to educate lay readers on issues relative to the substrats professionnels. In the first case, we are no longer introduced to characters through reference to their physical appearance or personality traits but rather through what Hyland calls “narratives of expertise” which echo academic representational genres such as the biodata, the CV, or the resume, endowing fictional characters with the “attributes, understandings, experiences, and values of a disciplinary member” (2012: 17). In the second case, we have a number of FASP authors who go to great lengths to provide readers with important background information about certain topics in ways that echo the rhetorical strategies commonly found in the literature review moves of research article introductions or conference abstracts discussed by genre scholars.

5These and other instances of interdiscursivity in FASP offer immediate and direct applications in language teaching and learning. First, documents, whether real or “fabricated”, are useful in exploring the extent to which they represent or differ from the actual genres used by specific communities of professional practice. In fact, one of the most exploitable and promising features of FASP lies in discovering/uncovering the symmetries and asymmetries between fact and fiction. Second, original narratives can be modified by resorting to different narrative structures: transcriptions of conversations can be rewritten as actual dialogue, with reference to feelings or body language expressed by the characters, or “continuous” descriptions of processes can be broken down into steps—and even illustrated graphically—in the same way that user manuals do. Last, embryonic genres/narrative structures in selected FASP passages can be subjected to analysis and transformed into the socially-recognizable generic forms they echo.

6The following section introduces three possibilities for student reconstruction of original FASP narratives—going from simpler to more complex variations of a FASP input text—, into one or more output texts or reconstructions.

Student reconstructions of FASP narratives: from controlled to free

7The tasks and the project—together with the accompanying student outputs—have been selected from a more extensive sample of FASP-based teaching and learning activities carried out with language learners at the University of Havana in Cuba in areas such as Mathematics, Computer Science, Medicine, and Journalism, on the one hand, and English as a First Foreign Language, and English as a Second Foreign Language, on the other. Over a number of academic years, these activities have been adapted to different learning audiences and improved on, with attention to the following basic ideas:

8— FASP-based classroom activities can, of course, draw on selected relevant passages without necessarily covering the novel, film, or episode in its entirety. There is always the hidden purpose of motivating students to access the whole FASP work on their own.
— A FASP passage can be relevant not only because of its disciplinary content or orientation but also because of its potential for developing overall communication skills. While the passages referenced in this article were taken from novels from the legal, science, and medical sub-genres, they were successfully used with students in disciplines other than law, biochemistry, or medicine respectively, which shows the cross and multi-disciplinary appeal of this type of fiction. As such, FASP can also be used to cater to the cognitive needs and intellectual interests of language learner populations larger than those of ESP programs: using FASP with students majoring in English, as well as in Russian, French, and German with an English as a Second Foreign language requisite, has proved to be another successful realization of the theme-based model of content-based language teaching and learning.
— FASP-based teaching and learning activities can, and need to, be integrated with trajectories leading to non-fiction, as highlighted by Chapon (2015), for example; this will allow students to critically approach fiction and make informed judgements and decisions about how facts can be portrayed.

1. Transformation of targeted grammatical structures

9The first pedagogical activity we illustrate here involves the transformation of a targeted grammatical structure, a type of practice exercise which originated in grammar-translation times but was subsequently dismissed as mechanical and oriented towards form rather than towards meaning. In our experience, it is totally possible to engage students in minimal manipulation of a grammatical structure or lexis under restricted control and still make the task meaningful. An excerpt from John Grisham´s novel The Partner (1994) has been an invaluable teaching support in teaching and/or reviewing transformations from direct into indirect speech or the narrative technique of free reported speech. Although this is an extract from a legal FASP novel, lexical items such as court appearance, deposition, and federal judge are sufficiently anchored in everyday language to enable learners from disciplines other than law to understand and positively connect with the text. The pedagogical task set was for learners to reconstruct the fragment below in dialogue form, something which works with a multi-level class of learners, whether they are in false-beginner, general English or intermediate-level writing courses. Below is an example of how learners transformed a FASP extract in indirect speech into direct speech, a task which was collaboratively produced by students in a class of English as a second foreign language and me (2003, Fall term):

Fig. 1. – Transforming FASP indirect speech into direct speech

Fig. 1. – Transforming FASP indirect speech into direct speech

10This transformational task can also be reversed when students are already familiar with indirect or free reported speech constructions: they can be given entries completed in dialogue form by learners from other classes and asked to write their approximation to the original text. Language students seeking to develop skills in report writing, moving between direct and indirect speech, find this task to be an effective means of mastering the grammatical aspects of the genre. In addition, comparing written outputs with the original fragment from The Partner turned out to be an enjoyable part of the activity beyond assessing how well the appropriate structural permutations or the narrative technique have been assimilated. Without a doubt, in tasks like this “grammar [can] be integrated into the exploration of texts and contexts rather than taught as a discrete component” (Hyland, 2007: 153). Though it might not involve cognitive challenges higher than those of its grammar-translation ancestor, this type of learning activity is no longer experienced as a meaningless exercise and students are able discover, or develop, the screenwriter in them.

2. Developing “embryonic genres”: the Wheel Model

11The second pedagogical activity draws to a greater extent on “embryonic genres” thus making the manipulation of linguistic resources available in FASP fragments more challenging, and has been used with Russian, German, French, and English language majors. One of the most illustrative examples from our pool of student-completed activities started with a fragment from The Andromeda Strain (1993) where Michael Crichton introduces Dr. Jeremy Stone by resorting to the “narratives of expertise” commonly found in this author’s novels. The dates and landmark research achievements of the fictional Dr. Stone (ibid: 37–39), as well as the four publications listed under his name in the References section (ibid: 286), provide interesting input material which can be reconstructed as several academic genres: a conference or publication biodata, a short CV/resume, a letter of recommendation, a list of publications, etc. Still possible, although not yet explored, are genres like a letter of application, a press release of a university appointment, brief news items, and an obituary.

12The tasks designed to give life to any one of these embryonic genres may have more specific requirements than just producing a desired genre format; the letter signed by student Rafael Lima (see Appendix), for example, was a variation of a learning activity which had initially consisted of writing a letter of reference using all the available information in the FASP fragment. However, for this particular class, students were asked to imagine that it was March of 1959 and that Dr. Stone was applying for a Visiting Researcher position at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. Because of this constraint, students were prevented from using information about the conferences attended by Stone in 1960 or his 1962 Nobel Prize. Therefore, the new version of the task was not simply restructuring the fictional narrative passage into an academic genre but overcoming additional challenges with attention to detail and critical reading skills.

13The didactic/procedural framework for helping students reshape the selected FASP narratives/fragments into socially recognized generic forms is grounded in a variety of experiences reported in the literature of genre-based pedagogy. It is important to stress, however, that while proposed and existing teaching-learning cycles or “wheel models” (Cope & Kalantzis, 1993; Feez, 1998 in Hyland, 2007; and Hyland, 2003, 2007) introduce students to academic genres through exposure to representative examples, our framework is intended essentially to scaffold students’ collaborative and individual attempts to produce generic forms with which they are already familiar by (re)using data provided by narrative passages. Rather than excluding other wheel models, our proposed framework builds up on them.

14Bringing embryonic genres embedded in FASP to a desired generic form requires adapting four classic pedagogical stages: (1) review of the features of the targeted genre, (2) identification of content, grammar, and lexis in the FASP excerpt that may be potentially useful for the construction of the targeted genre, (3) re-arrangement of the information identified at stage (2), and (4) independent construction of the targeted genre.

Fig. 2. – Wheel model for restructuring FASP narratives

Fig. 2. – Wheel model for restructuring FASP narratives

15As its name indicates, the first stage is based on a highly teacher-mediated orientation and review rather than a presentation. As “one needs to be familiar with the conventions of the genre before one can exploit them for special effects” (Bhatia, 1993: 15), teachers will need to first elicit and discuss responses from students about the communicative purpose, intended audience, rhetorical organization, and lexico-grammatical features of the targeted genre. This is basically what happens in the building-the-context or the modeling stages of the teaching-learning cycles proposed by the genre scholars mentioned above. After establishing the groundwork, teachers can then move on to detailing the expectations of the task, making sure that students have a road map for their progressive actions towards the final goal.

16At the second stage, teachers and students work together to identify items in the FASP fragment that could be used in their original form or that would need to undergo some degree of grammatical, lexical or rhetorical transformation. At the same time, decisions are made concerning those items which will not fit in the new construction and which can—or should—be discarded. Although students working on the passage from The Andromeda Strain will promptly realize that references to scandals in Dr. Stone’s private life are not to be considered for any of the targeted genres, they still need help with other nuances in the fictional text. Therefore, depending on their cognitive maturity, command of the language, and familiarity with the language-learning task, there are tasks that students might not be able to perform adequately on their own and would need therefore to be assisted by teachers or more knowledgeable peers during this decision-making process.

17At the third stage, students work out collaboratively the necessary grammatical and lexical transformations needed to produce the targeted genre. What they are expected to accomplish, however, is more or less an outline or draft and not the full text. Classes using The Andromeda Strain excerpt to write a CV/resume, for example, (re)arranged Dr. Stone’s accomplishments chronologically and identified the categories under which they would be listed. Classes asked to write a letter of recommendation, on the other hand, chose to describe the fictional character as “a man of strong opinions”—and not as someone imperious—, or found that they could include in their letters a line in which author Michael Crichton refers to Dr. Stone as “being compared to Einstein and to Bohr as a scientist with conscience…” (ibid.: 37). This is a stage in which students work on their own and support each other during the process; teachers are expected to withdraw to “a back seat”, assist upon request, and assess whether learners are ready to move on.

18The mini-tasks completed at stages two and three are simply actions broken down to facilitate learners working independently during stage four. Most often this happens out of the classroom, implies additional drafting, and demands varying degrees of creativity and elaboration (the name of the director of the Pasteur Institute in Rafael’s letter of recommendation is one such example). Since teachers are no longer physically present—except when they choose to do this stage in the classroom—, students will need to continue collaborating and relying on each other’s knowledge and writing skills to successfully submit their final reconstruction of the FASP narrative. As we will also show in the next sample activity, it is not always possible to predict and model the paths they will follow or the strategies they will develop at this stage, since these are subject to resources beyond those readily available and to idiosyncratic resourcefulness.

19A “fifth” stage in this cycle could be returning to stage one but at a different level, as the targeted genre might need to be reviewed again, especially when learner responses are not always 100% accurate and need recalibration. In our initial classroom experiences, we found that students who had difficulty with the use of the simple past and the present perfect tenses when writing Dr. Stone’s short biodata, ended up producing pieces that read like an obituary. This serendipitous event not only served to illustrate how grammatical choices may completely change the intended meaning/message but in so doing, also provided an additional genre to work on when reconstructing narratives of expertise in FASP works.

20Our didactic model for reconstructing embryonic genres/narrative structures from FASP novels is more a cycle than a sequence of steps for several reasons: it is consistent with previous wheel models in genre-based pedagogy and reinforces the idea of possible iterations whenever we are to produce a new example of the genre. It provides an iterative cognitive tool, or modus operandi to approach further transformations of a FASP input text into a different output generic form. A word of caution is necessary, though: while “a narrative of expertise” fragment from any FASP work often has the potential for being reconstructed in many ways, frequent recycling incurs the risk of turning a valuable pedagogical support into a counterproductive one.

3. From FASP narrative to free personal production

21The third and least teacher-mediated, but most complex and ambitious transformation task from an original FASP narrative to more personal production resulted in seven final projects of the 2015 Spring term for fourth-year Journalism majors at the School of Communication of the University of Havana (Diaz-Santos, 2016). The assignment consisted of producing a 5-7 minute breaking-news coverage for a TV audience focusing on the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Africa. Group projects could be either dramatized in class or submitted as video files for further viewing and discussion. Unlike the tasks or projects described above, this one involved a combination of FASP and non-fiction input texts:

22— six mini-episodes from the prologue of Robin Cook’s medical thriller Outbreak (1988);
— an extract from Dr. Dawood’s Travellers’ Health… (2002) focusing on Ebola;
— an encyclopaedia entry on the Filoviridae family of viruses in Singleton and Sainsbury’s
Dictionary of Microbiology and Molecular Biology (2006).

23The thematic choice and combination of fiction and non-fiction input materials were driven by two main incentives. Firstly, a new Ebola outbreak in Africa was a hot topic during those days, especially because a Cuban medical team had responded to the World Health Organization’s call and joined its task force in Africa to fight the dreaded disease. For students of Journalism, the subject of Cook’s novel—even though published more than 20 years before—was definitely newsworthy and fully engaged them. Secondly, it was an opportunity to see how a FASP fragment that had been previously used with medical and English language students could be re-contextualized with redesigned learning activities and challenges for students in the intrinsically interdisciplinary field of Journalism studies.

24Since it was to be both a collaborative effort and a way to evaluate each participant individually, it was mandatory for all team members to have speaking roles, something that would not be difficult if they followed the typical TV news format of one or two anchors in a studio and field reporters interviewing experts and eye witnesses on location. Some of the suggested formats were:

25— interviews with hospital staff who admitted Cook’s fictional character and witnessed his evolution during hospitalization;
— interviews where fictional health authorities at local and national level fielded questions on the epidemiological situation in the region affected by the outbreak;
— a statement from a WHO authority attempting to reassure the international community by outlining measures taken to contain the virus.

26While the main expectation was to see Cook’s original narrative restructured as TV-news reports of the first outbreak of Ebola in 1976, students suggested and successfully negotiated two other possibilities which would highlight the involvement of Cuban medical personnel in the WHO international task force:

27— a re-contextualization of the fictional story in a contemporary (2014 or 2015) scenario;
— a report on more recent outbreaks but with flashbacks to 1976 archival footage.

28For ten days each team worked on their segments like professional news crews. In addition to writing the scripts and casting members in their acting roles, they decided on how to use available equipment (some crews used semi-professional cameras with mikes and tripods while others made do with cell phones and selfie sticks), and share production duties such as location scouting, props and wardrobe, camera work, prompting/dialogue coaching, editing and post-production effects.

29An account of how two teams decided to reconstruct the FASP narrative and incorporate non-FASP inputs is presented in the chart below.3

Fig. 3. – Summary of projects completed by two teams vs. original FASP narrative

FASP input

Team 60 Minutes

Team Fast News

September 7, 1976

John Nordyke wakes up with chills and fever and decides to go to the Yambuku Mission Hospital.

John is diagnosed with malaria and treated but returns to hospital a few days later; he vomits blood and collapses on the hospital floor.

— A news anchor provides personal information (name, age, nationality, occupation) about the deceased patient.

— John’s girlfriend describes his symptoms before he went to hospital.

— An orderly describes John’s symptoms upon arrival at the hospital.

— A nurse describes diagnosis, treatment and John’s final visit to the hospital.


September 16, 1976

Dr. Lugasa, a local health authority, decides to ignore a letter from the Yambuku mission hospital informing him of two deaths from an unknown disease.

— A reporter contacts Dr. Lugasa on Skype and asks questions about the situation in Yambuku.

— Dr. Lugasa acknowledges receiving the letter and enumerates actions being undertaken.

A press conference with doctors Lugasa and Bouchard is presented as archival material. Two reporters, one from the New York Times and one from the BBC direct questions to both authorities. Dr. Lugasa is held accountable for negligence and accepts her responsibility. Dr. Bouchard outlines measures to contain the spread of the disease.

September 23, 1976

Dr. Bouchard, a national health authority, travels to Yambuku and takes some action. 

— A reporter contacts Dr. Bouchard on conference call and asks questions about the situation in Yambuku.

— Dr. Bouchard enumerates actions taken, including quarantine measures.

September 30, 1976

A Belgian nurse from the Yambuku hospital airlifted to Kinshasa dies. Samples of her blood, liver, spleen and brain are sent to laboratories in Belgium, England and the United States for analysis.

— A WHO specialist reports on the death of the Belgian nurse, on the measures taken to isolate the virus in top laboratories, and on finding similarities between this new virus and the strand of the Marburg virus of 1967.


October 13, 1976

The Yambuku virus is found to be structurally similar to the Marburg virus of 1967.



November 16, 1976

The unknown disease in Yambuku is considered as having been successfully contained.

30As can be seen, Team 60 Minutes restructured Cook’s story using a variety of techniques. The introductory narrative-descriptive passage was broken down in lines for four live-news characters: the TV anchor providing context for the story, John’s girlfriend, an orderly and a nurse, each describing what they saw or experienced between the minute the fictional character woke up feeling bad to his last moments. It is not clear whether this team misread passage September 16, 1976 or decided to change the story, as their news segment presents a very pro-active Dr. Lugasa. This time, however, the reporting format is slightly different to the one used by the anchor and eye witnesses since we see a reporter firing questions on Skype and on the phone. Finally, Team 60 Minutes decided to merge two FASP episodes into a single statement by a WHO expert, which remains quite consistent since the death of the Belgian nurse is connected with the research and findings of three renowned laboratories.

31Team Fast News, on the contrary, decided to do a contemporary report on the Ebola outbreak in Africa with Cuban doctors in the camp hospitals and so relied more on the non-fiction input texts than on the excerpts from Cook. However, they did restructure two of the fictional episodes as archival material of a press conference given by doctors Lugasa and Bouchard, and decided to address the issue of Dr. Lugasa’s negligence in ignoring the letter with alarming news from the Bumba region.

32As can be seen, in order to produce their news segments, the Journalism students needed to draw on a number of skills that called for an integration of disciplinary content and language practiced up to that point in their majors. To meet the requirement that every team member had to have a speaking part in order to facilitate individual grading, Cook’s fictional passages were reconstructed almost in the same fashion that the fragment from Grisham’s The Partner illustrated above was transformed, the challenge here, however, being that compact original pieces were broken down and adapted as multiple narratives for the several eyewitnesses. Likewise, the material taken from the non-fiction sources was reworked as lines for reporters and health communicators. Once the preparatory mini-task of recreating the printed texts was completed and shot on location (which also required more than one attempt at producing spoken language deemed “accurate”), students continued to work on piecing together footage following typical TV newscast narrative formats like split screens and long-distance phone interviews. Additionally, graphics such as captioning, pictures, and branding elements were also used (like WHO or 60 Minutes logos) or created (network identifications for the teams, for example). It is worth noting that Team 60 Minutes’ project excelled in that they went beyond requirements and expectations by inserting ads like in a live TV broadcast, and by ending their segment like in comedy movies, with outtakes showing some challenging language issues and the lighter side of their production.

33From the didactic point of view, it is clear that FASP possesses a multi-disciplinary appeal regardless of the specific sub-genre of a given work. In our opinion, what renders a particular fragment relevant for different audiences of language learners—even beyond ESP—is the types of tasks that can be designed from them. When a class of medical students at the Manuel Fajardo Medical School in Havana once used the same fragments from Cook’s novel, they focused on the clinical and epidemiological side of the story and produced a description of the symptoms of the “new” disease in the form of a letter, the one that Dr. Lugasa received from the Yambuku mission hospital. This demonstrates that ESP language learners in the fields of medicine and journalism found the same FASP text useful as they experienced it through tasks which were relevant to their language learning objectives. Additionally, central or peripheral themes in FASP can prove to be timeless, the work with the students of Journalism highlighting the value of a diachronic approach in teaching ESP. While, it is true that Ebola resurfaced after so many years, it is, again, the task(s) chosen and the re-contextualization of the fictional story in the present-day scenario that makes it lasting. And finally, as genre scholars have suggested, teaching and learning wheel models for writing allow students “to enter the cycle at any point […] skipping stages if they do not need them” (Hyland, 2003: 137). In the case of Journalism students, it was not necessary to review the characteristics of the TV news report genre in the language class as it was something in which they had already developed a degree of expertise greater than that of their English teacher—as is often the case with regard to learners’ knowledge of their specialisms—from their content classes and internships. Therefore, after a brief orientation phase regarding task expectations, these students fully engaged in stages two, three and four of our proposed cycle, directly moving from negotiation to independent construction of the genre.


34Much beyond the expected filmizations or novelizations, reconstructions of FASP narratives are prolific and diversified, adopting modes that their original creators might not have anticipated. The widely acclaimed AMC television series Breaking Bad, for instance, has so far generated educational posters highlighting fictional and factual chemistry, a video game, a hip-hop video clip, a political-satire skit in the mainstream American TV show Saturday Night Live and even the “prequel” TV series Better Call Saul. While it is true that most of these new products are developed by seasoned writers, FASP enthusiasts have created others with little or no professional training.

35In this article, we have illustrated instances of how language teachers can capitalize on interdiscursivity in FASP works and create in and out of classroom opportunities for students to explore narrative reconstruction and writing creativity. To transit successfully from processing FASP narratives elaborated by others to producing their own new formats, learners need to work collaboratively through a four-stage cyclical framework with specialist-domain teachers and other more knowledgeable peers. This suggested model starts with a review of features of the genre or narrative structure that students will be challenged to produce, and involves identifying content, grammar, and lexis in the FASP excerpt deemed useful to construct the targeted genre, re-arranging these elements properly in draft form and finally constructing the expected written output.

36We feel, however, that it may be premature at this point to identify, enumerate and document for fellow practitioners the full range of strategies that students can deploy or the unique paths they may take when manipulating/re-creating original FASP narratives they are asked to work with. Nevertheless, the project carried out with Journalism students provides both interesting insights and potential avenues of exploration for FASP-based classroom practices involving hands-on use of the language, multi-modal formats, and the learners’ own creativity.

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Tasks and projects completed by students
(1) Rafael Lima
English language major, University of Havana (Cuba).
Academic year 2010–2011

Department of Science and Biology

University of California at Berkeley

California, USA

March, 20th, 1959

Jean Claude Depardieu, PhD

Pasteur Institute

Paris, France

Dear Director Depardieu:

This is a letter of recommendation to describe my perceptions of Mr. Stone whom I have known for ten years. He is applying for a position of Visiting Researcher at your institute.

I am Rafael Lima. I have been a scientist in the Center of Molecular Immunology from 1952 to 1958. I have also been the Head of the Department of Bacteriology, University of California at Berkeley, where Mr. Stone worked three years ago.

Mr Stone has always been shown a great depth and range of interests –he pioneered a lot of scientific research as a law students. Mr Stone was the first to use the technique of multiplicative counts for bacterial colonies in 1955, developed a method for liquid-pure suspension in 1957. His 1958 paper on linear viral transformation opened broad new lines of scientific inquiry.

Usually his conscience, his overview, and his appreciation of the significance of events reminded me of Einstein and Bhor. Mr Stone has a prodigious memory for scientific facts and strong opinions.

I strongly recommend Mr. Stone for the position he is applying: his professional experience and his commitment to research are great. For all these reasons, I have no doubt that he will succeed without any problems.

Should you need more information, do not hesitate to call me.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Lima

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1 In the context of Petit’s definition (1999), substrat professionnel refers to the professional or specialized environment which defines the fictional characters, plot and dénouement. See Editor’s Preface.

2 “Interdiscursivity”—along with its kin term, “intertextuality” (Prentice & Barker, 2017)—may be summed up as the mixing of diverse genres, discourses or styles associated with institutional and social meanings in a single text (Wu, 2011).

3 All the projects can be viewed on the following YouTube links:

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1. – Transforming FASP indirect speech into direct speech
Fichier image/png, 86k
Titre Fig. 2. – Wheel model for restructuring FASP narratives
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Référence électronique

Gilberto Diaz-Santos, « Restructuring FASP Narratives: What Students Can Do », ILCEA [En ligne], 31 | 2018, mis en ligne le 06 mars 2018, consulté le 21 mars 2018. URL :

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Gilberto Diaz-Santos

University of Vermont & Community College of Vermont, USA

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