AWEJ Volume.4 Number.3, 2013 Pp.355-356
Rethinking academic writing pedagogy for the European University
Author: Ruth Breeze
Title of Book: Rethinking academic writing pedagogy for the European University
Year of Publication: 2012
Publisher: Amsterdam: Rodopi
This book takes a fresh look at the importance and related challenges of teaching academic writing in European universities. However its importance goes beyond a European audience. This is reflected in how it also makes particular reference to second language contexts for the many international students. As well revisiting ‘classic’ approaches to teaching academic writing the book also focuses on various new directions – such as academic literacies, corpus tools, and web writing. This useful overview of approaches from a fresh perspective is perhaps the main contribution of the book.
The early chapters provides a critical perspective on the history of academic writing pedagogy at European Universities. This includes various approaches covering the most influential textbooks, across-cultural contexts, inter-disciplinary approaches and a genre-based framework. As the author points out the textbook tradition is heavily influenced by examination practices in US and British universities. One of the classic approaches discussed in depth is the process writing model. As Breeze points out, in relation to a second language approach “the process writing model is reflected in most of what has been published for second languge writers of English and their teachers from 1990s onwards, framed as an advance on the product-based model which is presented as the only alternative”.
In the later approach the author discusses future directions. She particular focuses on the influence of the academic literacy model. In this way she identifies how academic writing is linked to the acquisition of related academic skills also framed in relation to the socialization process of disciplinary communities. In a later section she discusses the strengths and weaknesses of both teacher and peer feedback to learners. As she points the essential aim of feedback “is to provide a channel for teachers to communicate constructively with students and help them to develop as writers.” The final chapter outlines some tentative principles for assisting with better designing and implementing specific academic writing courses.
Dr Ruth Breeze is a very experienced scholar in her field, and is currently the director of the Institute of Modern Languages at the Navarra, Spain. Her book reflects a very rich knowledge about both classic approaches to and new directions in academic writing. She writes with a very interesting style and her chapters are supported with a variety of evidence, examples and implications. I strongly recommend this book as a textbook for postgraduate courses. Furthermore, the book contains excellent updated bibliographical references about academic writing which will be very useful for all researchers and post graduate students in our field.
Dr. Khairi Obaid Al-Zubaid
Language Academy, University Technology Malaysia(UTM)
International Campus, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia