University students need disciplinary literacy to align their disciplinary writing with the norms and ways that disciplines build arguments and construct knowledge (Hyland 2000; Nesi & Gardner 2012; Durrant 2017). Thus discipline-specific writing has grown as an important area of academic discourse studies in recent decades, but not enough research has been done on classroom instruction and material design of this important literacy practice. This lack of attention seems critical given the great demand by a growing enrollment in discipline-specific courses. The book under review is a timely reference, bringing together both theory and practice in disciplinary writing and explores various useful approaches to teaching discipline-specific writing courses. This volume is organized broadly following a curriculum cycle involved in preparing and delivering discipline-specific writing courses. Specifically, following the introductory chapter and a discussion of local context in Chapter 2, Chapters 3–6 spell out key concepts of discipline-specific writing, including course design, grammar, vocabulary, and genre. Then approaches to teaching specific disciplines and genres are discussed, such as laboratory reports for science and technology students (Chapter 7), literature review to students in social science (Chapter 8), business memo for business students (Chapter 9), and scientific writing for publication (Chapter 10). The last three Chapters 11–13 focus on the application of corpus approaches to disciplinary writing, such as data-driven learning (DDL), critical literacy, and writing assessment. In the introductory chapter, Costley and Flowerdew first provide a general background to this collection, and then discuss some key concepts related to discipline-specific teaching, such as discipline-specificity and disciplinarity, its relationship with genre, and the key approaches in disciplinary writing instruction. Discipline-specific writing is a ‘complex and demanding activity’ (p. 10); thus one needs an in-depth knowledge of its key features before he/she takes on a role as a discipline-specific practitioner or researcher. Focusing on local sociocultural and institutional contexts, Forest and Davis in Chapter 2 elaborate on a discourse-based approach by providing a detailed question-driven toolkit, and illustrate how to implement this approach in discipline-specific teaching. This approach can serve as a useful model for practitioners to draw upon when engaging students with locally situated disciplinary writing. Considering that discipline-specific pedagogy is ‘sensitive to local sociocultural and institutional norms’ (p. 12), the authors suggest customizing this approach to a particular contextualized need by conducting situation analysis from a discourse-based perspective. Chapter 3 addresses English for Specific Purposes (ESP)-course design concerning two themes: situational factors in designing academic writing courses, and learners’ and teachers/course developers’ disciplinary knowledge. Basturkmen first outlines some key concepts related to course design, and then reviews some theoretical approaches to English for Academic Purposes (EAP) writing. Based on the theoretical frameworks for curriculum design, Basturkmen presents four types of writing courses, and then discusses the curriculum design process for pre-experience learners. This chapter appeals to an in-depth understanding of students’ disciplinary needs and departmental and subject lecturers’ expectation in developing curriculum and materials for discipline-specific writing courses. With a focus on grammar teaching, Miller and Richards first discuss the role of grammar in a discourse- and genre-based writing course. Then they report a case study of applying 12 principles of discipline-specific grammar teaching to an English for science course in Hong Kong. Taking a longitudinal perspective, they present a principled course design and identify obvious teachable moments where teachers can instill grammatical features to meet students’ dynamic needs and engage them in meaningful grammatically oriented tasks. Moving to vocabulary, Coxhead in Chapter 5 presents a discipline-specific vocabulary course design based on empirical studies on vocabulary. This vocabulary teaching model covers a wide range of issues, such as planning for vocabulary use, curriculum and materials development, and feedback and assessment in academic writing. Coxhead also suggests future directions for discipline-specific vocabulary research, such as disciplinary variation and factors affecting vocabulary development. In Chapter 6, Hyon adopts a genre-based teaching approach in literature review writing course. Informed by studies on genre-based instruction, she demonstrates a model consisting of a sequential six genre-based activities for teaching book review. This approach is useful in raising students’ genre awareness and enhancing their genre knowledge, and also assists them to appreciate discipline-specific values and conventionalized discoursal norms. The focus of Chapters 7–10 switches to specific disciplines. By drawing on the relationship between register, genre, and ideology, Parkinson in Chapter 7 proposes a genre-based pedagogical model for teaching rhetorical moves in laboratory reports to undergraduates in science and technology. This model attaches importance to disciplinary linguistic features, and helps students to position themselves in relation to their identity, audience, and community. Fitzpatrick and Costley in Chapter 8 adopt an academic literacy approach to teaching literature review on annotated bibliographies to undergraduates in social sciences. They present a course model consisting of five stages to engage students and develop their disciplinary knowledge and identity. This model encourages students to explore topics of their own choice, and help them with a better understanding of disciplinary writing and more autonomy in literacy practice. Gimenez’ case study in Chapter 9 draws upon interview data and explores how academic writing in business is perceived by students and course leaders. Based on ethnographical findings, Gimenez designs a set of pedagogical actives, involving text-oriented and context-oriented practices, to enhance students’ understanding of discipline-specific textual competence. Gimenez views writing as a social practice and emphasizes the importance of identifying students’ developing needs over different stages of a learning process. Chapter 10 focuses on research writing for publication purposes. Flowerdew and Wang first outline some key concepts and pedagogical approaches, and then showcase a course design for PhD students from science and engineering background. The pedagogical initiative is followed by a case study on students’ perception of language re-use and textual mentors. Textual mentoring is a useful approach in familiarizing students with the disciplinary norms, and helps them to shape their writing toward the established paradigms and values in their disciplines. In Chapter 11, Anthony explores how corpus tools and resources are incorporated into classroom teaching, by applying DDL to writing biographies for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-based technical writing. DDL approaches allow language learners to tailor learning materials to their own target needs, and empower them with discipline-specific language skills that are transferrable into future studies. Anthony also discusses the key factors in DDL that can be integrated into disciplinary language teaching, and provides suggestions and strategies on how to apply DDL to discipline-specific writing instructions. Based on theoretical consideration, Chun in Chapter 12 presents a case study of incorporating Janks’ (2010) critical literacy approach into teaching business memo writing. A key aspect of this approach is to encourage students to use suitable linguistic features to show their critical engagement and demonstrate their appropriate power relations with the audience. The final chapter discusses language assessment in a first-year ESP writing course in Hong Kong, and outlines important aspects involved in language assessment. Speaking of Diagnostic English Language Tracking Assessment, Lockwood examines some key factors which need to be considered when evaluating students’ discipline-specific writing, such as task fulfillment, content, stance, and organization. She emphasizes the context-driven nature of disciplinary assessment, and recommends designing a situational assessment tool to cater for the specific demands of a local context when measuring students’ discipline-specific academic proficiency. Overall, the volume has provided theoretical-informed teaching models and useful pedagogical approaches pertaining to various aspects of discipline-specific writing. However, one thing that has escaped the attention is the experimental efficacy of these discipline-specific teaching models. Future studies in this strand may consider problems and solutions to the evaluation of the teaching approaches to students’ discipline-specific discourse competence. Additionally, although the importance of the collaboration between language teachers and content specialists has been recognized by researchers in this collection (e.g. Chapters 3 and 8), how to achieve an effective and fruitful collaboration is not fully discussed, and further elaboration is also needed on the roles that language teachers should play in discipline-specific writing instruction. This collection makes a significant contribution to academic writing by presenting research-based theoretical basis and potential exemplars for disciplinary language teaching. In particular, it is of high pedagogical value for practitioners, especially those engaged in the field of ESP, applied linguistics, and language teaching, to draw upon in designing and implementing their disciplinary courses in local contexts. Researchers in these areas may also find this collection a useful reference in conducting experimental studies for the purpose of raising students’ awareness of writing across contexts and preparing them for disciplinary literacy practice. Jihua Dong is a PhD student in Applied Language Studies and Linguistics at the University of Auckland. Her research interests include quantitative corpus linguistics, academic writing and disciplinary discourse analysis. She has previously published in System. Address for correspondence: Jihua Dong, Building 207, Level 3, Room 313, 18 Symonds Street, Auckland, New Zealand. <firstname.lastname@example.org> Feng (Kevin) Jiang is Kuang Yaming Distinguished Professor in the School of Foreign Language Education at Jilin University, China and completed his PhD under super- vision Professor Ken Hyland at the Centre for Applied English Studies at the University of Hong Kong. His research interests include disciplinary discourse, corpus studies, and academic writing, and his publications have appeared in Applied Linguistics, Discourse Studies, Written Communication, Journal of English for Academic Purposes and English for Specific Purposes. REFERENCES Durrant P. 2017 . ‘ Lexical bundles and disciplinary variation in university students’ writing: Mapping the territories ,’ Applied Linguistics 38 : 165 – 93 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Hyland K. 2000 . Disciplinary Discourses: Social Interactions in Academic Writing . Pearson Education Limited . Janks H. 2010 . Literacy and Power . Routledge . Nesi H. , Gardner S. . 2012 . Genres Across the Disciplines: Student Writing in Higher Education . Cambridge University Press . © Oxford University Press 2018
Applied Linguistics – Oxford University Press
Published: Feb 28, 2018
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