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Teaching Academic Writing: Theory, Practice & The Passive Voice Controversy Paperback – February 17, 2012
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One telling measure of how differently teaching is regarded from traditional scholarship or research within the academy is what a difference it makes to have a "problem" in one versus the other. In scholarship and research, having a "problem" is at the heart of the investigative process; it is the compound of the generative questions around which all creative and productive activity revolves. But in one's teaching, a "problem" is something you don't want to have, and if you have one, you probably want to fix it.
Asking a colleague about a problem in his or her research is an invitation; asking about a problem in one's teaching would probably seem like an accusation. Changing the status of the problem in teaching from terminal remediation to ongoing investigation is precisely what the movement for a scholarship of teaching is all about. How might we make the problematization of teaching a matter of regular communal discourse?" - Randy Bass
This book by author Thomas Baker makes a positive contribution to the scholarship and problematization of "Teaching Academic Writing". Is there really a Passive Voice Controversy? Maybe, maybe not, but we won't know until we open this problem for discussion about the best way to deal with this for a wide diversity of English language learners.
The book focuses on the "Product Approach" and the "Process Approach" to writing. Each approach was explained in detail. Process writing is a genre-based approach to putting words on paper. The stages of process writing include prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and producing the final copy. All writers need to include each of these important steps in their work. It is important to remember that "revising is related to reconsidering the topic, audience, organization, and content of the first draft."
While reading this book I was reminded that "it is necessary for new vocabulary to be seen multiple times in multiple contexts before it is acquired."
The author explained the difference between passive voice and active voice, something I struggled with early in my writing career. Passive voice "allows subjects to become impersonal". The author gave several good examples of when it is appropriate to use the passive voice.
The book was well researched with a lot of reference material cited throughout the piece. It was interesting to note that some of the material was written as early as 1971, when I was a high school student. Valuable information never goes out of style. A writer could publish work today that will impact someone forty years from now. Writers never know what impact their work could have on future generations.
I learned a lot about writing by reading this book. I am planning to put the knowledge to use in my career as an author, and also as a writing coach for my granddaughter, a college student.