A Book Review By Derek Wong –
Title: Science Communication: Making Science Engaging
Authors: Sirinut Sawatdeenarunat & Tang Kum Khuan
Publisher: Oxford Publishing
Science is inside the laboratory as much as outside. Taking science outside requires specialized communication skills, which is exactly what Science Communication – Making Science Engaging aims to teach. Taking on a rhetorical approach, this book interprets popular science communication in a four-pillar model: appeals, moves, explanatory strategies, and evaluative language. This book has chosen popular science news article and TED Talk as the target genres, drawing learner’s attention to the dynamics between audience, rhetorical strategies, and linguistic choices. The course aims at not only enabling learners to communicate science ideas to public without the technical background, but also incubating awareness that enables learners to make genre decisions in other communicative scenarios.
Growing out of a similar popular science course at CELC, NUS, this book is based upon tried and tested teaching approaches and strategies. Topics are first discussed with examples, followed by exercises before wrapped up with metalinguistic reflection, which highlights the skills’ expandability beyond the immediate genre and context. While perfectly fitted for classroom use, independent learners will find the elaborate explanation of concepts and self-assessment guide useful and supportive, and even more so when learning with peers as recommended by the authors. I found the book’s treatment of genre as a dynamic and rhetorical process particularly meaningful, as genre approaches often easily become prescriptive without that realization.
To access the book via NUS Scholarbank, please visit this link: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/195869