So, we’ve established that writing is a skill that takes practice and there are nuances to writing that can be learned. When we read a good book, we see what works well and what doesn’t, or sometimes we don’t see what is working well, because it is working so well that we can’t really explain why that is.
My daughter has played piano since she was four (she is now 15). I watch and listen to her play in amazement at her skill; from my point-of-view, it looks a little like this:
In fact, those are actually her hands playing! After listening to her for so long, I know when she has played well or when she has hit a wrong note. But 11 years of taking her to lessons doesn’t help me very much if I sit down at the piano myself. I have learned some things over the years from watching her, but I will never be able to just sit down and play like she does, unless I learn the parts first for myself. With piano, that seems easy- take lessons. With writing, it isn’t as simple. No one ever sees a flyer on a telephone pole for writing lessons (Hmmm…. wait, what was I saying?).
In academia, back in the day (meaning when I was getting my BA… meaning before the internet if you are trying to figure out when that day was), we had to figure out how to master academic writing by reading good writing, deciphering minimal notes from professors, and figuring it out ourselves. It was kind of awful.
These days, a lot of teachers and professors use a student-centered model, meaning trying to teach focusing on the students first instead of the material first (This seems a bit like a “duh” to me, but that’s how my mind works anyway).
I use a book in my classes called They Say; I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing by Graff and Birkenstein. There are a few different iterations of this book with varying subtitles, but they all teach the same principles. The point is to demystify academic writing by breaking it down into its parts and explaining how those parts work together.