My most requested article presents a model for developing
self-directed, lifelong learners. It is based on an adaptation
of Situational Leadership to the classroom and includes many
observations about teaching and learning. The internet version
includes new material and conceptual cartoons. Originally published
in Adult Education Quarterly.
Some key references on adult education.
Newsroom 101 provides about 2,000 practice exercises in grammar, usage and
Associated Press style for students and practitioners in journalism, public relations, health communication, online blogging, and related media fields.
When some visual thinkers write, their difficulties with analytical
labels, sequence, and context cause distinctive problems. This
article analyzes those problems and presents a new theory about
the nature of writing problems. The drawing at the top of the
page plays a role in this article. Originally published in Visible
Cognitive Reading Theory and its Implications for the Teaching
of Writing--with extensive recommendations on how to write for
readers who scan, skim, jump around, decide what to read and
how deeply to read it, and otherwise proactively, selectively
construct meaning from text. Originally a refereed presentation
at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
Abstract. Some students try to convert the classroom
into a place where they can employ a kind of attention that enabled
them to succeed elsewhere, but this kind of attention often works
against learning. This article offers a model for conceptualizing
why some students are difficult to teach by describing several
"channels of attention" that students may arrive in
class "tuned to" -- the social, consumer, personality,
entertainment, and street channels. This model provides a simpler
way of responding to some student differences than those offered
in theories on learning styles or cultural styles, and it points
to the importance of training students to tune in to the "Educational
Channel" that enables them to succeed in a given class.
Implicit in the model is a concept of academic disengagement
that is active, in contrast to the passive form usually described.
First published in Essays
in Education Vol. 18, Fall 2006. Use the EIE version
to print a copy. The copy on this website has been reformatted
for easier reading online.
A paper published in ASJMC Insights,
Spring 2006. Journalism graduates need to know grammar, yet many enter
the major with poor grammar skills, and the accredited curriculum
leaves little room for extra instruction in grammar. What has caused
the decline in grammar skills and what are some of the methods and
issues in teaching grammar to journalism students?
A paper published at AEJMC, August 2008. Abstract. Although the Principles of Design are often presented as though they are scientific and rational laws that were discovered in a design laboratory, they arose in a specific historical context. I suggest that these Principles still carry with them the shadow of the very things they were a reaction against -- 19th century eclecticism, the arrogance of power and empire, and especially the fear of mass chaos following World War I. The result, I suggest, is that the Principles of Design favor design that tends toward high Swiss modernism and define as chaotic any design that strays too far from this ideal. The Principles provide a one-sided vocabulary of design that describes the orderly but have fewer resources for describing the rest.
An approach to helping students become more self-directed by helping them learn how to learn from experience. Based loosely on Bandura's concept of self-efficacy, this paper explores ways to convert the spiral of self-defeat into a spiral of self-efficacy, with special attention to the "attribution" phase of learning and to "toxic self-esteem" as a problem in learning. An interesting and useful but unfinished idea, published here as a working paper.
This was my midlife crisis project -- a study of the great
self-portrait by Rembrandt in the Frick Gallery in New York.
In this piece, a middle-aged man contemplates a self-portrait
Rembrandt painted of himself in middle age. Winner of the 2002
Award for Best Creative Project from the Visual Communication
Division of AEJMC. Contains
my essay on Joseph Raffael's painting, Pomo.
A measured tribute to one of the innovative geniuses of 20th century psychology, Wilhelm
Reich, who pioneered a number of ideas that continue to be influential today, but
who died in a U.S. federal prision in 1957 and had his books burned by the U.S. government.
Computers encourage writers to substitute writing for thnking,
collaborate in ways that mix styles, self-plagiarize, become
trapped in small-screen thinking, and indulge in either prolixity
or cryptic brevity. Remedies are recommended. Originally titled,
"Lessons from the Computer Writing Problems of Professionals,"
this article appeared in College Composition and Communication,
Vol. 39, No. 2, May 1988, pp. 217-220. Even though these
observations were made in the mid-1980s, they remain surprisingly
Ideas for applying M. I. theory to a writing classroom. Exercises
are directed to high school or middle school level, but the synopsis
of M.I. theory applies at any level. A good brief introduction
to M.I. theory and an imaginative application of it to the classroom.
A working paper, dealing with Howard Gardner's original list
of seven intelligences.
Over time, magazine covers have changed radically, and that
change can be observed by following how magazines used cover
lines. This article traces the history of magazine cover lines
from early, bookish designs, through the emergence of the poster
cover and its dominance, through the integration of type with
art, to the proliferation of cover lines at the beginning of
the 21st century.
More than 100 illustrations, including an annotated portfolio
of poster covers from the 1920s to the 1990s. Published in the
Journal of Magazine and New Media Research, Summer 2002,
Volume 4, No. 2.
Three alternative approaches to healing-- energy healing,
mental healing, and spiritual healing-- and their implications
for teachers. This article seeks ways to extend our ability to
understand some of the complexities that take place in a classroom.
A good way to gain insight into what we are doing is to consider
radically different explanatory systems than the ones we are
accustomed to. This article presents three. Originally published
in Holistic Education Review.
A practical and versatile formula for writers of magazine
articles about business people, for a readership of other business
people. Originally published in Magazine Matter.
A short reflection on my cartoon on "Enraged Buddhism"
and how visual images can enfold multiple thoughts simultaneously.
Additional articles and resources on teaching
The Article Idea Game
-- A classroom method for helping students
generate ideas for magazine articles.
How to Write Badly --a
widely reprinted short humorous article on bad writing
If Bureaucrats Wrote Ads
-- a humorous look at wordiness and inflated prose
Spray -- Make a visual aid for teaching the concept of
Self-Direction Spray -- Make a visual
aid for teaching the concept of self-direction in learning. (humor)
and Lie --an exhaustive (perhaps exhausting) set
of explanations and exercises on learning Lay and Lie.
Mind Clearing Exercise
-- for when you need free attention so you can focus on something
What is a Teacher? -- a
brief inspirational piece
The Do It Wrong Approach to Teaching
Writing -- a lighthearted way to free up student writing,
by having them deliberately write badly, then learn from what
they wrote. Originally published in the Journal of Teaching
Teaching Magazine Writing with
a Criteria Checklist -- reprint of a Journalism Educator
article on spelling out the criteria for an effective article.
The Funnel of Focus --
an exercise for focusing a magazine article idea by starting
first with ideas vastly too large and working down, then starting
with ideas much too small and working up.
Using Humor to Help Students Respond
to One Another's Writing --
Kidding students into developing a response list to use when
listening to one another read work aloud.
Page Layout Faces --
Common problems in layout represented as cartoon faces.
Metaskills of Journalism --
The metaskills that underlie the skills of journalism and make
those skills possible include Clarity, Compassion, Commitment,
Context, Creativity, and Centering.
Seven Types of Paragraph Development
-- Annotated examples of narration, exposition, definition, classification,
description, process analysis, and persuasion.
Using Transitions --
A Little Story Illustrating the Major types of Transitional Terms.
Books and Two Chapters on Magazine Design: A Review Essay.
First published in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly,
Checklist for Print Publications
useful list of things to consider or check off when designing a
publication for print, such as a magazine or brochure. Includes a Word
version you can download.
Notes on Thomas Kochman's 1983 book, Black and White Styles In Conflict.
Kochman catalogued some ways black and white students responded
differently under conditions of conflict. A sample of those conclusions
is offered here to encourage discussion of an interesting and complex
Free Ideas for Journalism Research.
Several ideas I wish someone would research, including how "click"
journalism changes the role of the editor; whether inconsistency is
bad; the invasion of the term "narrative"; separating correctness from
convention in grammar; and how many grammatical terms students need to