The Four Persuasive Strategies, by JD Meyer, Edited and Hosted by Casey Cunningham

The Four Persuasive Strategies, by JD Meyer,
Edited and Hosted by Casey Cunningham
This is the first time I’ve chosen a major section from my textbook of Developmental English/Writing for the main part of a UU service, as opposed to something from Unitarian-Universalism or other compatible liberal religion or concept. I used a couple of short narrative essays as children’s stories previously. But I chose the Four Persuasive Strategies to be the main part of a service because I kept noticing how much they come up in real life as well as academia. Furthermore, it was one of the earliest sections that I adapted in my teaching career. I found the Four Persuasive Strategies in a Silver Burdett-Ginn textbook for middle school before my renaissance at Mountain View Community College in the west Oak Cliff part of Dallas. Naturally, I’ll show the strategies at work in some persuasive essays too.
Persuasive documents seem to have the best chance of influencing the world beyond academia, as opposed to narrative, descriptive, compare-and-contrast and whatnot. I found a couple of great definitions for “intellectual” and “public intellectual,” by Dr. Ali Mazrui, a Ugandan-born scholar who now teaches for the Institute of Global Studies in New York. Dr. Mazrui was cited as one of the world’s Top 100 public intellectuals, according to . First, an intellectual is “a person who has the capacity to be fascinated by ideas and has acquired the skill to handle some of these effectively.” But a public intellectual “communicates ideas and influences debate outside of one’s own field.” Thus a letter to the editor of one’s hometown newspaper represents a modest and common effort to be a public intellectual.

The Four Persuasive Strategies are (1) Give an Example/Call for a Precedent, (2) Predict Results, (3) Prepare for or Respond to Objections, and (4) Demand for Fairness. A Chu Hsi style Neo-Confucian could say that these persuasive strategies allow us to investigate the principles of events or ko-wu. During my revisions of this talk, I recall that I referred to the Demand for Fairness strategy previously when I asserted that the Wiccan Rede, “Harm No One; Do What You Will,” captured the essence of the Golden Rule. Later I remembered that “For Jaded UU’s and Newcomers” implicitly contained a Prepare for Objections theme. This service was based on a blog at Belief Net by Barbara Bonhiver, a third generation UU at All Souls UU of New York City.
By the way, there are other possible persuasive strategy models. A Cal State website points to the writer’s character, logical arguments, and the emotions of the audience as the three ways to persuade.

Part 1: The Four Persuasive Strategies, Literary Criticism, and Fair Use.
Please check your program for the chart of the four persuasive strategies. At Texas College, I divided these four strategies into two categories. Time Orientation for Give an Example and Predict Results and Empathy Orientation for Prepare for Objections and Demand for Fairness. Then I added a focus for all four persuasive strategies. When we give an example, we are drawing upon the past or present. When we predict results, we are looking toward the future. You can make cause-and-effect arguments easily with the time orientation strategies. On the other hand, empathy means we understand how other people feel. Preparing for objections—the “Yes, but…argument”–has a heavy cognitive/justice dimension while the demand for fairness leans toward the affective/mercy dimension. Preparing for, or responding to objections, gives the other guy partial credit while the demand for fairness is the Golden Rule.
One can find persuasive statements that show characteristics of more than one of the four persuasive strategies; real life rarely falls into such neat categories. Moreover, book knowledge can’t be divorced from common sense that much either, particularly when it comes to career success. Writing success didn’t begin for me until a college instructor told me about writing every other line in a rough draft. Seeing the importance of revision came later, particularly with church services—to the point where I now feel like a “terrier with a slipper.”
With these tools, we can not only write a better persuasive essay but better comprehend current events and defend ourselves with words. Yes, successful persuasion includes a lot of common sense. To persuade means to change another person’s beliefs, actions, or some combination of the two. It is one of the three purposes of writing; the others are to inform and entertain, according to John Langan—the godfather of Developmental English and Reading A good way to recommend—a mild form of persuasion—is to use an “if…, then…” statement. I urged students to use such a statement in their conclusion paragraphs. We’re not supposed to give new information in the conclusion, but a recommendation still makes it as legal.

(1) Give an Example or Call for a Precedent is a way to cite something from the past or present in the hopes that something will happen again or won’t happen again. A key to spotting this strategy is seeing a reference from history. I knew that I had to read about James Luther Adams when Tom Stovall told us that Adams was the leading UU theologian of the 20th Century. Building on the past makes the progress of history possible. That remark reminds me of my old hero, Alfred North Whitehead—the founder of process theology. George Washington set a precedent by only serving two terms as president—something that was followed by all presidents until Franklin Roosevelt. Soon after FDR, the two-term limit became law. On the other hand, how many times have you heard that Hitler did the same dumb thing as Napoleon: attack Russia in winter with inadequate clothing?

(2) Predict Results means to offer an opinion of the future based on what’s happening now. This can be the most exciting strategy of all. The preseason football magazine industry is built on such thought, as is the new science of futurism. Here’s an example proofread by our friend Liza Ely about one of her favorite organizations, Pachamama: “I predict the Internet will continue to connect people based on shared interests and it will serve to correct the excesses of multinational capitalism. For example, one of the Pachamama Movement website groups is dedicated to environmental sustainability, social justice, and spiritual fulfillment. This includes preserving the rain forest and educating the industrialized world on the consequences of their choices. Another Pachamama group advertises the work of third world artisans.” Remember the recent service on community building that Liza Ely did
with Dr. Eric Best? Communities can exist on-line when they bring people together for a purpose and promote harmony. I just discovered in an old Nichiren Shoshu/Soka Gakkai booklet that the Chinese word “te” as in Tao Te Ching, not only means “strength” but also “character, leadership, and karma”—aka. cause and effect, you reap what you sow—hmmm.

(3) Prepare for/Respond to Objections is what we do when we anticipate the other guy’s arguments. It’s what a fair teacher does when (s) he gives partial credit. It’s what the quarterback does when he calls an audible at the line of scrimmage if he seems something unexpected. Picture this assertion, “Yes we should get an urban planning team and ask for community input, but if we don’t hire some out-of-state consultants, we could easily return to the same old inbred ideas.” That’s my summary of our Tyler 21 economic development project. I contributed to the Northside Revitalization group frequently. Remember when I called it the “Yes, but” strategy? If you point out some similarities in your critic’s thought, you may be seen in a better light. I remember there was a book series that proclaimed, “Those who don’t know their opponents’ arguments don’t completely understand their own.” Have you heard that Bible verse about the specks in two people’s eyes? I’d like to update that passage by saying, “Don’t make fun of someone’s glasses frames when you need new bifocals.”

(4) Demand for Fairness is the Golden Rule—doing to others because that’s what we want done to us or don’t want it done to us. Here’s an example of Calling for Fairness that I sent to one of the Obama websites: “I would like to see the Afghan people have the chance to develop windmill technology because of their incredible windy season, and so a third World country won’t end up like us—full of air pollution.” Afghanistan’s famed mountains and valleys create a windy land. Part Four of this service will show this strategy in action frequently.

In my seventh edition, I added an extra section after the Four Persuasive Strategies called, “Literary Criticism: Advanced Persuasion,” based on The Crisis of Criticism, an anthology of essays by Maurice Berger. Criticism must evolve or it will atrophy, shriveling due to lack of use or tired re-runs. Berger asserts that the strongest criticism can actually offer hope for that field’s future, as it can “engage, guide, direct, and influence culture.” The criticism can inspire and stimulate new forms of expression.
This spring I encountered a USC website: the Stevens Institute of Innovation, and it taught me about fair use of copyright and proved what Berger predicted. Fair use means the proper use of copyrighted material, not plagiarism. A key trial showed that fair use is transformative—a new form of expression. Two Live Crew successfully defended themselves in a law suit versus the producers of Roy Orbison’s song, “Pretty Woman.” The court declared that despite the rap band borrowing the chorus, the stanzas made a parody or satire of the chorus: a proper transformative work of the older musician’s song. I might add that such modern snickering may have the appearance of a rougher mentality, but it actually provides a moral lesson missing from our naïve would-be “tamer of the shrew. Above all, I was relieved to discover that my pronoun use chapter section was indeed transformative—something that had been in the back of my mind for months.
Returning to Berger, he warns that criticism at its worst is when it sinks into the narrow world of provinciality—a lack of relevance to the world at large or I may add—a watered-down version of it. On the other hand, the “shock jocks” like Imus and Howard Stern mistake freedom of speech for license without responsibility, to paraphrase an assertion from the hip-hop address of 2001. Casey noted that the shock jocks may not even have a desire to use real persuasion but are “playing to the already convinced.” The bad side of conservatism is when they act as censors, telling us who should not be in our gospel of inclusion because our heroes are subhuman or heretics.
Maybe time or good public relations are the only things separating what is considered orthodox or “out there.” We can read in Belief Net about the spiritual nature of the late Beatle, George Harrison, and how he popularized yoga. But did you know that a singer named Bruce Dickinson also flies jets for a British airline? Bruce also has a BBC radio talk show, was a leading fencer, wrote two novels, and narrated science programs for Discovery UK—despite being the lead vocalist for Iron Maiden, a leading British heavy metal band. Don’t worry, I wrote a brief biographical sketch of this intelligent musician in the appendix of my textbook and put it among my nearly twenty articles at –giant freelance journalism website. The ad hominem argument was the only logical fallacy that I defined in my developmental textbook because logical fallacies traditionally are covered in College Composition, the next English class. Ad hominem arguments attack the person rather than the action itself.

Part 2: Unitarian-Universalist Views of Evil
This would be a great time and place to endorse my current favorite UU brochure. It’s “Unitarian-Universalist Views of Evil.” I’ve been highlighting and making notes from this flyer. Sure I’m familiar with our Seven Principles, like upholding the dignity of the individual. But I really wanted to learn some of our officially sanctioned views of badness, so that I can understand and deal with people more effectively. I found myself coming up with some rather medieval reasons for human badness that didn’t do me any good in an absence of knowing some views on this topic by UU ministers. I saw the results, so I wanted some examples to follow.
One statement by Victoria Safford really sunk-in: Evil is “the degree of heartbreak…a sense that something has been blasted apart the collapse of what we thought was true about the world and human nature.” She sees this heartbreak more than the magnitude or cold-heartedness of the event as her main criteria for assessing evil. Of course, the other two are important as well. Paul Razor, the editor of the pamphlet stated that evil is “a reality to respond to and confront” and includes “unnecessary human suffering, not inevitable.” “Our choices matter: We can either enable or ignore the evil around us, or we can help overcome it.”
Patrick O’Neill observes that UU theological starting point is the dignity of the individual and liberating the human spirit from narrow thought and lifeless creed–not the degradation of a fallen species. But people are only inclined to do good roughly “three-out-of-five times on the average, but those few degrees are the difference between peace and Armageddon. Press down for good,” proclaims O’Neill. Elizabeth Lerner brings up the Greek views on order versus chaos. Change can prevent stagnation. “But too much chaos keeps any system from the ability to nurture, protect, or cherish. Chaos attacks or debases goodness and meaning,” according to Lerner.

Part 3: Persuasive Essays, the Strategies Within, and Pleasant Surprises
My textbook has been a long-term ongoing project. The first edition was a tiny 47 pages in ’97. The seventh edition of ‘08 reached 275 pages; 100 pages were added after leaving TC in ’06. The Persuasive chapter has model essays to go along with the persuasive strategies, essay prompts, and test-taking skills, as one would expect. Let’s look at examples of persuasive statements from some essays and the strategies behind them.
Some of the essays have extensive footnoting, like “Get Out of the Gutter, Wilonsky,” a letter to the editor of the Dallas Observer that was never published. I wrote a fiery letter to the editor because Robert Wilonsky wrote a destructive criticism on heavy metal and its fans. Let’s look at a few of my critiques. Metal introduced “good soldier, not war criminal” lyrics to popular music—quite a precedent. Wilonsky seemed angry that Aska, a local glam metal band, had a contract to play at military bases. He even surmised that the only thing metal fans hated worse than their life was yours. Wilonsky makes himself into the raging sociopath that he can’t stand—way beyond unfair. Now that’s a good statement to remember if you’re about to throw a fit of righteous indignation! Then he claimed that all music is a cheap knock-off of what preceded them. I countered with a perspective from Alfred North Whitehead that the idea of evolution or concrescence would bewilder or turnoff Wilonsky; furthermore, alternative rock wouldn’t show such frequent resemblances to HR/HM if the latter were indeed dead. Those two statements resemble the time-oriented persuasive strategies.
On the other hand, my letter to the Tyler paper was accepted back in Spring ’07—a rebuttal of English immersion being the answer for limited English speakers’ language learning. The Tyler, Texas newspaper editorial board apparently wanted to see ESOL and Bilingual Education programs destroyed. My essay concluded on a kindly, fair note: “Maybe one way to assess an argument in education is to see if its proponents have something joyful to say about teaching and being with students.” I moved this essay to the compare-and-contrast chapter next to a similar essay written a decade earlier. The only statement that the two essays had in common was a reference to the high rate of functional illiteracy among native-born Americans. Some folks claim that book knowledge and common sense have nothing in common, as if teaching subject-verb agreement is no different from staking your career hopes on the mastery of ancient Sanskrit. Choosing effective topics for study involves common sense.
About 10% of my textbook is edited student essays, and they all have the subtitle, “The Students Take Over.” The only student essay in the persuasive chapter is “My Favorite Music: Chopped, Screwed Dirty South Rap.” I concluded that the chopped innovation; that is, taking a famous chorus from a non-rap genre and writing rap stanzas around it, could be one of the greatest musical innovations of modern times. Once in a therapeutic moment, I wrote a bilingual song in which I lifted the chorus from “Y Todo Para Que” (And All for What) by mega norteno-tejano band, Intocable, and wrapped some rap stanzas in English to create the song, “You Try to Make Me English Only.” Sometimes it’s good to proclaim a precedent in a different friendly audience from the other choir you’ve been preaching to.
And now, let’s look at some pleasant surprises from my post-TC days. I used to feel that I wouldn’t be comfortable teaching a predominantly literature English class in high school since I was so adjusted to the grammar-composition focus of Developmental English. Furthermore, I still believe that the top-heavy literature component of high school English has created weak skills in grammar and composition. Nevertheless, I had a great time subbing in two classes when two Roman works were being studied. I alerted these classes to the four persuasive strategies inherent in Marc Antony’s eulogy of Julius Caesar and Medea by Archimedes—the latter a long-term assignment. Casey suggested that I look at these texts for a follow-up service, or maybe this one.

Part 4: Street Frustrations
However, my latest revision of the post-chapter quiz omitted questions best classified as revealing “street frustrations,” not something we should have in a textbook, unlike a narcocorrido. But maybe we should talk about one of them in church. For example, “charge it to the game,” includes accepting the sad reality that some associates will steal from you and lie to you and probably do the same to anybody else. So my former question asked, “If you think ‘charge it to the game’ is nothing but a rationalization for lying and stealing, then your persuasive strategy is…Fill in the Blank. Demand for Fairness.” On the other hand, ‘charge it to the game’ addresses that you put yourself or been put in harm’s way. Thus we face a statement that unites an “anti-fairness” strategy with a response to objections strategy. Analyzing that one was pure induction!
Here’s a demand for fairness that I kept, and it’s from the Keynote Address of the 2001 Hip-Hop Summit in New York City, convened by Russell Simmons: “Every time you use your rap song against another rapper and the magazines publish your words, the people you love then turn on the people you have spoken against. (With) leadership comes responsibility. You did not ask for it, it is imposed on you, but now you have to accept responsibility that you have never accepted.” There were a few feuds between rival rappers several years ago that got quite ugly.
How do I cope with the concept, “People will take your kindness for weakness,” in light of the Golden Rule? It sounds purely devilish at first glance. However Confucius wrote, “Goodness without a love of learning leads to simplemindedness.” For me, this means visiting with whomever shows up first instead of making the plans or effort to see the friends that you like the most. Extroversion has its drawbacks. I admitted to that difficulty in my textbook.
I find it intriguing that my potentially controversial examples were mostly representatives of the Demand for Fairness strategy, or what we UU’s would label as the dignity of the individual.

One weekday morning on C-Span, they had a hearing on the trade with Cuba issue. On the Call for a Precedent side, someone mentioned that all the big countries trade with Cuba like China, Japan, Brazil, the European Union, and more—so why shouldn’t we? On the other hand, Cuba is weak on the human rights issues to the point where they have stolen copyrights! So the Predict Results camp says that we need to withhold some goodies from Cuba, so they will change. We don’t have to do what everybody else does.
Next time besides those two Roman stories, I’d like to do a follow-up that examines the definition of “soft power,” by Harvard political science professor, Dr. Joseph Nye. Soft power is non-coercive persuasion that can be used by people and nations, and it reminds me of one of Adams’s Soft Stones of Liberalism. I discovered soft power in the Great Decisions book for 2009.
You can tell that those four persuasive strategies are ever-present in my brain—just waiting to tackle data from the outside world and make sense of it. To close, “If you enjoyed hearing about Meyer’s revamped Silver Burdett Ginn’s Four Persuasive Strategies, then use them yourself in your quest to make sense of the world, see the sacred in the secular, and the deceiver at the gathering.” Let’s have a feedback question-and-answer period, so the conclusion really doesn’t happen until you in the congregation have your chance for clarification. Thank you.


Final Exam for Developmental English/Writing, by Mr. J.D. Meyer: Spring 2005… Edited by Mentor, Lew Sayers

8 Rules of Subject-Verb Agreement: Circle the correct answer

1. Present Tense Verbs
a. The penguin squawks at the bulldogs.
b. The dogs barks at the penguins.

2. Words/Phrases between Subject and Verb
a. Some students who quit coming to class need to be ignored
and not tracked down by me.
b. That instructor with the Acura and the Mustang have a second job

3. Subject after the Verb
a. There are too many students “chillin” in their rooms.
b. Where is the keys of the reading instructor?

4. Compound Subjects
a. LaTonya and Adelia are on the honor roll.
b. Barnes and Noble have a bookstore in south Tyler.

5. Indefinite Pronouns
a. Everyone were watching the basketball playoffs in the dorm.
b. Almost everyone eats rice daily in China.

6. Agreement with Nearest Subject when Joined by “or.”
a. Either the cats or the dog attack unwanted, rude visitors on my command.
b. Either asphalt shingles or metal is used for roof construction in East Texas.

7. Collective Nouns
a. Our team has a new coach.
b. The squadron have certified airplane mechanics for maintenance.

8. Special Cases
a. Her glasses need adjusting immediately.
b. My black trousers has a tear on the side.

1 Between Items in a Series: Single and Multiple items.
2 Between Compound Sentence
3 After an Intro. Word, Phrase, or Clause
4 Two Commas around Interrupters.
5 To Separate Quotes from a Sentence
6 Before a Non-Essential Phrase
7 To Prevent Confusion

Comma Exercise: Just list the rule used, and each rule is used once. I provided the commas this time.

9. We went to the zoo and saw cheetahs, elephants, and quetzals
10. Joe asked, “Have you finished writing the final yet?”
11. Texas A&M and the Dallas Cowboys, two teams who’ve struggled lately, have new head football coaches
12. She wants to go to the biker club, but he wants to watch interior decorating shows.
13. Where is the cat, Willie?
14. The student is borrowing my stapler, which is purple and very modern-looking
15. After I finish writing this test, I’m going to work on my wonderful website.

Paragraphs: Match the synonyms; write your answer in the middle column. The answer is the letter next to the definition.

16. Unity……………… a. Relevance
17. Support……………. b. Sufficient
18. Coherence……………c. General statement giving the essay’s structure
19. Sentence Skills ……..d. General statement about a paragraph.
20. Topic Sentence……….e. Clear links between ideas
21. Thesis Statement……..f. Grammar

Irregular Verbs: Is the underlined word(s) used correctly? True or False

22. He drank too much Dr. Pepper after payday.
23. I have wrote my essay.
24. Where have the students hidden from me today?
25. He driven to his favorite place in the country.
26. Somebody stolen some tests, so I changed the order of the answers—ha, ha!!!
27. Have you did your essays?
28. They wrote a three-paragraph essay and flunked.

Run-Ons and Fragments: Match the Definition to the Term.

29. Comma splice…………A…….A run-on when only a comma is used …………………………………. instead of end punctuation or a comma …………………………………..and coordinating conjunction
30. Fused Sentence……… B…… A fragment with a subject and verb that ………………………………….is an incomplete thought without an ………………………………….independent clause because it starts ………………………………….with a subordinator.
31. Added Detail Fragment…C……. A run-on in which two or more
…………………………….sentences are stuck together with no
32. -“Ing” or “to” + Fragment… D…A fragment that could have been a
…………………………….non-essential phrase at the end of the
…………………………….sentence, often a “grocery list” of ……………………………………items without a subject or verb.
33. Dependent Word Fragment…. E……A fragment without a main verb.
……………………………..Instead there is just a gerund or …………………………………….infinitive.

Quotation Marks: Circle the right answer.

34. What is my “southwest to northeast” rule of quotation marks?
a. It’s a blatant take-off of a Cary Grant movie.
b. These directions mean that the comma goes after the quotation marks at all times
c. The comma goes in the southwest, and the quotation marks go in the northeast. Or the period goes in the southwest, and the quotation marks go in the northeast.

35. Which is a paraphrased statement?
a. Mother said, “You sure look pretty today.”
b. Mother said that I sure look pretty today.

Which types of words need an apostrophe? True or False. Clue: Three are true.

36. Plural nouns: The cat’s have a bowl.
37. Singular nouns showing possession: The comma chapter thrilled Mr. Mason’s classes.
38. Contractions: It’s very humid today.
39. Singular pronouns that show possession: It’s roof needs to be fixed.
40. 3rd Person Singular Verbs: Ricky run’s pass patterns
41. Plural nouns showing possession: The puppies’ owner wants to give them away.

Writing: Prewriting, Introductions, Thesis Statements, and Conclusions

42. What is something we see in introductions that we don’t see in conclusions?
a. attention-grabber and thesis statement.
b. categories for the essay topic
c. recommendations.

43. What is something we see in conclusions that we don’t see in introductions?
a. attention-grabber and thesis statement
b. categories for the essay topic.
c. recommendations.

44. When is prewriting most important?
a. when you have lots of time for an essay or report.
b. when you are uncertain about your choice of topic or find a topic difficult.
c. if it’s for extra credit.

45. An attention grabber is mainly___________ while a recommendation is chiefly________
a. persuasive…………..entertaining
b. entertaining…………persuasive
c. informative………….entertaining
d. entertaining…………informative

Match the part of speech with the examples
Part of Speech Examples
46. a, an, the…………………… . a adverbial conjunctions
47. at, beside, from, of………………..b articles
48. “FABSONY” like—and, but, so, or…….c subordinators
49. if, until, while, though…………….d prepositions
50. furthermore, however, indeed…………e coordinating conjunctions

Answer Key for Developmental English/Writing Final, by J.D. Meyer

8 Rules of Subject-Verb Agreement
1. a…………………. 5. b
2. a……………………6. b
3. a……………………7. a
4. a……………………8. a

7 Comma Rules
9. 1………………….13. 7
10. 5………………… 14. 6
11. 4………………….15. 3
12. 2

16. a………………..19. f
17. b………………..20. d
18. e ……………….21. c

Irregular Verbs
22. T………………….26. F
23. F………………….27. F
24. T………………….28. T
25. F

Run-Ons & Fragments: Match the Definition to the Term
29. A………………..32. E
30. C………………..33. B
31. D

Quotation Marks
34. c…………………35. b

Which types of words need an apostrophe?
36. F………………….39. F
37. T………………….40. F
38. T………………….41. T

Prewriting, Introductions, Thesis Statements, & Conclusions

42. a…………….. 44. b
43. c…………….. 45. b

Match the part of speech with the examples

46. b…………….. 49. c
47. d…………….. 50. a
48. e

SOL Tuesday: Meet my Developmental English/Writing Textbook, by J.D. Meyer

I taught Developmental English/Writing for ten of my 20 years in teaching. Inspired by my mentor, I started writing my own textbook for the course, and it grew to 350 pages. The chapter sections are Grammar, Introduction to Writing, Descriptive, Persuasive, Compare-and-Contrast, African-American Studies, and Appendix. Introduction to Writing starts with how to write a paragraph before moving on to short narrative and process essays. The goal of the course is to write a good five-paragraph persuasive essay for the exit exam. A fine compare-and-contrast essay can be four-paragraph block style. I added the African-American Studies chapter when I became a full-time instructor at an HBCU. I’d been an adjunct instructor at a predominantly Mexican-American community college. The Appendix contains the expected quizzes and answers, as well as vocational counseling info and Spanish lessons.

My textbook is copyrighted with the Library of Congress and illustrated with Flickr photos. I have published some chapter sections as articles, and you can find them through my website: I felt that giving a way some chapter sections would be a good way to gain publicity. However, now I’m on SSDI, Medicaid, and Medicare, so trying to publish a textbook could be a disaster–big money in August, followed by no medicine for COPD. Meanwhile, Paul Quinn College–an HBCU in SE Oak Cliff (Dallas,TX)–has made a great comeback in part through Open Source textbooks. Dr. Michael Sorrell became president of the declining college and introduced those main policy changes. Open Source textbooks are free materials normally found online, so the cost of college decreased.

Analysis of a Favorite Song: “Dissident Aggressor,” by Judas Priest written by Tipton, Halford, and Downing Rob Halford (singer).
Rob Halford & Glenn Tipton (guitar).

“Dissident Aggressor” (1978) is a hard rock/heavy metal (HR/HM) song with lyrics that show sympathy for those who flee to free countries. It’s from their third album: Sin After Sin. In this case, our song’s protagonist is attempting to escape Cold War Era East Berlin. Musically, this song features a lengthy and powerful bass solo by Ian Hill, critically acclaimed as one of the best of his career.
Many years later, thrash metal heroes, Slayer, redid this Judas Priest song splendidly. The haunting guitars show lots of distortion in both versions of “Dissident Aggressor,” fitting in with the chilling theme of the song.
The song starts with “Grand canyons of space and time universal, my world is subjected, subjected to all,” a verse that shows the nature of a wide-ranging spirit of empathy felt by songwriters among others.
“Hooks to my brain are well-in,” reminds me of the Greek legend of Sisyphus, the hard-working hero who always pushes a boulder up a hill. In this case, our angry East Berliner’s desire to escape is like having hooks in his brain that pull him toward freedom. Citizens of East European countries were not allowed to leave from 1945—1990.
Brief uprisings were brutally crushed by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), a gigantic country dominated by the Russian state. Later, several states like Ukraine, Lithuania, Armenia, and Kazakhstan—to name a few—left the Soviet Union during the fall of Eastern European Communism.
We get a vivid picture in our mind of his determination when we read, “Through cracked, blackened memories of unit dispersal, I face the impregnable wall………Exploding, reloading, this quest never ending, until I give out my last breath.” This “impregnable wall” was the Berlin Wall, built after the end of World War II and not torn down until 1990.
Thus the chorus may seem less disturbing than it would be in isolation, “Stab, Bawl, Punch, Crawl. Hooks to my brain are well-in. Stab, Bawl, Punch, Crawl. I know what I am. I’m Berlin.” As you can see by the analysis of this song, hard rock/heavy metal song lyrics can support traditional American ideals—far from the stereotype of this maligned musical genre.

Footnote: Furthermore, a few years after Priest wrote “Dissident Aggressor,” MTV did a documentary entitled “Iron Maiden behind the Iron Curtain,” a series about fellow British heavy metal band, Iron Maiden and their courageous musical tour in Eastern Europe. In retrospect, Maiden received some credit for supporting the cause of democracy by fighting communism through free speech and the entrepreneurship of the music industry.

Discussion Question: Do you agree with your author-instructor when he claims that his endorsement of the lyrics for “Dissident Aggressor” supports the foreign policy of Ronald Reagan? Previous president, Jimmy Carter, made a remark that we had an “inordinate fear of Communism,” which was dismissed as silly in light of Communist movements in places like Nicaragua.
Is there a strong chance that our hero in “Dissident Aggressor” could have proven to be an armed-and-dangerous man once he escaped East Berlin? Could your author-instructor be trying to make his “headbanger” music interests seem less counter-culture? The Berlin Wall
Maps of Germany – Visit us for more German Maps Cold War Era West and East Germany.
Note that Berlin was in the heart of old East Germany, but it was a divided city and the western half belonged to the democracy, West Germany, yet was surrounded by communist East Germany.
“Using favorite songs as prompts,” by Michael Fulton
“How to Write a Rap Song,” by Bob Urbani

SOL 17: Publicizing my Developmental English/ Writing textbook through Open Source on, by JD Meyer

In response to “What summer writing are you doing now that will inspire your future students?”

I wrote, copyrighted, and illustrated a Developmental English/Writing textbook for my students. I taught this course for ten of the years from 1994-2006 with my textbook for seven of those years as the primary textbook.

For many years, I’ve published some chapter sections as free samples to interest publishers in my textbook and gain fans along the way. I have a website at I used to have a Pageout website at McGraw-Hill before it was discontinued. A few of my chapter sections are at Open Stax of Rice University, formerly known as Connexions. My Subject-Verb Agreement Module is one of the top articles for both & Open Stax.
However, I’m on SSDI for asthma & COPD–not to mention other issues that were revealed later when I got on Medicare, Medicaid, and Cigna Health Springs. If I make more than an extra $120/month, I’ll lose some life-saving medicine and no telling what else. A big money August could really mess me up!

Then I learned of the Paul Quinn College turnaround success story. This HBCU in the SE Oak Cliff was in severe danger of closing until PQC got a new president, Dr. Michael Sorrell. Dr. Sorrell’s major reforms were to build the “We Over Me” Farm in the former football stadium, and have students do some of their work-study there to ease the cost of a private college. Furthermore, he required instructors to use free Open Source materials for textbooks. My textbook may have been cheaper than the rest, but it wasn’t free.

Recently, I added “The Four Persuasive Strategies for English/Writing,” “Promo-Pack for Descriptive Essay Section,” “Subjects, Verbs, & Other Parts of Speech with Prepositions Chart (89),” and “College Retention: Vocational Counseling & Publicizing Psychological Type Theory– The Personality-Vocation Match” to my site.

My motivation to add these chapter sections and essay was based primarily on two factors: commitment to the Open Source paradigm advanced by Dr. Michael Sorrell and finding out that a young cashier at the nearby Family Dollar is trying to get a GED. I almost did cartwheels when long-time Internet honcho-friend, Angela Maiers, like my Four Persuasive Strategies chapter section. She’s the originator of the You Matter paradigm.

To conclude, teachers don’t always go away after retirement if they keep writing and interacting with others—especially if the writing includes a textbook in a critical need area.

Bruce Dickinson: Historically Underutilized Bohemian Intellectual — A Biographical Sketch, by J.D. Meyer

Top musicians in the hard rock/heavy metal industry rarely receive the widespread serious respect and attention that they deserve. Hence, the subtitle for this biographical sketch is a play on words, a take-off on the Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) certification for predominantly minority or female owned businesses. Nevertheless, Bruce Dickinson succeeds in carving a wide range of niches for himself though his achievements largely go unnoticed as far as mainstream pop culture is concerned.

Best known as the lead singer for Iron Maiden since 1982 with a break for a solo career in the mid 90s, Bruce is a noted fencer who has a line of fencing equipment. Bruce has contributed his share of song lyrics to Iron Maiden, and he has written two novels. Dickinson also flies jets, does BBC documentaries on jets, and hosts a BBC music talk show.

Bruce began fencing at the age of 13 (1971) and became captain of the school fencing team by age 15. Music got his attention, so he quit fencing until 1983 when one of Iron Maiden’s roadies brought back his interest in the sport. Two years later, he endured a rigorous fencing trainers’ camp and earned a certificate. Bruce entered tournaments around Europe between the Powerslave (1984) and Somewhere in Time (1986-1987) tours. Bruce moved to Bonn in West Germany for tax purposes and to be close to the outstanding national center for fencing. Bruce ranked as high as seventh in Great Britain in men’s foil fencing, and his club—the Hemel Hempstead Fencing Club—represented Great Britain in the European Cup of 1989. Bruce founded a fencing supply company, Duellist.

Bruce wrote two novels, and they were translated into German. Bruce’s novels are about an English landlord, Lord Iffy Boatrace, situated in northern Scotland. Iffy’s problem in both novels is the lack of money. In The Adventures of Lord Iffy Boatrace, Iffy tries to solve his money problems through all-year long grouse hunting. But Iffy needs some grouse built for him, so his next-door neighbor, retired wing commander, Bill Symes-Groat builds some indestructible grouse. But first, the commander introduces Iffy to a huge plum pudding with a cherry on top, a very special and magical pudding. Then Iffy invites some folks from his old boarding school under the pretense of a school reunion. The guests arrive and strange things start to happen. The book was written during the Somewhere in Time tour (1986-1987) and published in 1990. It sold 30, 000 copies.

The sequel to this novel is The Missionary Position. The story begins with the Battle of Hastings in 1066 then switches to a flight to Los Angeles where an elderly couple meets Lord Iffy and his butler, ex-con John Butler. Lord Iffy and his butler scam the elderly couple of their money and tickets. Meanwhile, Lord Iffy’s new scheme is to become a TV evangelist under the guidance of Jimmy Reptile. The evangelist was modeled after a corrupt character in the Iron Maiden song, “Holy Smoke.” At the time of that song’s writing, there were at least two TV evangelist scandals, and they involved Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker. There are a few other fascinating bizarre characters, including a US senator, a Japanese businessman golf fanatic, a rock manager who spends his days in an earthquake proof Jacuzzi, and a porn star.

Bruce Dickinson’s flying career started with getting a private license before being taught by British Airways pilot, Phil Dales. Bruce passed his commercial pilot’s license and later his ground and flight exams. Now Bruce flies Boeing 757s for United Kingdom airline, Astraeus. He flew the Rangers Football Club (soccer) to a UEFA cup game against Hapoel Tel Aviv. Bruce feels that the greatest innovations in jets are the aerodynamics of swept wings and power plants. Bruce’s flying career and radio/TV career have intersected through the documentary, Flying Heavy Metal, a five-part aviation series on Discovery Channel UK. He was even a guest on a Discovery Channel about trains, and he drove a Russian T-34 tank for a program on tanks.

Dickinson presents the Friday evening rock show on BBC Radio Station Six. Bruce interviews up-and-coming musicians and plays their songs. You can find this program easily in the US on the Internet, along with archives of the series. He has taken over the BBC Radio Two serial, Masters of Rock. Bruce’s documentary career led to a show entitled, “Inside Spontaneous Combustion with Bruce Dickinson.”

Iron Maiden songs represent the peak of thinking man’s lyrics. Like Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris, bass guitarist, also was a history major in college and writes many of the lyrics for Iron Maiden. For example, Iron Maiden’s longest song (over twelve minutes) adapted Samuel Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” “The Flight of Icarus” comes from the ancient Greek myth. True to the British Air Force, “Aces High” shows the life of the fighter pilot. “Trooper” recounts a cavalryman’s tale of the Crimean War between Russia and England in the mid 1850s. Yet “Mother Russia” (1990)hails the end of Soviet domination and welcomes the beginning of a new era; time has shown the change to be a major improvement over the Cold War era. Bruce may not have written all these songs, but his influence has always been felt in the lyrics of the band.

Bruce Dickinson certainly fits the definition of a Renaissance Man, someone with a wide range of intellectual pursuits and curiosity. Furthermore, he has taken all of them into moneymaking professions. Bruce can say that he has been 42,000 feet above earth in a Boeing 757 and played in front of 300,000 fans at Rio de Janeiro with the rest of Iron Maiden. What will he do next?

Note: This information came from various websites—Wikipedia, Bruce Dickinson’s Official Website, Discovery Channel, and BBC Radio Six. Originally, this article was published at the now defunct

Booker T. Washington: Neglected Exemplar of Practical Education

By Mr. J.D. Meyer…Juneteenth 2005/Revised: Juneteenth 2008

First, it’s very doubtful that I would have discovered Booker T. Washington if it wasn’t for primary resources on the Internet. In other words, third-rate historians who pass judgment while withholding evidence from the reader have obscured the real writings of BTW. Thus BTW is “ a figure more often caricatured than understood,” to quote Thomas Sowell et al’s article, “Up from Slavery,” based on Washington’s autobiography with the same name. BTW has been unfairly and illogically labeled as an Uncle Tom for emphasizing vocational education near the turn of the 20th Century. Yet in “The Awakening of the Negro,” Washington stated that if a Black owned the mortgage on a White’s house, then that White couldn’t prevent the Black from voting. In his autobiography, Up From Slavery, Washington admitted, “How often I have wanted to say to white students that they lift themselves up in proportion as they help to lift others, and the more unfortunate the race, and the lower in the scale of civilization, the more does one raise one’s self by giving the assistance.”

Washington’s greatest speech (1895) was praised by many but maligned by some
as the Atlanta Compromise rather than the Atlanta Exposition address. It was the first speech by an African-American before an integrated audience in this country. This was a time when 100 Blacks/year were being lynched. Reconstruction was long over, having only lasted from 1865-1877. Furthermore, a conquering army had imposed Reconstruction.

In his later years, Mr. Washington admitted that if his Atlanta Exposition had been unsuccessful, it could have shattered the cause for Black advancement for years. Instead, the governor of Georgia ran across the room to shake BTW’s hand and offer congratulation. President Grover Cleveland mailed a letter of praise to BTW. The climate around the turn of the 20th Century was so tense that President Theodore Roosevelt was criticized for having lunch with Mr. Washington. It was even the topic of cruel newspaper cartoons. If you think that a call for crossbow manufacturing was overlooked, then you forgot what happened to the Black Panthers for their assertion of their American right to bear arms.

This presentation will examine the Atlanta Exposition Address, a talk that is a
component of Washington’s autobiography, Up From Slavery. Then we’ll have an
overview of “The Awakening of the Negro.” Our first reading is from “Black Race, Red Race,” reflections on Washington’s early career as the dorm supervisor of Native Americans at his alma mater, Hampton College. We will end with the article that significantly shaped my views on African-American history, “Keeping the Spotlight on Failure,” by the late Elizabeth Wright, and a chilling indictment of how many teach Black history to be little more than slavery, freedom, civil rights movement, and integration. There were plenty of great economic and institutional success stories individual and group, before the civil right movement and desegregation. Philosophical heirs to Booker T. Washington can be found at websites like and

Excerpt from “Black Race and Red Race”—BTW
Six years after graduating from Hampton Institute, General Armstrong, the
President of Hampton, invited Booker T. Washington to be the dorm director for a
group of Native American males. Hampton is still one of the leading HBCU’s
“There was a general feeling that the attempt to educate and civilize the red men at Hampton would be a failure. All this makes me proceed very cautiously, for I felt the keen responsibility. But I was determined to succeed. It was not long before I had the complete confidence of the Indians, and not only this, but I think I am safe in saying that I had their love and respect. I found that they were about like any other human beings; that they responded to kind treatment and resented ill treatment. They were continually planning to do something that would add to my happiness and comfort. The things that they disliked most, I think, were to have their long hair cut, to give up wearing their blankets, and to cease smoking; but no white American ever thinks that any other race is wholly civilized until he wears the white man’s clothes, eats the white man’s food, speaks the white man’s language, and professes the white man’s religion.”

The Atlanta Exposition Address
Why did BTW feel that vocational education was so important? First, because the
Talented Tenth that WEB DuBois wanted to nurture was just that—the 10% of any
population that can become doctors, lawyers, and the like. BTW chose to reach the black masses. As the first president of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, Washington seized the opportunity to do just that. The practical education movement at Tuskegee was paralleled at white colleges like my alma mater, Texas A&M University, because of the Morrill Act of 1862. This act provided for state funding for universities in each state to specialize in the sciences of agriculture, engineering, and more.
Thus, there is nothing demeaning in not gambling on replacing one’s archeology professor. For as, Booker T. Washington contended in Atlanta at the Exposition Address, “No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.”BTW opened the Atlanta Exposition Address by stating that the event was the greatest thing to happen between the races in the thirty years since the end of slavery. Then he admitted that the awkwardness of Reconstruction. The newly freed slaves began at the top instead of the bottom and blacks sought a political position rather than “real estate or industrial skills” or “starting a dairy farm or truck garden.”

On the other hand, subsequent research revealed to me that at least some to those African-Americans who ascended to political power truly were competent—like Matthew Gaines of Brenham, Texas. Mr. Gaines was instrumental in the founding of Texas A&M to the extent that a movement led by Aggie Republicans like my former philosophy professor, Richard Stadelmann, wanted to have a statue of Gaines erected on the campus.

Washington’s bold call to both races was “Cast your buckets down where you
are.” At that time, it meant for blacks not to give up on America and sail back to Africa. For whites, it meant not to expect foreign immigrants to be the answer to economic expansion because of the loyalty shown by African-Americans over the centuries. Suggesting anything to whites back then was quite bold. Yet perhaps the latter was one of Washington’s most peculiar contentions as there had been brutal slave uprisings, sometimes with white abolitionist assistance, as noted in WEB DuBois’s critiques of BTW. Perhaps Mr. Washington was hinting that black uprisings could have been a lot more frequent or worse in an off-hand (even clever passive aggressive) way.

Let’s jump back to the Back to Africa movement. It was extremely influential at
the turn of the century until 1920. Marcus Garvey was its most famous proponent and the leader of the largest black movement in history. Martin Delany, the first African-American field officer and a medical doctor, was another key figure. However, Delany changed his mind about the Back to Africa movement and leaned toward South America before his change as well. Dr. Delany has the peculiar distinction of almost being lynched by a white mob in a Northern border state before the Civil War; then he was almost lynched by an angry black mob because he supported an ex-Confederate officer who supported vocational education for African-Americans.
One of the most surprising aspects of this twisted by emotion era in American history for me is that some of the finest men fighting for black rights were the slave masters’ sons, as opposed to uneducated white competing for jobs open to ex-slaves apart from the BTW or DuBois game plan. Always looking at both sides of any issue, Washington admonished blacks not to sink into resentment over the atrocities of slavery because that would bog down progress.

Thus, the central theme of the Atlanta Exposition Address was that “there is no defense or security for any of us except in the development of the highest intelligence of all.” He waved aside already lost causes for his generation such as racial integration offering his example of as being “separate like fingers yet one in the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.” He never renounced equal rights under the law but noted, “The ability to earn a dollar in a factory was more important than the right to spend it at an opera house.” BTW observed that as one-third of the population of the South, blacks could be a force for progress or stagnation, depending on whether blacks took the opportunities that were given, or had opportunities denied them, or simply blundered away chances. Thus,
BTW was able to link the fate of both races by connecting rights and responsibilities.

So how different were Washington and DuBois? Less than what it is popularly
assumed today, and at one time, they were close allies. DuBois did view the Atlanta Exposition as something of a sell-out. DuBois proved to be right in noting that without political rights, African-Americans could not protect what they had earned. Yet DuBois failed to see that part of Washington’s program of vocational education proved to be the beginning of the modern science of agriculture. Building construction was another area of training in all phases from bricklaying to carpentry to architecture.
After Washington’s death, it was discovered that he secretly donated to civil rights causes. Ultimately, Washington praised whites of good will while DuBois verbally attacked whites of ill will. Washington received substantial financial contributions for Tuskegee Institute as its president. DuBois lived to be 95 (1868-1963) while Washington didn’t make it to 60 (1858-1915). Admittedly, the savagery of white backlash over black success and BTW’s relentless speaking and work schedule may have driven him to an early grave. On the other hand, poor DuBois was subjected to an FBI investigation for his socialist leanings, and he moved to Ghana to spend the last years of his life with Kwame Nkrumah, its first president and a Pan-African giant.

Yet DuBois shared the fears of Washington that if whites lost their prejudices
overnight, much of the ignorant masses of blacks would stay down through using
prejudice as an excuse or drift into “indifferent listlessness or reckless bravado.” In short, you could not imagine a more effective early leader for African-Americans than BTW. His ability to point toward quiet economic success as a prerequisite for the achievements of later generations was essential and tragically unappreciated. There wouldn’t have been a Civil Rights’ Movement if some African-Americans hadn’t risen to middle-class stature. Likewise, my new T-shirt says Martin Luther King’s dream is being realized in Barack Obama’s message of change.

The Awakening of the Negro
Washington’s vision of practical education included witnessing the opposite. Once he saw a young man studying French grammar in a run-down shack, and another time, BTW saw a young lady playing a rented piano in a run-down shack. Washington responded to the objections that would surface later anyway: a young black has the right to study French or the piano. But in those troubled poverty-stricken days right after slavery, a more practical alternative was needed. Washington earned his degree at Hampton College—a model for Tuskegee. Washington was “surrounded by an atmosphere of business, Christian influence, and a spirit of self-help that seemed to have awakened every faculty in me, and cause me for the first time to realize what it meant to be a man instead of a piece of property.”

Washington saw the cardinal needs for African American as, “food, clothing,
shelter, education, proper habits, and a settlement of race relations,” a list that reminds me of the basic needs according to Abraham Maslow. Furthermore, Washington believed that training of strong young people in the “head, hand, and heart” would lift up the race from within better than missionary efforts launched from afar. By learning industrial or hand training, the young African-American could move up from their status at that time. Three other factors stood out: (1) the student could pay for some of his tuition; (2) the school called for a job that required skill; (3) the industrial system teaches “economy, thrift, the dignity of labor” and gives “moral backbone” to students. Such a student gains a “certain confidence and moral independence” when he is “conscious of his power to build a house or wagon or to make a harness.”

It is easy to update these practical suggestions for our century. Obviously,
residential and business construction are still leading fields, and the automobile or truck has replaced the wagon and the harness for the horse. But we need to add computer skills to our list of confidence-imparting practical skills. I am one of many who have the power to search the Internet, type rapidly and save the information on a computer or on a disc, insert tables, dabble with contrasting fonts, and make a Power Point. I could get off-task and ramble indefinitely about the new practical professions that exist today but were not present at the time of BTW.
Mr. Washington’s vision of industrial education was “how to put brains into every process of labor… (Therefore) much of the toil is eliminated and labor is dignified.” Tuskegee had a staggering total of 650 acres of land for agriculture: cattle and vegetables. At this time, 85% of African-Americans in the South worked in agriculture. Furthermore, Tuskegee graduates taught rural blacks how to save money, get out of debt, and buy their own house. Keeping isolated schools open more often was another typical goal. Older adults organized local clubs or conferences, and the Tuskegee Negro Conference was held every February, bringing 800 people together from all over the Black Belt. Besides the Tuskegee Negro Conference for the masses, BTW started a simultaneous gathering called The Workers’ Conference. The Workers’ Conference brought together instructors and administrators from the leading black schools of the South. By having these conferences at the same time, the laborers and educators were able to learn from each other.

What was the strategy behind Washington’s focus on industrial education? It was
to improve race relations through empowering blacks to produces something the white “wants or respects in the commercial world.” Furthermore, the white would become partly dependent on the black and less able to deny his political rights.
One of the greatest evils of the slave system is that it warped the work ethic. The white master did not work but was the ideal—the idle rich. Another evil was that slavery discouraged labor-saving machinery. Blacks worked but under protest. All of these strange quirks led to the Southern habit of putting off repairs until tomorrow. Thus the Tuskegee influence bettered all society—not just black. The South evolved from exporting its cash crop—cotton—in exchange for food supplies, to a society with diversified agriculture.

Keeping the Spotlight on Failure
Elizabeth Wright refutes the notion that blacks achieved little before integration in this fine article. The result of conditioning blacks into such thinking leads them to having a negative opinion of black businessmen and institutions while accepting the guidance of the elite without question. The perpetrators of this view are the black elite and white liberals. She cites no less than nine successful African-American entrepreneurs who lived between 1840—1930; some even lived before the Civil War.

Wright notes that during Booker T. Washington’s heyday, blacks had a better spirit of entrepreneurship, optimism, and pragmatism. It was accepted that economic change would precede changes in the laws. Getting bogged down theory or dwelling on victimization would divert one from making money. Furthermore, the Tuskegee Movement provided moral encouragement as well as technical assistance. Frequently, Washington and his colleagues would go into the rural areas and show poor blacks how to get out of debt, save their money, keep grade schools open more often, and become homeowners.

After the end of BTW’s influence, progress was no longer due to the individual’s effort and enterprise but the result of a group of civil rights leaders. The title that Ms. Wright chose for this article was actually borrowed from Mr. Washington himself. He noted that there were already black leaders in his time that wanted to remind their followers of sad stuff to keep them loyal but depressed and good whites feeling guilty. Nevertheless, I’d like to interject that it’s essential to examine each view in order to have a balanced view of African-American social/intellectual history. Without legal protection, successful black communities like Tulsa suffered wholesale destruction with no recourse, and lynchings got worse when African-Americans became more successful in the first two decades of the Twentieth Century. Ironically, the Tuskegee machine was far from democratic and often crushed opposition from other black scholars.

Overall, I still endorse Ms. Wright’s view of African-American history with its
endorsement of Booker T. Washington as the more valid model. For example, the GI bill enabled many black World War II veterans to go to college, become more successful economically, and influence legal change. Perhaps the current young hustlers carry on some of that BTW style attitude concerning the importance of “make money first”; however, there’s all too often a spirit of Machiavellianism and a frequent idolization of gangsters. Obviously, black-on-black crime has never been worse, especially violent crime. John McWhorter observes a counterproductive anti-intellectual spirit in today’s youth also. Washington endorsed putting scientific skill into trades like agriculture, and he never negated that a “talented tenth” would go into professions like medicine and the law. But BTW did note that it’s more important to be able to make a dollar than spend it
in the theater of your choice.

Let’s look at some of those entrepreneurs cited in Ms. Wright’s article. First, she mentions Martin Delany (1812-1885) of West Virginia, hailed as the “Malcolm X of the 19th Century.” I mentioned a bit of history earlier in this essay. Dr. Delany was the first black field officer and medical doctor. He also was a book and magazine author who wrote non-fiction and fiction. Dr. Delany wrote for Frederick Douglass’s journal, the North Star. Charles and Ana Spaulding founded the Mutual Life Insurance Company of Durham, North Carolina at the turn of the 20th Century, and the company still exists today. William Powell was an ex-slave who opened a repair shop and invented or improved tools. George Downing owned a hotel in Rhode Island and was a caterer before the Civil War. Robert Reed Church was a Memphis businessman who built a park for summer festivities, graduations, and held Thanksgiving dinners for the poor.

To conclude my summary/analysis of “Keeping the Spotlight on Failure,” we
need an inclusive attitude toward information on history, especially something as twisted by dogmatic paradigms as African-American history. I certainly didn’t want to read depressing Black History essays, and I received tons of them until I wrote a guide to writing a Black History essay for my class. It was their one chance to do an essay on this topic, so be happy. Undoubtedly, Ms. Wright could have predicted that young blacks would generally focus on the dreariest aspects of their history unless urged not to do so.

To conclude this talk, I hope you have a better understanding of Booker T.
Washington’s achievements in the cause of African-American advancement and the business-oriented movement that not only succeeded him but preceded him too. It is too easy to judge somebody in the distant past by today’s standards. Maybe history can teach us to develop empathy and understand cause-and-effect. Furthermore, it is a victory for an entire country when any disadvantaged group can improve their status, not just the disadvantaged group.

Utilizing the #You Matter Paradigm by Angela Maiers in Composition Textbooks, by Joffre (“JD”) Meyer

On Utilizing the #You Matter Model by Angela Maiers
for Sustainability in English Composition & Developmental English/Writing Textbooks,
by Joffre (“JD”) Meyer

The “You Matter” educational model developed by Angela Maiers looks like an ideal complement for the sustainability in composition theories of Derek Owens. Whereas sustainability vindicates the validity of one’s neighborhood and career goals as source material, “you matter” brings an articulate method for affirming the individual.
Let’s start with highlights from the You Matter Manifesto. (1) You have influence through solving problems by contributing your genius in a new way. (2) Your insight can find original solutions if you have enough passion and don’t surrender to indulgence. (3) Your actions define your impact; you have a gift that others need. (4) Our presence is important, for we can realize that we matter in small encounters.
In concluding, Angela Maiers defines to matter as to be significant and relevant, as well as consequential and important—perhaps not locally, but elsewhere. Through the Internet, I was able to discover the persuasive and uplifting work of Angela Maiers and renew the defense of my philosophy of writing textbooks.
In “12 Ways to Let People Know They Matter,” Angela Maiers begins with a quote from the late Jackie Robinson, the baseball star. Robinson proclaimed, The measure of a life is its impact on others, rather than one’s accomplishments.” Maiers notes that those who simply believed in her made the biggest impact on her, not necessarily raved about her expertise or accomplishments. Once again, my analysis of her article will attempt to apply “you matter” to sustainability in composition.
Angela Maiers reveals that we ask, “Do I matter to you?” For the classroom, this implies we should allow a wide range of essay prompts and model essays for our students in our textbooks and assignments. In that we way, teachers show they really care about what the students are saying.
A great mattering question for the writer is, “What rocked your world (not necessarily today)?” Young kids ask out loud, “Is this okay?” Developing writers have the same feeling inside; they need encouragement. Cynicism sucks the life out of work, business, and people, according to Angela Maiers. For years, I have acquiesced to the cynic-supported fear that I should settle for only submitting my grammar chapter to a textbook publisher.
An open teacher/writer could be so inspired by his students’ wide ranging essays to include some as edited student essays in his/her textbook. Edited student essays turned chapter sections received the subtitle, “The Students Take Over,” in my textbook. It’s like talking nicely about the other in conversation shows what has been shared. Offering hope is as contagious as its opposite. Teachers can lift students above their circumstances or send them into a tailspin, cautions Mrs. Maiers.

Remedial English Meets Stand-Up Comedy

  Originally a Presentation at a Downtown Tyler Arts Event: Precursor to Tyler Spoken Word

I decided to go through my Developmental English textbook and look for funny model sentences. Textbook engagement is one of the major concerns in that industry. Most of these model sentences are from the grammar chapter. I’ll lead into them by mentioning a category first. Well after this talk, I realized that the textbook engagement aspect of amusing model sentences would add to my sustainability in composition stance.

Three sentences are accounts of rare physical humor in the classroom. Very early in the semester, I’d say, “The teacher threw an eraser over the students’ heads,” while I was explaining the prepositions as usually about space and often beginning with the letters, “a, b, o, u, or t.” Now let’s talk about fragments. “I type,” is a very short sentence: subject, verb, and complete thought. However, “Drives to the basket after a fake in the opposite direction,” is a very long fragment that’s missing a subject. Of course, I demonstrated my move for the class. How about a very forceful imperative sentence? “Watch out for that pit bull hiding behind the car on the front porch.” That led to a successful titanium hip replacement after slipping on wet grass but no pit bull bite, as the beast was on a chain.

I’ve been known to make health-related and pet-love jokes. “Finally, (comma) I can walk up the stairs without wheezing,” illustrates a comma after an introductory word. I have had two phases of hording cats. Once I was able to make a pro-cat remark and salute Whitney Houston: “He has found the greatest joy of all—(dash) to have a pack of red cats.” That dash prevented an added-detail fragment. Here’s an actual happy cat family event, “I gave my male cat, Dat, a compliment (not complement) for letting the three female cats eat first (Smoky, Ms. Kwame, and Lupita). That sentence was from a Commonly Confused Word chapter section.

I have proposed an all-new acronym for the coordinating conjunctions because FANBOYS paints a very disturbing picture in my mind that involves a monarch and far from role model activity on the part of youth. So I’m offering FABSONY as a new way to remember the coordinating conjunctions–for, and, but, so, or, nor, and yet—while saluting a fine Japanese radio/TV company and its founder, Akio Morita. By the way, I read his biography, Made in Japan, back in the Nineties.

It can be fun to acknowledge the generation gap. “I can’t understand why so many young people wear loose jeans (two “o’s” not one), and why bell-bottoms and flares haven’t made a comeback.” ((More from the Commonly Confused word chapter section). On another note, make a joke about teachers usually being more bookish than students, “Searching through the websites, the instructor tried to find something exciting or at least tolerable for his students.” That shows the use of a comma after an introductory phrase.

Hinting at strictness when it comes to passing or not is prudent, whether through teacher talk or the teacher’s book. Some students (and maybe some administrators) think a jolly teacher might pass anyone. One of my early statements in the semester was “Just because I may laugh with y’all and try to be funny doesn’t mean I won’t do the same thing next semester when I see you if you do bad on tests and don’t turn in essays or do poorly on them. The instructors for the higher level classes are next door to me, so I don’t want to risk hearing them complain about a backwards student.” Awareness of mischief is good too. In an irregular verb quiz section of a multiple-choice quarterly exam, I once gloated,”Somebody stole the answer key from my office, so I changed the order of the answers–ha, ha!” True or False? True on both counts!

Let students know what your pet peeve is in grammar since that could be extra memorable. I can’t stand apostrophe splices! Don’t use an apostrophe with a singular noun that doesn’t show possession. Years later, I saw a funny picture on a Facebook grammar site that had the caption, “Every time you use an apostrophe + “s” to make a noun plural, a puppy dies.” I get funny with pictures too for a Flickr photo of a Jolly Roger flag is next to statement,” Look at the lovely lady’s.” Look at what of hers; wait, you want me to look at a photo of three ladies. Don’t use an apostrophe with a third-person singular verb; that’s even worse. A Flickr photo of unique sign shows rotating saws with the caption, “Don’t feed body parts into adjacent counter-rotating rollers,” goes next to that model sentence. You can only get that zany once per chapter or maybe once per book, so pick your pet peeve wisely. Comma use can be more important than acknowledging when to catch your breath. A comma to prevent confusion can be very important, “Let’s eat, Helen.” Without a comma in that sentence, the author could be suggesting cannibalism!

Let’s talk about dealing with African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) because it’s a Developmental English/Writing textbook. Ebonics is not a proper term because it implies a completely separate language. Irregular verbs and subject-verb agreement seem to be the most likely place for this slang or dialect. Check out these false statements on True-False test on irregular verbs. “I’m gone to the house. She being silly again. This exam is so throwed, I’m glad to be taking it.” Now don’t get the wrong idea. In a subject-verb agreement quiz I confessed, “Internet sites, and not Mom, reveal that Black Irish were mixed: African-American and White, thereby explaining Grandmother Charlcye Elrod’s resemblance to actress, Josephine Baker.”

Do you have a controversial hero, or do you still enjoy some of his or her old writings? What if you have a redneck teacher who could give you a lower grade just because (s) he got mad? There’s a way you can quote somebody and not give their name. Preface or conclude the quote with a phrase like, “A prominent thinker once said, ‘Let’s look at a great quote from the Keynote Address at the 2001 Hip Hop Summit in New York City, “Every time you use your rap song against another rapper and the magazines publish your words, the people you love then turn on the people you have spoken against. (With) leadership comes responsibility. You did not ask for it. It is imposed on you, but now you have to accept responsibility that you have never accepted.'” That was from the Keynote Address at the 2001 Hip Hop Summit in New York City. Then I have a picture of Russell Simmons to go with that quote. He was the organizer, and everybody likes him. So I was just able to get away with quoting Minister Louis Farrakhan and not get in trouble (big laugh ensues).

Here’s a goodie from early in the Persuasive chapter, “If you give your Valentine a Tupperware full of chocolate mints chiefly because you like to have containers for leftovers, then your persuasive strategy in love would be….(Predicting Results).” It’s good to quote a joke from somewhere else. In a chapter section on developing you vocabulary, I quoted Frank Burns (played by Larry Linville) from M*A*S*H when he said, “It’s nice to be nice to the nice.” “Nice” makes the short list as one of the most overused words.

Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers is a rare advanced grammar chapter section that is funny from start to finish. Much of the section shows how a sentence’s meaning can be totally changed through placement of the words: “almost, only, just, nearly, and even.” To end, I’ve actually provided a risqué, but cautionary, model declarative sentence. Here’s a way to use a pair of dashes, “She had all the qualities a gentleman could want—a steady job, social adeptness, and a lack of meanness—but a far different type of female enamored him.” Bad!

Thank you very much. You’ve been a receptive audience. Feel free to read and laugh.

Bilingual Academic All-Level Vocabulary (BALAV) with Attention to Cognates & Influence from Robert Marzano

Introduction: Academic vocabulary is more difficult to learn than conversational language. In fact, low intermediate English speakers with some conversational English ability are assumed by the general public to know far more English than they really do. My folksy way of summarizing my thesis for Bilingual All-Level Academic Vocabulary  (BALAV) is the following, “If the newcomer just learned how to say, ‘Mr. Meyer is complaining again.’ then the newcomer better have the chance to read about the recession, tectonics, hyperbole and the quadratic formula in Spanish.” To quote Jane Spalding–a French/German professor: “To understand the culture, you need to understand the language.” This applies to content language too. Dr. Spalding made this remark during her address at the kickoff event for the University of Texas at Tyler’s Global Awareness through Education (GATE) program on September 25, 2011.

One particular situation really bothers me in secondary education for Limited English Proficiency (LEP) students. Beginners often copy material from the textbook, and they have no idea what the book or the teacher is talking about when they are not in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).The study guide for ESOL certification declares that the “linguistic challenge of content should determine the method of instruction; it’s the first consideration of planning.” Fortunately, most secondary Texas textbooks have Spanish glossaries; strangely, English is the major exception. I like the glossaries that do not separate the English Glossary from the Spanish Glossary but instead repeat the same term in English then in Spanish. That way, it’s easier for the student to notice the cognates between the two languages.

I. The National Council for the Teachers of English (NCTE) calls for Limited English Proficient (LEP) students the chance to use their first language to achieve competence in English and develop an understanding of content in curriculum. “IRA/NCTE 12 Standards for the Teaching of the English Language.” Standard #10 pertains to allowing English language learners to make use of their first language. Cognates study forms a bridge from Spanish to English, and cognates can be grouped by prefixes and suffixes. According to Dr. Jill Mora “Of the twenty thousand most commonly used words in English, four thousand–or 20 percent–have prefixes. Fifteen prefixes make up 82 percent of the total usage of all prefixes.” Here’s a chart with 2000 roots, prefixes, and suffixes.

II. Technical and formal English have roots in Latin and French—the main ancestors and a relative of Spanish—a Romance language. Thus, cognate study is more important for technical and formal English than informal English, which is German in origin. Furthermore, cognates seem to be far more common in essential vocabulary for English and Social Studies than in overall English a difference of roughly 85% to 62% in a preliminary survey. So this program is a type of transitional bilingual education that is never all Spanish. It’s not a dual immersion program.

III Bilingual education is not confined to the U.S. Edmonton, Canada is the leader in bilingual education in North America with several bilingual programs, not just French, but eleven languages at the Institute for Innovation in Second Language Education (IISLE). India is another country with extensive bilingual education programs. Some feel that bilingual education is a case of Americans being too nice and not a legitimate program. Becoming fully bilingual improves mental flexibility.

IV. Bilingual assistance for secondary age children could lower the dropout rate. Concern for the dropout rate is a component of national urban planning together with education. Lessening gaps in achievement between the various ethnic groups and socioeconomic levels seems to be a universal goal for all school districts.

V. Immersion (English only) does not provide comprehensible language. Comprehensible input lowers the affective filter. Success in one’s first language is the best predictor of success in the second language. Once you can read, you can read, according to Dr. Stephen Krashen. This is transfer of literacy. Go to this article by James Crawford, “Does Bilingual Education Really Work?”

The Tennessee Academic Vocabulary Project by Connie Mayo and Deborah Boyd, is based on the research of Robert Marzano and Debra Pickering, the recognized leaders in vocabulary instruction. Marzano and Pickering wrote a book with even more vocabulary terms that has over 7900 words.

VII. Let’s group vocabulary according to essential as well as unit, chapter, and section. Testing students over essential vocabulary in their native language in past grades would be an important way of assessing their education in their homeland. The LUCHA program at the University of Texas at Austin examines the transcripts of Mexican students, and it offers Spanish courses on-line to help with the transition from Spanish-only to fully bilingual. Furthermore, if a student arrived in this country after the start of the school year, missed essential vocabulary for this year’s subjects could be given to the student.

VIII. Vocabulary instruction compensates for socioeconomic gaps in vocabulary knowledge, according to Marzano and Pickering. Children from poorer socioeconomic levels don’t hear as many as words as those from wealthier backgrounds.<

IX. A school-wide vocabulary program could include Bilingual All-Level Academic Vocabulary as a component. Native English speakers would participate in an all-English program. Check out “Using English for Academic Purposes.”

X. At times, we should use the phonetic alphabet since there are more sounds than letters in English. For example, there is a voiced and unvoiced version of the “th” sound. “This” and “that” are voiced while “thick” and “thin” are unvoiced. Also, the “oo” sound when it’s long sounds like the Spanish “u,” such as the “u” in “impromptu” while the “oo” sound when it’s short is like the “u” in “put.”


Suggesting a cognates-oriented bilingual approach for academic vocabulary after fifth grade doesn’t have to be viewed as heresy. Standard #10 of the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) proclaims, “Allow English language learners to make use of their first language.” Finding ways to reduce achievement gaps between English learners and native speakers should be a priority—not to mention reducing dropout rates.

Most importantly for the administrator who wants to lessen the ensuing attacks, one could bury the cognates instruction for ESOL students within an overall Direct Vocabulary Instruction program (Marzano and Pickering) for the entire school or even school district. Vocabulary instruction reduces achievement gaps between socioeconomic groups and was a key component of the state of Tennessee winning the first round of Race to the Top—a National Department of Education contest.

The formal and technical roots of English are in French and Latin while informal English is descended from German. Spanish is a Romance language like French, and both are descended from Latin. Thus, academic language naturally lends itself to cognates study.

Make tables of essential vocabulary available for all core courses. I use four columns, starting with English word and Spanish translation. Then I give a check as to whether the words are cognates or not, something that isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition, especially when two-word terms are present. The last column is for comments, usually left blank, but can mention fine points of difference in grammar between the two languages. Essential vocabulary lists can really help when a student enters the school at a time other than the start of the school year or semester—a bigger possibility for ESOL students. Furthermore, you could quiz the newcomer on the previous year’s vocabulary for your state’s school. I noticed quite a bit of difference in essential vocabulary between Texas and Tennessee.

Refer to the phonetic alphabet. Spanish and English don’t share all the same sounds; some sounds in English don’t even have letters of their own, such as strong and soft “th”, as shown in “Like this and like that, we go through thick and thin.” Many sounds in English can be spelled a variety of ways, such as short “e.”

In short, if the newcomer has just learned to say “Mr. Meyer is writing again,” don’t expect them to understand academic terms, such as stimulus plan, photosynthesis, analogies, and y-intercept without some English-Spanish cognates and direct vocabulary instruction.

BALAV Revisited: When Spanish Instruction Sites Use Cognates Instruction.
My journey on Twitter has led me to Real Fast Spanish @rfspanish, by Andrew Barr. One of their articles is “Words You Already Know: 1001 Cognates.” Since teaching Spanish with cognates instruction is acceptable, then teaching Spanish-speakers cognates isn’t heretical either. I also met Juliana Suarez, founder of Kinder Bilingue @KBilingue and @Bilingualedchat. One of her articles was a bilingual guide for LEP parents to ask questions to their children’s teachers.