Dr. James B. Webster

Founder and Author

James B. Webster, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Dalhousie University and author of Blended Structure and Style in Composition, holds BA and MA degrees from the University of British Columbia and a PhD from London University (England). He taught at the elementary level for five years, secondary for six, and as a university professor for thirty-one years—twelve in Africa. Widely published in his field, he has always stressed creative writing and composition in his history classes. For almost three decades, he assisted Mrs. Anna G. Ingham, C.M., in presenting the Blended Sound-Sight Program of Learning during summer workshops and seminars. Now in retirement, Dr. Webster continues to write, lecture, and tutor in Vancouver, BC.
 

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History

In the 1970s as a professor at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Dr. Webster found it difficult to teach history to students who could not write well enough to explain the history they were studying. Basing his instructions on his aunt's work, during the first ten minutes of every history period, Dr. Webster gave mini-lectures on how to organize paragraphs, organize essays, and follow stylistic checklists.

He built up a very sophisticated rubric, which had over a hundred things that students would incorporate into a paper for Dr. Webster’s classes. Of course, the students liked that because they knew exactly what to do for this professor. Word got around Dalhousie that if students wanted to learn to write, students should take Dr. Webster's African history class. Dr. Webster used his nine-unit program, Blended Structure and Style in Composition, to inspire quality writing not only from his native English-speaking students but from his countless international students as well. Eventually expanding the program to meet the needs of middle and high school students, Dr. Webster also conducted eleven-day professional development courses in Canada.

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