Outshine The Darkness Rally

Mark James Miller Picture-Logo

Less than a week after the shocking events in Charlottesville, a remarkable coalition of progressive groups came together in Mission Plaza in San Luis Obispo. Their purpose was not only to declare solidarity with the counter-protestors of Charlottesville, but also to send a message of love, hope and unity in the wake of the ugly violence that came…Follow the link below to read more

Outshine the Darkness With Hope, Light August 25, 2017

Writing: An Essential Skill


Mark James Miller Picture-Logo

Writing is a fundamental skill, necessary for success both in school and at work.

As an adjunct English instructor at Allan Hancock College, I deal on a daily basis with the fact that students coming into the classes I teach are startlingly deficient in this elemental ability.   They frequently lack such basic knowledge of knowing how to write a complete sentence, construct a paragraph or write a thesis statement.

Click the link below to read more

Writing–An Essential Skill



Hearing Loss No Obstacle to Learning

I am open with my students about my hearing loss.

Hearing loss no obstacle to learning 6-9-17I am open with my students about my hearing loss. I want them to be as comfortable with it as I am, and understand it requires some adjustment on their part, just as it does on mine.

In order to hear them I have to ask for silence in the classroom when another student is speaking, because background noise is a killer when I am trying to listen to someone individually.  Read more by following link below.

Hearing loss no obstacle to learning 6-9-17


Earth Day: From the Central Coast to Global Phenomenon

In January 1969, a blowout took place on Union Oil’s Platform A, six miles off the Summerland coast, spewing between 80,000 and 100,000 barrels of crude oil into the Santa Barbara Channel.

As horrified residents watched their beaches turn black and the news media showed the world the thousands of dead and dying birds and other marine life caused by the spill, a new consciousness about humankind’s relationship with Earth came into being. A new movement, environmentalism, was born, and along with it Earth Day, right here on the Central Coast.  Read more by following link below:

Earth Day From Central Coast to Global April 7, 2017

The Gaviota Wind Caves

Gaviota-Wind-Caves-10Of all the sights to see and places to visit on our Central Coast, few are more unique and
more of a challenge to access than the Gaviota Wind Caves atop the Santa Ynez
Mountains in Gaviota State Park.
If you are willing to undertake a difficult climb up the steep, rocky trail that leads to the
caves, you will behold some of the most amazing displays of natural beauty you have
ever seen.
Read more Gaviota Wind Caves




Mark James Miller: History. English. Writing.

History.  English.  Writing.  With a passion for all three, I begin my blog.

At this time in the ongoing story of our species, History, English, and Writing are more important now than they ever have been, and the purpose of my blog is to heighten awareness of their significance.

I have been teaching English at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California, since 1995.  The courses I teach are normally composition and critical thinking.  Over the years I have learned that students often come to my classroom with only the most rudimentary knowledge of how to write an essay and are clueless as to what critical thinking is.

The good news is they can learn, and one of the purposes of my blog is to pass along some of the knowledge I have gained on how people can improve their writing.

Writing is a skill that can be learned.  You don’t have to possess special literary gifts to do it well, just a willingness to work hard and master some fundamental ideas and techniques.

Teaching composition and critical thinking has enabled me to engage in another passion:  History, and a second reason for my blog is to emphasize how important history is.  I am frequently astonished at how little students know of seminal events of the past, such as World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, JFK’s assassination, the Civil Rights Movement and the Nazi Holocaust.  Egypt, the Glory that was Greece, the Grandeur that was Rome, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance──it’s almost as if they never happened.

History is part of who we are.  “Study the past if you would define the future,” said Confucius.  Our history has shaped us.  It tells us how we got here.  It tells us what lies behind us and gives us an idea of where we are heading.  More than anything else, it can help us avoid the mistakes of the past.

I hope people will visit my blog and learn from it.  For a teacher there is nothing better than bringing knowledge, no greater joy than awakening a person’s interest in something, few things more satisfying than inspiring a person to achieve success in a subject they were previously unenthusiastic about.  “Even though these essays gave me headaches,” a student wrote to me, “I actually learned to love this.”

Praise indeed.  Thanks for reading.

The Writer