One of the things I’ve discovered through the sabbatical process is the incredible power of silence. Turning off your music and other devices exponentially increases my powers of observation, creativity and concentration. When I go for one of my new long walks I no longer listen to music because it allows me to think. Thinking is good. And not just any thinking. I’m talking about the Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain thinking that happens when you’re NOT thinking. Getting students to switch off would be a great experiment if they actually do it.

Writing is also good. I’ve always been a pretty private person when it comes to sharing my personal thoughts and I pooh-poohed the self-analysis that goes along with any kind of introspection as, well, less than humble and an utter waste of time. That has changed. Keeping up with the writing, while difficult at times, allows me to focus my thinking on what I’m actually learning. If you have to write it, you have to recognize it as meaningful first. I never understood that sequence until recently.

Talking about the thoughts in your head concerning this process is also good. It’s on a long drive with my wife that our conversations often turn to what’s in our heads and that’s a good time to verbalize things you’ve been thinking.


Teaching Web Design is a Lot Like Teaching Drawing.


Rob is a graphic design instructor and practicing designer/illustrator. He likes monsters.

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