Academic journal article Journal of Advertising Education

Learning from the Best: A Study of the Growth, Goals and Methods of Exemplary Teachers

Academic journal article Journal of Advertising Education

Learning from the Best: A Study of the Growth, Goals and Methods of Exemplary Teachers

Article excerpt


This study provides insight into the growth of 15 exemplary advertising teachers, including the approaches and attributes essential to their success. It is based on interviews with teachers characterized as exemplary because of their experience and their having won a national or major university teaching award. The paper examines the methods respondents use to improve, the key change in their evolution as teachers, the responsibilities seen as critical and the ways they achieve their goals.


Although the overall quality of undergraduate teaching and the amount of importance universities place on it have been targets for educational critics, advertising educators have demonstrated a significant commitment to both effective teaching and the scholarship that contributes to it. National organizations such as the American Academy of Advertising (AAA) and the American Advertising Federation (AAF) annually recognize an outstanding advertising educator. Furthermore, the advertising division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) not only offers an annual workshop that explores effective classroom practices but also provides forums where its members can present research on matters especially pertinent to advertising education. In fact, it is one of only two divisions of AEJMC to feature a national teaching paper competition, and in 1996 it established the Journal of Advertising Education.

Researchers have examined a variety of significant issues for advertising educators from diversity (e.g., Chambers, 2003; Dominguez & Rose, 2004; Mallia, 2008), to the impact of technology (e.g., Grau, 2007; Scovotti & Jones, 2011; Wood, Wetsch, Solomon & Hudson, 2009), to the relationship between the curriculum and professional practice (e.g., Banning & Schweitzer, 2007; McMillan, Sheehan, Heineman & Frazier, 2001; Roznowski, Reese & Daugherty, 2004). But as Cuillier and Schwalbe (2010) observe, a number of questions remain, including what professors in journalism and mass communication see as quality teaching. That is certainly a question marketing educators have addressed. In fact, they have conducted numerous studies to identify the classroom skills and attributes of master teachers of marketing (Conant, Smart & Kelley, 1988; Desai, Damewood & Jones, 2001; Faranda & Clarke, 2004; Kelley, Conant & Smart, 1991; Smart, Kelley & Conant, 2003). However, the issue has received little attention in the advertising literature. Nonetheless, it is a question that needs to be explored, especially in light of predictions that over the next decade at least half of the current professoriate will be lost to retirement along with their accumulated pedagogical knowledge (Perry & Smart, 2007). This study taps that knowledge. Based on interviews with 1 5 award-winning advertising teachers, it identifies the approaches and characteristics that exemplary teachers view as critical to effective teaching and then connects those attributes to larger goals and values.

Literature Review

Researchers in a variety of disciplines have explored what makes for good teaching and effective teachers. In addition, they have debated whether teaching is an art or a science. For example, Baiocco and DeWaters (1998) point out that knowledge of subject matter and a variety of classroom techniques can contribute to outstanding teaching, but they also argue that "character is the foundation from which excellence can be developed and without [it] truly distinguished teaching is impossible" (p. 103). Palmer (1990) makes the case even more forcefully that teaching is an art that cannot be taught: "Good teaching cannot be equated with technique. It comes from the integrity of the teacher, from his or her relation to subject and students, from the capricious chemistry of it all" (p. 11). However, as Yair (2008) notes, educational researchers have generally reached a different conclusion: the attributes most critical to the practice of master teachers can be identified, taught and learned. …

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