Tuesday, March 22, 2011
That's the question asked by a college English professor in an Op-Ed for the Sunday New York Times called "Teaching to the Text Message." The author's point is that communicating effectively in a sentence or two is an increasingly important skill in the age of Twitter and texting. Accordingly, he considers writing exercises that ask students to draft copy for a listing on ebay or a caption for a YouTube video.
I can see using exercises like this as a way to get high school or introductory English college students excited about writing. But I'm not sure they have much relevance to law school writing courses where students need to learn how to express more nuanced and sophisticated ideas that can't be reduced to 140 characters. Perhaps something similar to the exercises described in the NYT's piece could be used to teach legal writing students to draft more effective headings for documents that will be increasingly skimmed on a screen (see here) where readers rely heavily on those sorts of guideposts.
What do you think? Please tell us in the comments below.