Friday, May 17, 2013
We're now teaching students who enter law school used to texting all day long. In an interesting article on "Texting and the Friction of Writing", Lindsey Gustafson looks at the implications. Here's her abstract:
article begins with a picture of a moving target: a summary of the current
state of mobile phone use, with an emphasis on how frequently young people
text. The article then covers law teachers’ first obvious concern with
texting’s impact on more formal writing: whether frequent exposure to and use
of text speak weakens general language acquisition and students’ growth as
expert legal writers and readers.
"A deeper concern is addressed next: whether the ease of texting will make students accustomed to quick, easy writing, and will thereby compromise students’ ability to use writing to work through and solve problems. Finally, the article closes with a reason to show students that they are already part of a community of writers: it not only may relieve students’ anxiety about learning a new form of writing, it may also give them a greater awareness of their linguistic options and how to use them to meet the needs of their new, law-trained audience."
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
It's already the middle of May, and then June will follow, and then it will be time for the ALWD conference. If you plan to attend and haven’t yet registered, note that the conference fee is $400 if paid by Sunday, May 26th, and $450 after that date. You can register on the conference website.
The conference will be held at Marquette Law School from Wednesday, June 26th through Friday, June 28th. It begins with an opening reception at the law school on Wednesday evening. Presentations will run throughout the days on Thursday and Friday, with an ALWD membership meeting and ABA standards update during lunch on Thursday and a plenary presentation during lunch on Friday. And there will be a fun fish-fry polka dinner on Thursday evening and an ice cream custard social and trip to Summerfest on Friday evening.
(What's that you say? Don't know how to polka? Can you count to three? Well then, you can polka.)
hat tip: Susan Bay
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Monday, May 13, 2013
Fifty percent of Bryan Garner’s students believe their writing has gotten worse since they started law school. To explore that belief further, Garner asked to see the previous writing of one honors English major who thought his writing had declined. The introduction to his moot-court brief contained a misplaced modifier, verbose and flowery writing, and a hyperbolic tone; Garner agreed that the brief’s low grade was warranted. But the student’s senior thesis was no better: its beginning was “empty and confused,” with "roundabout wording" and flawed sentence structure. Garner’s speculates that the paper's grader may have been “so jaded by rampant illiteracy” that “plausibly formed English sentences” were enough to summon an A.
What causes the incongruity between the students’ confidence and their actual performance? Garner explained in the May Student Lawyer that many students’ writing has been so overpraised that they’ve never developed the skills necessary to do good persuasive writing. “[M]any who think they’ve lost skills they once possessed,” Garner writes, “never really had them at all.”