Thursday, January 29, 2015

Alan Alda and Clear Communication

Actor and educator Alan Alda realized that scientists do not communicate clearly with nonscientists. To help remedy the problem, he founded the Alan Alda Institute for Communicating Science at Stonybrook University.  At the Institute, he created the Flame Challenge. Scientists receive a question—this year, “What is Sleep?”--and devise an explanation that 11 year olds can understand. Eleven year olds then choose the winner.

You can read more here.

The analogy to our field is obvious. Like scientists, many in our profession have difficulty communicating with others, including students and clients. To further the cause of clear communication in law, maybe we need a Flame Challenge for lawyers.


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What I'm most interested in is the ongoing replacement of the word "teacher" with "educator." Are the extra two syllables meant to convey greater worth? Are they meant to mask the widespread incompetence of today's teachers? Is this replacement somehow related to the militant mediocrity flowing from today's rabid egalitarianism and dictatorship of relativism? These are the kinds of questions such Orwellian obfuscation raises.

Posted by: JKE | Jan 30, 2015 11:37:53 AM

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