If there's an advocacy topic you want to see discussed, or about which you wish to contribute, contact one of the blog administrators - see the list on the right side of this page. Lonely thinking changes nothing, sharing your thoughts may start a trend.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Courtroom Advocacy for Beginners:shaping an online approach

There are various reasons for more and better use of online resources in our advocacy training.  For example, lack of teaching space, shortage of sufficiently experienced trainers, students who want to attend but can't because of work, timetable, and home task clashes, along with teaching and learning efficiencies such as recording one person explain a concept well, and offering mixed learning modes (eg. reading and listening).

Stetson's online Advocacy Resources Centre ( ARC) offers a useful collection of recorded presentations and interviews about various aspects of our craft.  If you haven't yet used the ARC then click on the link to the right of this posting. You are bound to find items that you'll want your students to see, reflect upon, talk about, and enact.

Googling 'advocacy' + training brings up a very mixed bag of materials.  For example, Charlie Rose's recent clips ( shared with you on this blog), along with Wes Porter's, present material with an informed awareness of what advocacy students need to master.  On the other hand there are also clips, often thankfully very short, that are cringe inducing.

Hopefully most viewers will not find the following three clips 'cringe inducing'. They represent an experiment ,on a nil budget, to present the principles of beginner advocacy in a way that the beginner could follow, stop and start and replay, try out something, and complete with more awareness than they started with.

Here is an explanation of some of the 'features', included to help those who decide to make video clips avoid some of our errors and benefit from whatever strengths are found:-

1.  The narrator is never seen.  This is in sharp contrast to Charlie's style.  The choice was made because we want the audience to listen carefully to the narration while viewing the messages (text screens and court room shots);
2.  Whiteboard 'case analysis' shots are deliberately visible to the audience during samples of direct and cross of Jack. This is to encourage reinforcement.
3.  There are obvious mistakes in what the student advocate does. Those have been left because too many people think this skill is easily acquired.  We know better.
4.  There is no example of either the opening address or closing.  There should be, along with on screen annotations that comment on strengths and weaknesses;
5. Most screen text shots contain more text than is recommended.  This was a trade off: was the viewer to be encouraged to mostly listen or mostly look?  We opted for 'mostly listen' (but see also point 1 above).
6.  At the end of each video there should be a short summary of what has been done.
7.  There should be more 'You do it' points throughout  - where the user is told by the narrator,
'Now, try this....'.  For example, 'Set up your teaching room as a court room.  Move through the roles of lawyer, witness and decision maker.  The witness is to tell the Jack and Jill story three times with only this difference: look at their lawyer; look towards the decision maker; look down at the witness table.  Comment on how you see the witness's position affecting their credibility'.
8. Despite writing the script and predetermining shots we still found, in the editing phase, that we needed more visual material AND more narration.
9. The time for editing is an 'n' multiple of the writing and shooting time, where 'n' is a larger number than your patience.

Please do have your students and colleagues try out the videos.  Developing a good online teaching advocacy methodology is a challenge that we must meet.

This first of the three videos is about court room position, case components and case analysis:

This second of the three videos is about opening, closing, and direct:

And, this third of the three videos is about direct, cross, and objections:

Hugh Selby (c)  February 2013.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent blog you’ve got here.. It’s difficult to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I really appreciate individuals like you! Take care!! You can visit my site.
    work from home beginner