Developing "Critical Patience" in dispute resolution professionals

Read this great blog post by on Indisputably, by Jen Reynolds at University of Oregon School of Law. Jen describes an exercise that she presented at the ABA’s recent conference, which aimed at helping students develop “critical patience”, which dispute resolution practitioners need so much. Sure, we say “patience is very, very important” all the time – but how do we teach it, or help our students develop it?

Read her blog post to hear her suggestion, and then come back to this question:

For her Civil Procedure course, Jen used a statute as a “patience artifact”. For art history, the teacher used a painting. Both of these are contextually suited and connected to the subject matter and basic materials of their respective courses. This got me thinking: Can anyone think of a negotiation-related “patience artifact” (or “thingie”)  – some visual object or occurrence  to use, instead of addressing it obliquely through a piece of art? Please share! I’d love to try this out, and I’m sure Jen would appreciate suggestions as well.

Views: 256

Comment by Karen Hollett on April 25, 2014 at 12:11pm
I imagine one can think of various items to symbolically represent negotiations or conflict, but my mind went immediately to a less literal reference, a tree. It is symbolic of the connectedness of all living things and the Attention Restoration Theory demonstrates the positive impact nature has on our ability to direct our attention. Directed attention depletion makes us cranky, impatient and unreasonable.
Comment by Mat Beecher on April 25, 2014 at 5:41pm

Perhaps a [particular] image of the negotiating table. One reflecting various posters, body language, culture, gender, power plays, etc. You know a heated moment, with diverse reactions happening all in that moment, perhaps a negotiator/co-negotiator so one could reflect on how each of the individuals looked. I'm not sure if there is such an image, but a good Google search or a commissioned art student ought to do the trick...

This doesn't quite capture what I was thinking, but I thought a visual aid might be something...

But then again, the viewing of images/body language might be over done. I'll think about this some more. Thanks for sharing.

Comment by Richard Todd on April 25, 2014 at 10:48pm

The article really made me think about how much I must be missing in my multi-tasking and technologically filled day.   Maybe just slowing down and focusing will reveal many options and alternatives that I would otherwise miss. That's a hard think to teach; especially when the average students has become dependent on their computer, tablet and smartphone.  

Comment by Noam Ebner on April 26, 2014 at 4:06am

@ Karen - I was going for less oblique ideas, but I still love the tree ideas. It's one of those things that offers so much to talk about that you don't know whether you're discussing a metaphor or a real thing!

@Mat - fantastic idea. I think that no mater what scene you show of a negotiation, it should work: At first students would see what the picture is simply portraying. Then, as time passed, if the exercise is "working" students will start to see different things, which I'm guessing will go far beyond body language. Of course, a perfect picture, whatever that is, would make it even better. Keep an eye/mind out. Which ties me into thinking about Rich's comment: imagine, if this picture had been on the classroom wall since day one of class, and students had plenty of opportunities to see it.  Then, in lesson number ten, you hand out a copy to each student, or send a .jpg to their device - and ask them to look at it for twenty minutes. @Rich, can you picture it? You had a strong reaction to even thinking about doing that, do you think this could be brought home if the exercise were not only done for real, but the "how much I might be missing" effect was targeted through using an object that had been there all along, "unseen?" Or, of course - would that be over the top?


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