Don’t just repeat; rephrase!

I’m doing all kinds of stuff, both when working and when trying not to.

It often proves hard to find a common denominator encapsulating my activities; to briefly explain what I do.

One attempt, however, might emanate from the idea of challenging the “established order of thinking”.

This is not to say that things “established” never work or only work partially. It is just that I consider it important to seek new ways, to explore new grounds, and to attempt to approach problems from different angles.

I would probably offend no-one by stating that traditions and habits die very hard in the world of education. Many processes are carried out as they are because that’s what we’re used to. Again, some habits are valuable and should be maintained. Others, however, are no longer appropriate, and should be substituted by something else. I try to work out what the “substitutes” could be.

Don't just shout it out - recompose the message (credits: view from 5'2"' http://www.flickr.com/photos/viewfrom52/)

Last summer I was talking to this Finnish girl living in Denmark, who complained about a pattern in her communication with Danish people. Now, she’s actually quite good at Danish (for a Finnish girl, that is), yet from time to time, words or sentences got lost in translation, and she naturally asks for a reiteration. The crux of the matter is, that most people just repeat what they already said – the same all over again, even though it’s exactly what caused the confusion in the first place. All right, but faced with the fact, that the message is not yet understood, the most patient of people try again. The same thing, repeated like before – this time only LOUDER.

I’m not making this stuff up. Please, enlighten me, what should it help to shout things that were not understood when spoken?

This conversation made it unmistakably clear to me that the alternative path is the solution. In the specific situation, alternative words, phrases, synonyms; approaching what was not understood from a different angle, combining words in new ways in order to convey the message in a more understandable fashion.

This seems like a valid metaphor to me; when something is broken, or just not working as it’s supposed to, don’t simply do the same thing once more.

Be creative – do something else.

Don’t just repeat yourself; rephrase the entire message, deliver it differently (or stop talking altogether).

Anything else is just a waste of energy.