Tag Archives: Scrabble

Years of experience

An exchange I had yesterday with a POlice Use of Force Instructor reminded me of a quip by a JAG prosecutor I knew years ago.

Some people have 22 years of experience and some people have one year of experience 22 times.

One of my professors in college had taught the exact same math class for 10 years. She used the same overhead transparencies all 10 years. They were scuffed up and she had to write over parts of them to make them readable during our class. That’s the style some subjects are taught in many fields. Concepts are frequently not updated with fresh information. While mathematics doesn’t change much, social sciences and the law can and do change rapidly.

In the exchange with the instructor, I mentioned a recent case that seemed to invalidate his opinion. I even gave him the search string to bring up the case. Rather than doing one minute of research on the case, he trotted out an appeal to authority meme. “I’ve been a cop for 22 years and I teach Use of Force.” I’m afraid to even find out what he teaches his clientele.

In any field, staying up to date is an excellent idea for anyone. For instructors, it’s absolutely mandatory. There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with a stated opinion but there needs to be some fact finding and analysis to support the disagreeing opinion.