Cross Cultural Communication for Justice System Professionals

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Frederick Schroeder, an associate attorney at SKH’s Bend office, attended a Jefferson County training session on “Cross Cultural Communication for Justice System Professionals.” Court staff and members of the Jefferson/Crook County Bar association gathered to learn about the difficulties different cultures have in communicating, a particularly important exercise given Jefferson County’s mix of Native American, white, and Latino populations. At the seminar, attendees were split into four “cultures,” and tasked with creating their own method of communicating. The caveat was that no team was allowed to create an English speaking culture. After teams had created their cultures, they took turns attempting to communicate with each of the other cultures without reverting to English. After the activity, the facilitator asked how they felt about and interpreted the other cultures, and whether they felt they had successfully communicated with each other. Frederick thought this was a valuable, eye-opening experience and found it fun to interact with the sitting judges on his team, Judge Ahern and Judge Hillman, on a more personal level as they learned about the potential difficulties associated with cross-cultural communication.