The Relativity of Theory - Linda Bland

First off, what sets your theory apart from the others out there?

The "Realtime Reporting and Captioning at Home" theory developed over a six-year period of time was developed specifically for home study students, and it is simplified. The DVD tutorial that is integrated with the theory allows students to see how to write all of the 20 theory lessons, and it has both a realtime reporting and captioning foundation. If a theory is complex and difficult to remember, it makes it difficult, if not impossible, to build speed.

Are there different theories for different students? If a student wants to do CART, should they pick a different theory than one who wants to be a court reporter?

No, the basis of the theory for any of these careers is in the realtime concepts incorporated within the theory. Regardless of whether the student wishes to be a CART provider, realtime court reporter or captioner, the "Realtime Reporting and Captioning at Home" theory contains the NCRA required realtime concepts and was developed in consultation with a renowned captioning expert.

I like to think that theory is a solid blueprint that should be constantly evolving and personalized by the student. Is theory written in stone, or should it be customized?

ALL reporters/captioners have modified their theory to work best for them. While there are definitely realtime concepts that should be followed from your own personal theory, there are different ways of writing words in steno that may be incorporated in your theory to allow you to choose the best method for you to write the steno outline. No two students learn reporting skills exactly the same. If a concept is difficult for a student to learn, there is often another concept or method for writing the words that the student can incorporate to overcome that difficulty in their theory. Some students have dropped out of training, because they were forced to attempt to learn a concept or method of writing words that did not work for them, and they were unable to master that concept. Had the student been offered another way to master that concept or another method for writing the words, that student might have continued his training, built his speed and continued on to become a successful realtime reporter/CART provider/captioner.

Don’t all theories have conflicts?

According to the NCRA's CASE (Committee on Approved Student Education) there is no such thing as a 100% conflict free theory. It is VERY important to write as many words with unique steno outlines (preventing conflicts) as possible. The NCRA does not like for theories to be referred to as conflict free. This is CASE's statement: "Although computer-compatible and realtime ready are apt descriptions, the words "conflict free" can create an unfair illusion that there will never be conflicts in writing machine shorthand. That goal is difficult if not impossible to obtain, because conflict free hardly exists when our vocabulary is constantly changing. The Theory Text Task Force and the Council on Approved Student Education have agreed that instead of using the wording "conflict-free," theory developers should use "realtime translation theory" to describe an NCRA-approved theory.

Is it okay to mix and match theories?

Yes, I believe it is acceptable to incorporate concepts from other theories. However, I do not believe students should attempt to incorporate theory concepts from other theories unless the modification is approved by a professional, because students do not usually have enough expertise to modify a theory without the possibility of creating major conflicts for themselves.

We always hear about “stroke-intensive” theories. What does that mean?

A stroke-intensive theory is a theory that requires a word or phrase to be written in numerous strokes when it could be written in a single stroke or at least lesser strokes than the "stroke-intensive" theory. Stroke intensive theories make it difficult to build speed.

Why did the new theories move "the" away from the left bank (/T or /TD)?

The word "THE" was moved to the right side of the keyboard in the CRAH theory allowing you to write phrases in one stroke, i.e., WHAT THE = WHA-T, IN THE = TPH-T IF THE TP-T, WHY THE = KWR-T, etc., etc. Again, the ability to write phrases in a single stroke allows you to build speed more easily.

Students used to graduate at a higher rate and faster using an older theory – what makes any newer theory better?

CRAH is the newest NCRA-approved theory and contains all of the NCRA's required realtime writing concepts as well as a few additional speedbuilding concepts that allowed me to build my speed from 60 wpm to 225 wpm in three months. However, some of the theories, in their attempt to be touted as the most conflict-free theory, have added so many additional concepts for the student to learn, that it has made it difficult for students to remember the theory, thus making it difficult to build speed. According to the NCRA's Future Group Report, it is not necessary to have such "complex theories" as some of those concepts are already incorporated in the artificial intelligence contained within many of the CAT software programs.