Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The King's Speech & Lack of Credentials

The confrontation between the King George VI and Lionel Logue after the Archbishop of Canterbury reveals that Lionel Logue is not a doctor but an actor and teacher of elocution fits nicely with CCK11's pondering about what is a scholar.

Upon meeting Lionel, the future King presumed that he was Dr. Logue. Lionel did not correct him. Should he have done so? Does it always matter to be precise or are there times when it is permissible to not draw attention to the mistaken assumption. I would think it would be fairly common for someone in the academic world to be mistakenly introduced both socially and in introductions as doctor. What do you do if someone has printed flyers for a lecture or conference and without consulting you had them printed with a higher degree than the one you hold?

Lionel did not have any degrees behind his name on his office door. The Duchess and later the Duke came to his office to consult with Lionel and could clearly see that it was in a poorer section of London, the rooms were humbly furnished, Lionel had no staff and that when therapy wasn't happening, the office area was part of the family space. It was clear that Lionel did not intentionally deceive anyone but didn't point out his lack of academic credentials even though this potential client wouldn't have used his services if he'd been aware that Lionel lacked formal credentials.

Lionel was trained in elocution, acting and had been asked to figure out a way to help the shell shocked WWI vets who came back from the wall psychologically unable to speak. He'd had permission to find whatever might work and had experienced successes. Even if he wanted to train to be a speech therapist, no courses existed when he began his work. The men with the doctorates were interested in the physical aspects of speech whereas Lionel also explored the psychological reasons for speech hesitancy.

So how do you acknowledge the expertise of someone who cannot receive it from an academic institution. In Lionel Logue's case, he was inducted into the Royal Victoria Order by the King.

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