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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Learning from Some Great Educators--President Freeman Hraboski

One of the things I learned on the way to getting a Ph.D. in higher education is that very little research on how college and graduate students learn ever makes its way into law schools. And almost no one does large scale, generalizable research on law school learning—probably because there isn’t any money to fund it. In law, at best, we now have schools studying their own students retrospectively to identify factors that might correlate with bar success or high grades--but these studies tell us nothing about what we could be doing differently or better in the classroom.  And yet law schools are changing how we teach.  

My neighbor up the road, Prof. Deborah Merritt  of the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, recently proposed some explanations for the slight rise in MBE scores after a period of steady decline, one of which was "improved preparation." And by that she didn't just mean direct bar preparation but changes in teaching methods that involved more feed-back and more frequent assessment.  This change  is an example of using research on effective learning done in other areas of higher education and applying it to law. 

To start the discussion, I'd like to share the work of a visionary educator, Dr. Freeman Hraboski, President of University of Maryland, Baltimore County whose institution sends more African American men to medical school than any other college in the countryThis TED talk reflects how he is using the research generated by one of the most generously funded topics in education today, increasing the number of students who succeed in STEM fields.  See here, here, and more accessibly, here.  This is antithetical to many STEM fields which pride themselves in weeding out, not encouraging, students.  There may well be some things for us to learn as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Jennifer Bard on September 13, 2016 at 06:22 PM in Life of Law Schools, Teaching Law | Permalink