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Friday, September 28, 2018

Resources for Improving Legal Education at the Classroom Level (with a few examples from math education)

In one of my last posts, I want to share some resources directly related to law teaching (no analogies).  Here’s a guide from our friends at the Georgetown Law Library, the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning, the always helpful Legal Scholarship Blog, a copyright guide from the American University Law Library, and in particular our friends the publishers.  Call them.  Ask them questions—they know their inventory and would be happy to strategize with you.  Here’s a link to Wolters Kluwer as an example.    Around now, you might be thinking about feed-back and could find this material from University of Sheffield in England helpful.

For the past month, I’ve been sharing examples of how other fields have changed their instructional methods.  My primary focus has been on professional schools, like medicine, which have changed their curriculum in order to better prepare students for changes in the profession.  The contrast I’ve been drawing is the difference between innovations that occur in a single classrooms and ones that spread because they have been evaluated and proven effective across a number of different settings.  It’s true that we have few sources of funding in legal education to do the kind of evaluative studies so common elsewhere in education, but I hope you now know how to seek out studies from other areas of education, so you can make your own decisions about what might work in your own classroom.

Finally, to set out a dream, it would be great if we could interest our colleagues in other areas of the university to work with us in developing evidence based teaching methods and curriculum designs.   Maybe some day, there will be a law school equivalent to the body of research we’ve looked at in medicine and other subjects   As a last look of how something that has been static a very long time can change, have look at what’s going on in math.  As many of us recall,  instruction in the U.S. is often quite poor—but  it is very recalcitrant to change because of the lack of resources to train the teachers who are on the front lines of teaching.  Teaching math has become a topic of tremendous study—there is the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Education Development Center, and many websites designed just for math teachers.  There are also entities like the NEA devoted to supporting teaching math (and other science subjects).

Posted by Jennifer Bard on September 28, 2018 at 02:40 PM | Permalink


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