Monday, April 26, 2010

Random Law Review # 9

Patricia Easteal's Teaching About the Nexus Between Law and Society: From Pedagogy to Andragogy, 18 Legal Education Review 163 (2008).

This is a bit of an odd article. It's about improving legal education by changing from a purely lecture method to an array of "active learning" methods such as small-group discussion, role-playing, policy and legislative drafting, and more. Everything I've read elsewhere agrees that supplementing lectures with additional teaching methods is important because students differ amongst themselves in learning styles: some are auditory learners, others visual, others experiential, and most can benefit from a combination of styles (apparently the term "andragogy" means "learner-centredness"). What makes this article odd is that the author supports her argument by frequent quotations of her students' evaluation and letters supporting her for a teaching award, which has the unintended consequence of transforming the article into an unsubtle bit of self-promotion (nor is the fact that students like her teaching proof that her teaching is effective). There's also no reason the article should limit itself to law and society courses--these methods of teaching are important and should be adopted across the legal spectrum, as recent research has demonstrated.

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