3 Problems with Legal Education

UC Hastings Dean Frank Wu has an interesting article in Above the Law about Law Schools.  He mentions three problems with legal education: (1) a glut of lawyers in today’s market; (2) high cost; (3) insufficient training in practical skills.

Do you agree?  Would you add anything to the list?

TED Talks Education on PBS – May 7th

Just got this email from Chris Anderson, TED Curator. Should be worthwhile for anyone interested in how to improve teaching and learning.

Dear TED community,

I am proud to announce that TED Talks Education, our first original televised event, premieres this Tuesday, May 7, on PBS stations across the US. It will be available globally on the PBS website starting May 8.

Hosted by John Legend, TED Talks Education asks how can we better inspire our students — and support our educators. TED, WNET, PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting teamed up for this brand-new one-hour special, launched in response to the high dropout rate in American schools.

TED Talks Education is an exhilarating night of new talks by Sir Ken Robinson, Geoffrey Canada, Bill Gates and some truly inspiring teachers. In fact, we’ve just posted the first of them today on TED.com. Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, delivers a rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level.

Please set your DVR, and let your friends and colleagues know to watch on Tuesday, May 7, at 10/9c on PBS stations across the US (you can check local station listings at top right of this page) — and visit pbs.org/TEDTalksEd after Wednesday, May 8, to watch the whole show online. And we will be releasing most of the speakers as TED Talks from May 8-10 on our homepage.

Our intention was to create an authentic TED event, filmed in a way that makes it compelling television. We really think it worked. We hope you love it as much as we do.

My best,

Chris Anderson

TED Curator

Flipped Learning for Legal Education

Hi Everyone! Mary just invited me to join this blogging community. Glad to be here.

For my first post, I’d like to think about how flipped or blended learning could be used in legal education. Flipped learning blends online and in-class instruction and has been used of late in lots of educational settings, including K-12 and undergrad. I think there is a place for it in legal education too.

The way I see it, flipping the classroom can take a lot of different forms.  I envision them along a spectrum, something like this –

At one end of the spectrum, it can be used to

1. Reinforce learning after class — professors can assign online videos for students to watch after class, to help clarify and/or reinforce the doctrinal concepts that were taught in class, and help to build students’ doctrinal knowledge.

2. Lay a foundation – professors could require students to watch videos that cover basic, foundational concepts – so classtime can start further along the learning process.

3. Supplement with different perspectives — Professors may also assign online videos (prepared by other professors) to supplement their own lectures, so that their students can hear different voices or perspectives on a particular topic or to have students hear from experts on topics beyond the professor’s own field of expertise.

4. Facilitate higher level Socratic dialogue – when professors assign videos for students to watch before class, students have time to think about and reflect on the lesson before arriving in the classroom. That way the videos may reinforce the concepts in the assigned reading and when students come into class – having heard the lesson on the reading before class — they will be ready and able to engage in a higher level of Socratic dialogue and discussion of assigned hypothetical and in-class problems.

5. Integrate essential lawyering skills — when online videos are assigned as homework, as a substitute for a professor’s own lecture — class time is freed up for more active learning exercises that incorporate some essential lawyering competencies.

6. Professor as Facilitators/Guides — Some professors may decide to use videos to help integrate practical lawyering skills in doctrinal courses. Students could be required to review videos on substantive law and on practical lawyering skills out of class. Then, classtime can be devoted to simulations or role plays in which the students use the material they learned on video to engage in essential lawyering skills – such as negotiations, interviews, or oral arguments.

In this way, the professor is moving from a position at the front of the class, to a coach who works one on one with students, or with small groups of students, during assigned classtimes. And it promotes collaboration and team building among students.

This last category would be at the other end of the spectrum and allow professors to bring more training in practical lawyering skills into each course.

What do you think?  Let me know if I’m missing something.  I am speaking about how to use technology in our teaching at the AALS Clinical Conference next week.  I’d love to hear your reaction to these ideas before then.

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