August 1, 2005
Multiple Intelligences & Legal Education
Kirsten A. Dauphinais, Director of Legal Writing and Assistant Professor of Law, University of North Dakota School of Law, has produced a detailed and insightful article (11 WLLREALJ 1) about legal education in light of Howard Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences.
Writing in the most recent issue (Winter, 2005) of Washington and Lee's Race and Ethnic Ancestry Law Journal, Professor Dauphinais explains the Multiple Intelligences theory and endorses the proposition that taking a new, more expansive approach to recognizing and evaluating student capabilities could help legal educators provide a better education for aspiring lawyers.
Professor Dauphinais posits, "...just as we tend to admit law students who were just like we were, so too do we evaluate them in the way we were evaluated. ... Perhaps we should not hold ourselves out as the exclusive paradigm for 'how to think like a lawyer.' Law professors are but a narrow, and one might argue, not very representative, segment of the overall lawyering population."
Consider this bold assertion: "There should be movement away from legal education as a spectator sport, where students are relegated to the role of onlooker, while the instructor performs before the class. Under such a model, the more students are actively engaged in the learning process, the better they retain the knowledge."
Just a thought: after reading this article, consider passing it along to your teaching colleagues. (djt)
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