June 3, 2005
The Latest Learning Curve
You'll likely find your time well spent to review the attached newsletter for the AALS Section on Academic Support.
- Thoughtful tips on teaching effective reading strategies by Professor Ruth Ann McKinney of the University of North Carolina School of Law.
- A discussion of the status, or lack thereof, of Academic Support Professionals within law schools and suggestions for gaining greater acceptance and job security by Professor Michael Hunter Schwartz, Western State University College of Law.
- A call to adopt a problem-based, student-driven model for legal education by Academic Success Program Director Vinita Bali, Santa Clara University School of Law.
- Suggestions for how to incorporate the use of visual aids in individual conferences with law students by Academic Support Program Director Paul Bateman of Southwestern University School of Law. (els)
June 2, 2005
Expert Learning for Law Students
Carolina Academic Press recently released Professor Michael Hunter Schwartz's book entitled, Expert Learning for Law Students.
The book, initially published in 2003 by Western State University College of Law, contains strategies to help students to become self-aware about their learning styles and the strategies to succeed as a law student.
A workbook accompanies the text and a teacher's manual is forthcoming. Teachers may request complimentary copies from the publisher. (els)
May 31, 2005
2 New Blogs Join Law Professor Blogs Network
We are pleased to announce the launch of two new blogs as part of our Law Professor Blogs Network:
These blogs join our existing blogs:
- AntitrustProf Blog (Shubha Ghosh (SUNY Buffalo))
- ContractsProf Blog (Carol Chomsky (Minnesota) & Frank Snyder (Texas-Wesleyan))
- CrimProf Blog (Jack Chin (Arizona) & Mark Godsey (Cincinnati))
- Health Law Prof Blog (Betsy Malloy (Cincinnati) & Tom Mayo (SMU))
- LaborProf Blog (Rafael Gely (Cincinnati))
- Law Librarian Blog (Joe Hodnicki (Cincinnati))
- Law School Academic Support Blog (Dennis Tonsing (Roger WIlliams) & Ellen Swain (Vermont))
- Media Law Prof Blog (Cristina Corcos (LSU))
- Sentencing Law & Policy Blog (Douglas Berman (Ohio State))
- TaxProf Blog (Paul Caron (Cincinnati))
- Tech Law Prof Blog (Jonathan Ezor (Touro) & Michelle Zakarin (Touro))
- White Collar Crime Prof Blog (Peter Henning (Wayne State) & Ellen Podgor (Georgia State))
- Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (Gerry Beyer (Texas Tech))
LexisNexis is supporting our effort to expand the network into other areas of law. Please email us if you would be interested in finding out more about starting a blog as part of our network.
A Primer on Learning Styles
Have you read Willamette University College of Law Professor MH Sam Jacobson's excellent article, "A Primer on Learning Styles: Reaching Every Student," 25 Seattle UL Rev. 139 (2001)? (I haven't found a copy on the web yet - this is a chance to use the Blog sponsor's product, or other fine research tool of your choice.)
"When teachers teach in ways that acknowledge and validate different styles of learning," Professor Jacobson reminds readers, "students do better." Although that seems like the type of "duh" statement that probably qualifies as a Maddenism ...
... [John Madden, NFL commentator and former Oakland Raider head coach, famous for such remarks as "Any time you have a game, you have to be ready to play," "You can only make one play at a time," and my personal favorite, "It's kind of hard to keep your head from being lopsided if you have half of the field in your helmet"] ...
... nevertheless, it needs to be said.
The students we serve are often very frustrated by what they perceive as their inability to "learn" the material. Often, this reflects only an inability to learn material taught in a user-not-so-friendly manner. "If students are not fully absorbing critical information, the most sophisticated processing of the information will not matter since it involves inadequate input. It would be like playing solitaire without a full deck." An acceptable level of absorption occurs for "... some students ... [only] when they absorb information in a particular way."
Professor Jacobson walks the reader through several levels of classification of personal characteristics that contribute to student learning styles, including intelligence, personality, information processing and social interaction, and instructional preferences.
This article is a brief but detailed primer on the subject. If you don't have a background that includes this information, grab ahold of this article before you head for the Las Vegas conference next week.
In the fall, you can explain to your students how law school is like baseball ... as Yogi Berra put it, "Ninety percent of this game is half-mental." That's even more difficult to handle, I suppose, if you have half the field in your helmet. (djt)