Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, June 16, 2008

Report from the LSAC New ASP Professionals Workshop in Baltimore

I just returned from the LSAC New ASP Professionals Workshop at the University of Maryland Law School in Baltimore. As always, the planning committee did an absolutely fabulous job, and the workshop seemed to those who attended to go off without a hitch.  It was a wonderful opportunity to meet many new ASP professionals just joining our community. I am always delighted to be a part of a community that has so many enthusiastic and supportive colleagues, from those who have been a part of ASP for 20 years to 20 days.
For those who were not able to make the workshop, here are the highlights:
1) Ricardo Villarosa had a wonderful demonstration of how we all have full plates (or bowls), yet with proper time management, we can fit in more than we thought. His boulders-and-sand demonstration was a wonderful example of active learning, and one I hope to replicate for a workshop on time management for my 1L's and bar takers in 2008-2009.
2) Paul Bateman and Ruth McKinney had a fascinating presentation on learning styles, processing types, learning theory and material/knowledge/information absorption preferences.  It truly takes master teachers to present so much information is a coherent, manageable way in such a short amount of time.
3) Russell McClain taught us all how to "sing the blues" and learn more about teaching through practice than we thought possible.  I can say with certainty that was one of the most entertaining presentations I have ever been a part of in my life. Russell's confidence as a teacher and a musician carried many (or most) of us with no known musical talent through a demonstration of how teachers can create music (and wonder) in our students.
4) Linda Feldman and Susan Darrow-Kleinhaus led a fabulous session on exam taking strategies for our students.  It's always inspires me to see master teachers can lead us to new insights about topics we thought we knew inside and out.  I teach exam-taking skills at least twice a year, and I still came away from this presentation with new ideas of how to approach exam strategies with my students.
5) I presented on giving feedback to students. Thank you to my warm and wonderful audience! I am happy to send my Powerpoint to anyone not able to make the conference.
6) Kris Franklin and Paula Manning did an awesome job condensing 2+ years of ASP into one 1-hour presentation.  Kris's beautiful presentation on the importance of sorting and weighing details using the art of Mary Cassett and Jacob Lawrence masterfully blended visuals to demonstrate reading and critical judgment skills.  Paula, truly one of the best 3L/bar preparation teachers in the country, worked her way through her comprehensive bar prep program in less than 30 minutes, which is a marvel.  Paula's use of new technology, such as YouTube, to reach her students is groundbreaking. 
7) Michael Hunter Schwartz presentation on organizing material was wonderful. Another master teacher, Mike taught us how organizing material by creating multiple neural pathways helps us retain  information for use during exams.  Mike is really the master of cognitive science in legal education, and I strongly encourage anyone new to the ASP community to buy his Expert Learning for Law Students text as a primer on how students learn. 
8)The last presentation of the workshop was lead my Mike Schwartz and Ruth McKinney on professional excellence.  As wonderful it is to be an ASP professional, it is a profession with a high level of burnout. It is critical to maintain work-life balance early in your career in order to stay happy and healthy. I think we all appreciated Ruth telling us to breathe for a few moments. 

Thank you again to all planning committee and my fellow presenters--you are an amazing bunch! We are so lucky to be a part of such a wonderful and warm community.
(Rebecca Flanagan)

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