Thursday, November 17, 2011

Teaching legal skills in the context of land use and environmental law

Volume 2 of the Pace Envtl. L. Rev. Online Companion (2011) is devoted to "Best Practices for Skill Building in Teaching Land Use, Environmental, and Sustainable Law" and includes several articles that may be of interested to readers of this blog.

For instance, Professor Michael Burger (Roger Williams) has an article called Teaching Intrapersonal Intelligence as a Lawyering Skill: Introducing Values Systems into the Environmental Law Syllabus. From the introduction:

The ranges and types of problems with traditional law school curricula, pedagogies, and learning cultures are well-rehearsed, and have been framed, narrated, and analyzed in a number of prominent venues, along with suggested improvements and proposals for systemic reform. This Essay addresses one aspect of the ongoing and pervasive critique: the need to develop in law students the diverse intellectual competencies that the practice of law requires. Working within the  framework of Professor Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, I argue that intrapersonal intelligence and the self-reflexive analytic process it invokes are important tools in the practicing lawyer’s toolbox, and describe an in-class/take-home/online exercise specifically designed to challenge and teach to students’ intrapersonal intelligence (the “Values Systems Exercise”). The Values Systems Exercise pairs nicely with intrapersonal intelligence—a capacity for self-reflection often overlooked in law school—offering the opportunity to get students thinking about how their own predispositions influence their legal interpretations and policy prescriptions. The exercise is conducted during and lasses of the semester in a survey course in Environmental Law.

Part II of this Essay begins by defining intrapersonal intelligence and identifying its salience to legal education and practice. It then introduces the andragogical problems the Values Systems Exercise attempts to answer. These include problems particular to environmental law as a subject—establishing a conceptual framework and common vocabulary for the perspectives offered by economics, ecology, and ethics (the values systems in the Values Systems Exercise)—as well as problems common to legal education as a whole, such as accounting for a diversity of student goals and learning styles, and creating a classroom dynamic conducive to productive discussion. Part III describes the Exercise in detail, addressing issues of design and offering examples of its outcomes. Part IV concludes with some suggestions of ways to improve the exercise in future iterations.

Another article of interest is Now We're Cooking!: Adding Practical Application to the Recipe for Teaching Sustainability by Professor Jonathan Rosenbloom (Drake). From the abstract:

This essay explores the benefits and challenges presented by incorporating experiential learning into the Drake University Law School course, Sustainability & Its Application. The course combined academic inquiry with actual, practical experience to facilitate student professional development, enhance practice skills, and explore a new and rapidly developing area of law concerning sustainability. This essay provides the core details of the course, and hopefully serves as a guideline for similar courses.

Hat tip to Best Practices for Legal Education Blog.

(jbl).

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_skills/2011/11/teaching-legal-skills-in-the-context-of-land-use-and-environmental-law-.html

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