Sunday, November 3, 2013

Why Don’t Some (Many?) Teachers Read About Teaching and Learning?

The literature on legal pedagogy continues to grow, but I don’t have the sense that it receives the attention it should. At the “Teaching & Learning in Higher Ed” blog (aimed a the broader ggroup of college and university teachers), we find some possible reasons:

I blame not teachers but “the broader institutional, ideological, and material
contexts that make not reading the scholarship (on teaching
and learning) the norm” (Manifesto). Two aspects of these contexts include (a)
“misaligned structures for tenure, promotion, and prestige in many colleges and
universities” and (b) “an inadequate understanding of authentic learning in the
broader culture.” Both obscure the full complexity of learning and divert our
time and energy to other worthwhile (and sometimes not so worthwhile) tasks.

What else stands in the way? Obstacles abound. Some of us:

  • have not thought much about it,

  • have “more important” things to do, like research or grading,

  • do not have enough time,

  • do not know the scholarship exists,

  • do not know where to start, seeing how vast the scholarship is,

  • assume that the scholarship doesn’t have much to offer,

  • do not work at places where we are expected by others to read, and/or

do not work at places where we are supported in reading, personally
or materially.

I suspect that the lack of attention to the pedagogical literature is less pronounced in the Legal Writing community than in the rest of the legal education world.


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