Thursday, October 5, 2006

Does class participation matter?

What can or should law professors do to encourage class participation? Professors, students, and law grads squared off early today to comment on a PrawfsBlawg post about “disciplining a lazy student” who refused to respond to the professor’s questions in class. Comments responding to the post are revealing. Is a legal education/JD degree nothing more than a commodity purchased by student-consumers? Does the mandatory curve make students close-mouthed and nastily competitive? Does class participation bear any relationship to the grade—or to learning?

While the Socratic method is not the prevailing model used in the legal writing classroom, how many of these student concerns are relevant to our thinking about the way we design our programs, teach our classes, and assess our students’ learning?


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