Thursday, March 13, 2008
Professor Julie Spanbauer of The John Marshall Law School-Chicago surveyed the needs of LL.M. students who speak English as a second language and assessed what law schools have done (or failed to do) to meet the those needs. The survey and research were supported by a Scholarship Incentive Research Grant from the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD). The published article is called Lost in Translation in the Law School Classroom: Assessing Required Coursework in LL.M. Programs for International Students, and it appeared in volume 34 of the International Journal of Legal Information. You can see the abstract of her article and download a copy of it here or go to http://ssrn.com/author=38112.
Here are some of the observations that she makes in the article:
- Law schools need to do more for international students to enrich their classroom experiences.
- "The existing pedagogy addressing the writing issues of entering J.D. students can be utilized to inform the legal education of international students."
- A conversation between those who teach ESL students and the larger legal writing community "will encourage legal educators to become more aware of the influence of culture and language on their understanding of the law and they will, in turn, be better teachers."
There's a lot more in the article that will be of interest to all of us whose students include persons who speak English as a second language. The issues are not limited to LL.M. students, because many J.D. students today also speak English as a second language.
Professor Spanbauer also received a Fulbright award to teach in Taiwan this summer.