December 14, 2006
Teaching Out of Order
As I mentioned in a previous post, I changed up the order of subjects in my first-year property class. Among other things, I moved up nuisance to the first few weeks of class. The previous year, I had instead moved the introductory material on theory to the later part of the course where nuisance usually goes -- right before zoning, etc -- so that I could do the material on externalities in tandem with the material on nuisance. I liked doing the theory together with the nuisance, but also liked doing some theory up front. Hence, the attempt at doing nuisance early in the course, which had the added benefit of illustrating early on how property rights can conflict with each other. Having done it now both ways, I think that next year I'll move nuisance, along with the theory, back to its position later in the course. I still like doing the nuisance and theory together, but nuisance fits better conceptually with the land use material, and even though I'm a property theory geek I don't emphasize that much of it in first-year property.
Another subject that I've been doing out-of-order is landlord-tenant, which I do very early in the course, right after finding, gifts, and adverse possession. Landlord-tenant can really go anywhere in the course, and I like doing it early because it is fairly intuitive and the students can really relate to it.
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Back in the 20th century when I taught property law, at least one of the casebooks led off with landlord-tenant. It can be done. And I vaguely recollect that Casner & Leach did not include nuisance law. I tried to foist it off on the torts teachers.
Posted by: John Rooney | Dec 19, 2006 6:49:55 AM