Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Report from the New York Academic Support Workshop

New York Academic Support Workshop

The April 15th New York Academic Support Workshop organized by Linda Feldman and Kris Franklin was a resounding success.  The morning “Topic Session” focused on “Incorporating New (or Newer) Learning Theories into our Academic Support Work.”   Here are a few highlights:

Kris Franklin began her presentation on the point that ASP’ers need to be seen as the experts on learning in law schools.  ASP’ers are in positions to influence their institutions; Kris led the group in a discussion of how learning theories – old and new – can be used to enhance learning in law school.

Linda Feldman wrapped up the morning session with a demonstration of putting learning theories to work in the law school classroom.  Because students often lack personal context necessary to understand what they are reading in their casebooks, they may have difficulty reading and understanding cases.  Students often try to bridge the gap by looking to commercially prepared course supplements.  But those supplements do not fill the gap resulting from a lack of personal context.  One way to provide context might be first structuring a discussion that touches on the issues raised in any particular case with a discussion that places those issues in contexts familiar to the students.

The afternoon sessions were open topic sessions and covered a variety of areas of interest.  Again, here are a few highlights:

Scott Johns lead an interactive session on writing MEE answers.  Danielle Bifulci Kocal and Kerriann Stout spoke about introducing Mindfulness to students.  Rebecca Flanagan lead a discussion on pre-law competencies, drawing from the work that has been done in other fields of education, such as medicine.

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