Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Making Legal Education Stick: Using Cognitive Science to Foster Long-Term Learning in the Legal Writing Classroom by Elizabeth Adamo Usman
My first rule of legal education reform is that legal education reform should draw on research of general education scholars. (here) A recent article by Elizabeth Adamo Usman does this excellently: Making Legal Education Stick: Using Cognitive Science to Foster Long-Term Learning in the Legal Writing Classroom.
"A number of surprising findings from cognitive science suggest that some of the predominant current approaches to teaching legal writing may be a mistake. In their recent text, Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, Professors Henry L. Roediger III and Mark A. McDaniel, cognitive scientists at Washington University in St. Louis, explain that cognitive research demonstrates that much of what is presumed to be true about the best way to teach and learn is 'wasted effort.'1 Using the latest cognitive research about optimal learning for long-term retention and deep understanding, the authors argue that the most effective learning strategies are not intuitive, and that most students and universities do not use optimal methods of learning and teaching.2 In fact, the optimal methods of teaching for long-term retention and deep understanding stand in diametric opposition to fundamental assumed educational truths of how students best learn.3"
"In recent years, the legal academy has begun to examine how various findings of cognitive science may suggest changes to traditional teaching methods used in law school.4 Professors Roediger and McDaniel's comprehensive work offers an opportunity to take a broad view of the current status of cognitive science regarding learning in order to examine how these surprising findings about long-term learning may have a direct impact on law school pedagogy."