Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz on Legal Education

Legal Tech News has an interesting interview with Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz, one of the pioneers in legal education reform.

Here is the part of the interview that interested me the most (emphasis added):

"Q: What is your No. 1 pet peeve about legal education today?

A: I have to start my answer by saying that legal education today is the best it has ever been. At many law schools, law professors administer multiple assessments instead of one final exam at the end of the semester (as they did when I was a student), integrate modern learning theory and active learning into the design of their courses, and find ways to weave practical, authentic learning experiences into their day-to-day teaching.

While I think we still have room to improve in all three areas, my No. 1 pet peeve is the notion that, if we implement active learning, multiple assessments and authentic learning experiences, we are somehow pandering or spoon-feeding and are sacrificing other important goals, such as teaching legal theory or covering particular legal doctrines. My experience is that more effective teaching and assessment practices ensure that students learn the doctrine and theory better, and students discovering how they will use the doctrine and theory in practice to solve clients' problems causes them to become more excited and invested in learning what we want them to learn."

Exactly.  Are you listening Robert Condlin?

(Scott Fruehwald)

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