Saturday, April 3, 2021
The Science of Successful Teaching: Incorporating Mind, Brain, and Education Research into the Legal Writing Course by N.E. Millar
I have long advocated the use of brain science as the basis of legal pedagogy. Here is a very good article on the subject:
Despite more than 200 years of legal education, “there is almost no quantitative pedagogical research focused specifically on legal education and [its] dominant teaching and learning techniques.” 3 As a consequence, legal educators frequently turn to research in other fields to help inform best practices in law schools. 4
One such field, the emerging discipline of mind, brain, and education (“MBE”) science, offers valuable insights into how the human brain works, how humans learn, and how teachers can teach to optimize learning. While MBE research applies to all facets of teaching and to all subjects, this paper explores its relationship to a specific law school topic that is both increasingly important and difficult to teach: instruction on fundamental writing mechanics in a first-year legal writing course.
As discussed in this article, clear writing is essential to effective lawyering, yet instruction on writing mechanics--the building blocks of clarity--poses unique challenges to law schools and law professors. One way to surmount these challenges is to apply MBE research to teaching mechanics in order to make this instruction more effective.