‘…professional skills training … should be fully informed by theory…’

The title is paraphrased from Australian Law Reform Commission, Managing Justice: A Review of the Federal Civil Justice System (2000) Report No 89 at 2.85, which  is cited in Sally Kift’s very interesting article, ’21st Century Climate for Change: Curriculum Design for Quality Learning Engagement in Law’ (2008) 18 (1 & 2) Legal Education Review 1, at 14 (n 55).

Sally’s article is available online.

Sally Kift makes many informative observations in this article and it is worth reading it and reflecting on what, if anything, has changed since 2008. One comment I found interesting was:

…scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching are still not necessarily well understood or valued … the amelioration of which requires significant ‘learning leadership’. At a more functional level, in the face of constant change, many otherwise-engaged staff currently feel overwhelmed and change-weary, while other colleagues may have little interest in, or understanding of, educational theory, particularly learning theory, and are oblivious to the possibilities of the alternate approaches here described… (footnotes removed).

My personal feeling is that the scholarship of teaching is not well understood in the PLT sector. Would you agree?

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Written examinations as summative assessment; are they appropriate in PLT?

In ‘Why Study Emotion?’ in Paul Maharg and Caroline Maughan (eds), Affect and Legal Education, Emerging Legal Learning (Ashgate, 2011) 11 at 27-28, Caroline Maughan asks, ‘to what extent can the negative affect associated with formal assessment remain unacknowledged?’, ‘What is the real purpose of our formal assessment systems?’. ‘Should some of the time and effort devoted to coverage and summative assessment be traded off against using that time to offer opportunities for students to improve their understanding…’?. These questions are framed in the context of student motivation and satisfaction and their need for feedback (formative assessment).

I think they are important questions, and I add that written examinations often only measure a fairly limited spectrum of students’ cognitive processing (to see what I mean by ‘cognitive processing’, I have previously blogged about Marzano and Kendall’s taxonomy of education objectives here).
What are your views on written examinations as a form of summative assessment in PLT?

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Using Graphic Organisers in Practical Legal Training

Did you know that substantial research and scholarship shows that Graphic Organisers (such as mind maps, flow charts, and other visual representations) can produce improvements in learning outcomes with average effect sizes of 1.2 to 1.3? See more.

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Practical Legal Training Educators Australia

I have set up a new group on LinkedIn: Practical Legal Training Australia.

I hope that this will be a useful place for discussions about research and practice for educators involved in Practical Legal Training.

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How to “do” Feedback in PLT – an evidence-based approach

Thinking about your teaching in 2012?  Consider reflecting on your approach to providing feedback to your students from an evidence-based perspective.

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Mind Maps!

I have a thing for mind maps (or concept maps). Due to a bout of influenza that laid me low for 3 weeks years ago during law school I had to sit a closed book contract exam 5 months after I studied the subject. Mind maps got me through. I am progressively adding some recent mind maps (mostly focused on education) to a new page.

Mind Map - SOLO Taxonomy
SOLO Taxonomy
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APLEC, Paul Maharg

I had a enjoyed a short but encouraging exchange with Paul Maharg re online legal education, I recommend a visit to his blog – APLEC, Friday am, presentations, 1 & 2 — Paul Maharg.

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APLEC 2011

The Australasian Professional Legal Education Council (APLEC) Conference for 2011 (APLEC 2011) was hosted by the University of Technology Sydney Faculty of Law during 10-12 November 2011 at their campus in Quay Street, Haymarket.

Keynote speakers include: Professor Paul Maharg, Professor Sally Kift, Paul F. Wood, Executive Director, Legal Education Society of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, and Elizabeth Loftus.

I have posted my impressions from the conference.

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PLT: Not a Sausage Factory (or ought not to be)

Read the article PLT: Not a Sausage Factory (or ought not to be)

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