I’ve storified tweets from the annual conference for the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia, Melbourne, 8 July 2015:
The good people at The Law Teacher have published my article about some insights I gleaned from interviews with practitioners. The Law Teacher is an international legal education journal well worth a subscription. Click here to find an online version of my article, Kristoffer Greaves (2015): Is scholarship of teaching and learning in practical legal training a professional responsibility?, The Law Teacher, DOI: 10.1080/03069400.2014.991203. This article is paywalled, but hopefully you can get access to it via your institution’s library.
In précis, during interviews with Australianpractitioners in mid-2013 I used a question about lawyers’ paramount obligations to the court to provoke discussion about institutional and extra-institutional forces affecting scholarship of teaching and learning in institutional . The article is a necessarily brief analysis of interviewees’ responses to the question. The interviews form part of the data collected for my PhD thesis, which I hope to submit for examination around the end of March this year.
This week I am spending four days in retreat at Deakin University’s Warrnambool City Centre with 20 other PhD candidates and academics, led by Professor Trevor Gale. The group, known as “The Warrnambool Collective”, meets at least annually to focus on writing and research around “practice”. Most, not all, who attend are affiliated with Arts and Education. Each day begins at 9.00 a.m. with a “shut up and write” session that runs until we break for lunch at 1.00 p.m. After lunch there are streamed and plenary sessions, presentations, and discussions until 5.00 p.m. I am very fortunate to be included in this event (prompted by my thesis supervisor, Dr Julianne Lynch), and this year is my second visit to the retreat.
As a full-time PhD candidate, I’ve spent much of the last two years researching and writing alone. Indeed, over the last 15 years I’ve engaged in study of some sort, and I’ve become accustomed to the solitary nature of the work, with brief intense interactions at conferences or seminars. One of the things striking for me about the retreat is how the solidarity of quiet collective writing, the awareness of minds and bodies around you engaged in constructing and reflecting on texts, comforts, succours and encourages me. I am reminded that I am not alone, that I’m part of a larger quest. By itself, this activity is a powerful product of the retreat.
The afternoon sessions include presentations by PhD candidates about their work (at different stages of candidature), provide multi-perspectival insights about how individuals grapple with, and resolve, theoretical and methodological issues. The senior academics are supportive and constructively critical, with a focus on problem-solving and knowledge-sharing. Chaired discussions on topics as simple as “how do you keep up with the literature?”, “how do we conceptualise “practice””, lift the lid on privately-held innovative practices and ideas that are sometimes startling in their simplicity, but substantially effective. The chance mention of a theorist, an article, a concept can catalyse fresh insights, fresh directions.
It is, as Trevor remarked on Day 1, an enormous privilege to have time, funding and personnel allocated to the retreat. And it pays off, with a review of the previous year’s event noting manifold conference papers, journal articles or book chapters commenced, advanced or completed during the retreat. As far as I am aware few, if any, retreats like this exists for those engaged in practical legal training or professional legal education in Australia.* I think this is a great pity. We need reflective and creative spaces within the field, not just “professional development” activities.
Sincere thanks to Deakin University and all involved for making this event possible.
* If you’re involved with such an event, invite me!
Please to see my article exploring scholarship of teaching in is published online in JALTA today. It is a big topic and inevitably I omitted some issues within the constraints of the article. I hope, however, that the article will be useful in discussing issues around research epistemologies and methodologies, and related issues such as performativity aspects of workplace research.
‘Skills’ in LLB Threshold Learning Outcomes and Competency Standards for Entry-Level Lawyers – a Comparison using CAQDAS
I am presenting a brief paper at the Australasian Professional Legal Education Council conference hosted by the University of Tasmania Law School from 8 November 2012. The abstract follows:
This study analysed the Threshold Learning Outcomes (“TLOs) specified in the Bachelor of Laws Learning and Teaching Academic Standards Statement December 2010, and the Competency Standards for Entry-Level Lawyers for Practical Legal Training, as updated by the Australasian Professional Legal Education Council and Law Admissions Consultative Committee in February 2002 (“Competency Standards”). Qualitative analysis was undertaken using the NVivo computer assisted qualitative data analysis software (“CAQDAS”), to investigate how skills were categorised and defined in each of the documents. The data were then analysed to compare the respective categorisation and definition of skills, and to identify potential complements, overlaps, conflicts, gaps, or blind spots, between the TLOs and the Competency Standards. The findings, and the methodology adopted, might provide insights for future instructional design, content, and delivery of Practical Legal Training programs, and for future reviews of the TLOs and Competency Standards.
I searched databases and journals to get a sense of what proportion of Australianteachers have published work on scholarship of teaching. I compared this data to data regarding proportion of teachers holding formal teaching qualifications.
I do not believe this data is wholly descriptive of Australian