By Kit Fotheringham, University of Bristol Law School
“Treat someone as they are and they will remain as they are. Treat someone as they can and should be and they will become as they can and should be.”
― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
The question of how to achieve good outcomes from online classrooms is a problem that has recently faced teachers and lecturers in all disciplines and at all educational levels. In this blog post, I reflect on the experience of leading online classes in a number of different contexts during the course of the global pandemic. I argue that good online classrooms do not emerge from nowhere, instead good online classrooms are created through strong expectations. (more…)
by Omar Madhloom and Hugh McFaul
In a recent article, one of the authors of this blog posed the question whether Clinical Legal Education (CLE) requires theory. In an effort to address this question, we invited academics and law clinic directors from various jurisdictions such as Brazil, Canada, England, Ethiopia, Israel, and the United States to consider the theories that underpin their CLE programmes. This resulted in an edited collection entitled Thinking About Clinical Legal Education: Philosophical and Theoretical Perspectives. The intention of this volume is not to obscure or eclipse the practical and experiential by focusing on theory, but to invite the reader to consider whether the practice of CLE can be enhanced by paying more explicit attention to its theoretical underpinnings. (more…)
by Foluke Adebisi, University of Bristol Law School
I wrote an article as part of a special issue that reflects on the state of the traditional law school and legal education. The full text is open access and can be accessed here or through your local library or other institutional channels. The purpose of the article was to think through the role of law schools in local and global society, especially in teaching the world to our students, especially if we want to engage with the possibility of changing the world. (more…)
by Imogen Moore (University of Bristol, Law School) and Lee Price (University of West of England)
Multiple choice tests (MCTs) can get a bit of a bad rap, sometimes seen as little more than quizzes to test basic knowledge, with no real place in a respectable law programme. But the acceleration of changes to teaching and assessment in response to the pandemic should prompt further consideration of the role of MCTs in academic legal education. And such consideration is particularly timely with MCTs now a key element of assessment for professional legal qualification under the recently approved new Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE). (more…)
By Dr Foluke Adebisi, Teaching Fellow (University of Bristol Law School).
‘Education does not change the world. Education changes people. People change the world.’ — Paulo Freire, Brazilian Philosopher and Educator
In the 2018/2019 academic year, Yvette Russell and I will be (for the first time) teaching a unit called Law and Race. It is a very exciting prospect, not least because there are very few law schools in the UK who teach race in any direct or focused way, and much fewer have a unit dedicated to race. This has been an intellectually stimulating enterprise for both of us, and in this article, I would like to explain why we have embarked on it and what we hope to achieve.
The history of the world can be perceived as the history of continuing inequalities. Oftentimes, race functions as the motivation for and justification of oppressive social, cultural, economic and political structures. This is evidenced by colonisation, slavery, and persistent global racial inequalities that cut across gender and class. Law has often been used to create, justify or maintain these demarcations. Notwithstanding this, legal study often ignores the correlation between race and law, as well as the paradox inherent in the use of law to both oppress and liberate. In our unit we aim to examine legal history and the current state of the law in a critical exploration of how legal evolution has impacted upon and caused racial disparities, and how these factors are continuously consciously and unconsciously embedded and reproduced within the operation of law. (more…)
By Imogen Moore, Senior Teaching Fellow (University of Bristol Law School)
‘The Successful Law Student: An Insider’s Guide to Studying Law’ (Oxford, 2018), co-authored with Craig Newbery-Jones of the University of Leeds, was written with the aim of supporting and guiding law students through transition, the law degree, and beyond. One of the particular features of the book is the incorporation of authentic student comments to support, challenge and enrich the text. It is the value and significance of this student voice that I intend to focus on in this blog post.
As the slightly quirky design might indicate, ‘The Successful Law Student’ is neither a substantive law textbook nor a conventional legal skills compendium. Our goal was to create a ‘supportive friend’ to assist a law student through the challenges they might face, recognising that every student’s experience will be unique. The book is therefore aimed at any and all aspiring and current law students rather than directed toward any particular ‘type’ of law student, law degree, institution or career aspiration. And at its core is a definition of success rooted in the individual and not dependent on external validation.
A key element of our initial proposal was the inclusion of the authentic and reflective voice of our students, providing their take on aspects of the law student experience: a feature we dubbed ‘I wish I’d known’. This reflects the book’s origins in myriad conversations with prospective, current and former students over many years in different institutions, as well as our own interests, aims, experiences, and occasional frustrations. Our publisher, OUP, supported this by enabling us to communicate with a large number of students beyond our own institutions, ensuring the student voice incorporated within each chapter of ‘The Successful Law Student’ truly reflects the diverse law student community.
We were pleased – but perhaps a little surprised – at just how popular this feature proved to be with reviewers of early drafts. It appeared that using student voice in this way was really valued. Why might this be? (more…)