Pedagogical challenges of teaching law to non law students

Butler, Jennifer, Richardson, Kristy, and Holm, Eric (2008) Pedagogical challenges of teaching law to non law students. In: Australasian Law Teachers Association 63rd Annual Conference: the law, the environment, Indigenous peoples: climate for change?. pp. 134-135. From: 2008 Australasian Law Teachers Association Conference: the law, the environment, Indigenous peoples: climate for change?, 6-9 July 2008, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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This article discusses some of the key obstacles faced in the pedagogy of teaching legal problem solving skills to non law students. The literature relating to the teaching of law identifies that the approach promoted to solve legal problems needs to be structured and logical. From a pedagogical standpoint the use of a structured approach allows the teacher to provide meaningful explanations of elements of law and relate the importance of these elements to practical situations thereby supporting deductive reasoning in legal problem solving.

A structured approach to problem solving has two key benefits. Firstly, it allows the student to have clear goals. Secondly it also allows the student to feel comfortable that they have the available resources to complete their task. Marzano highlights problem solving as the process of overcoming limits or barriers that are in the way of achieving goals. Indeed, the need for a structured approach to legal problem solving is amplified where the students undertaking studies in law are non law students. Within law schools structured problem solving methods have been used for some time. These methods differ slightly but commonly take the form of Issues, Rules, Application, Conclusion (IRAC) or a similar format. However, in the context of teaching law to non law students within a business faculty, it seemed to the authors that the promotion of a singular structured technique for legal problem solving was not occurring. Indeed, it appeared to the authors that the choice of the methodology for problem solving was occurring in an ad hoc and individualistic manner.

This paper considers the benefits of a singular structured legal problem solving technique being promoted to non law students for legal problem solving.

To further this discussion this paper examines a pilot study that was conducted at Central Queensland University in 2007 to evaluate the usefulness of different approaches to legal problem solving. Overwhelmingly, the respondents to the pilot study, some 33 students, indicated their appreciation from having some structure to their approach to problem solving in law subjects.

Item ID: 27966
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
ISBN: 978-0646-49497-5
Keywords: legal education
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2013 06:32
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9303 Curriculum > 930302 Syllabus and Curriculum Development @ 100%
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