Tis the season for more discussion on teaching. I’m pleased to share that I’m teaching my first sections of Legal Research this fall. It promises to be a tremendous learning experience for my students and for me. And when I reflect on the lessons learned in this experience, I’ll share them with you so we can all benefit from my learning experience.
It became certain I’d be teaching late last year. After the initial excitement waned a bit, I began to think about how to teach. Since my degree programs didn’t include pedagogy courses I knew I was on my own to figure out how best to present this material to my students so that they understand it, engage with it, and can conduct research on their own in the future.
The Legal Research Teaching Academy at the AALL Annual Meeting in Boston in July was a wonderful day-long workshop that focused precisely on these issues: the how and why of teaching rather than the content. One highly recommended resource the workshop utilized was Teaching Law by Design: Engaging Students from the Syllabus to the Final Exam by Michael Hunter Schwartz, Sophie Sparrow, and Gerald Hess. The book covers learning theories and motivation as well as the very practical details on course design, teaching in class, and assessment in an easy to follow style.
In addition to this excellent book, there are many helpful resources on the Internet. Here are links to just a few that I find particularly helpful:
- Teaching and Learning Resources for Legal Education
- Introduction to Teaching – These resources are compiled by The Graduate School at North Carolina State University.
- Handouts on Teaching – These resources are compiled by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences for their new graduate teaching associates. This is probably my favorite compilation of materials. There are golden nuggets of information in every link.
- An Annotated Bibliography on Law Teaching – This is a thorough annotated bibliography covering a wide variety of information useful to new and seasoned teachers.
Are there other resources you find useful on this topic? If so, please share them in the comments.