Tag Archives: active learning

Engaging Students in Socratic Dialogue – Post Script

I realize that this young woman is probably like 12 years old, but I really love it as an image of a student thinking through writing. So there.

In addition to the techniques mentioned in my last blog post, law professors looking to increase student engagement might also consider the following: after completing a socratic dialogue with one student, ask all of your students to take a moment and reflect on what they think they were supposed to learn from the exercise.

This technique—asking students to consider and articulate learning objectives—can be used in conjunction with any type of exercise, including socratic dialogue.  It keep us on our toes by requiring that we be clear about why we are using certain teaching methods, and pushes students to think about and recognize how they are supposed to be learning in law school.  If we believe that we are teaching students to “think like a lawyer,” is that in fact what they are perceiving and experiencing?


Improving Our Ability to Engage Students – Variations on the Socratic Dialogue

I have sat in the back of the classrooms of accomplished, engaging, beloved law professors who routinely receive excellent student evaluations, and watched as 70% of their students turn unceremoniously away from their notes, instead perusing gmail, ESPN, and Zappos during class.  Not for the whole class, and not during the portions of class where the professor is lecturing.  Instead, laptop screens flip en masse at one, distinct moment: when the professor is engaging another student in socratic dialogue.

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“Talking to Teach” versus “Doing to Learn”

DU Law is doing something very exciting.  Namely, instead of just paying lip-service to all the hub-bub about reforming legal education, we are taking steps to put reform into practice.

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Some Thoughts on Teaching Techniques – Precise Writing Exercise

Bad teacher.

Bad teacher.

By way of disclaimer: I am by all measures a novice teacher, having started my career at DU Law in the summer of 2007.  In some ways, though, this may be an advantage in terms of learning about new teaching techniques, because in my inexperience I am very open to new ideas.

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What Students Can Do to Help Themselves; What Professors Can Do to Help Their Students

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“Stress” = primarily images of white men and women in office settings clutching their brains. Ultimately, the head explodes.

Today I want to spend more time discussing the insights from Prof. Larry Krieger’s booklet, “The Hidden Sources of Law School Stress.”  It is an incredibly helpful resource in the battle to manage and reduce our overall levels of stress—primarily because it offers a different way of thinking about and analyzing the sources of stress in our education and career.  For this reason, I would argue that it is a good resource for law students and practicing lawyers alike.

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