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Two paths diverged in a wood. The incorporation of active learning techniques in legal education and the role of the law lecturer

Author Karen Joan Sutton
Abstract The role of the lecturer in the current higher education environment is a transitory thing with many lecturers adopting a more learner focused approach in the classroom as modern learners demand more from their lecturers than being read or dictated an endless ream of notes. (Blumberg 2004). In addition Barlow (2012) believes that it is no longer sufficient for lecturers to merely convey information with a traditional chalk and talk approach. However, one of the questions or possibly more so dilemmas which arise for lecturers and particularly law lectures involves the incorporation of activities in what is traditionally the domain of lectures and further whether their lecture could ultimately become more of a workshop or tutorial than a traditional law lecture. By using active learning techniques reliance on the lecturer as the conveyer of all knowledge is reduced and the classroom environment is transformed from a passive to an active learning environment with questions being answered and discussed at a practical level. Activities such as role plays, jigsaws, crosswords, group research are incorporated and learners play an active part in directing their own learning. But albeit that there are a wide variety of ways in which lecturers can incorporate a more active learning approach, would this approach be suited to legal education? The purpose of this paper is threefold and chronicles the author's research in the area of active learning. Firstly the author reviewed the benefits of incorporating active learning techniques with reference to the Learner Attention Clock and Learning Pyramid. Secondly, the author considered the incorporation of breaks and the use of activities in lectures. Finally the author considered the formal lecture versus tutorial dilemma and the role of the law lecturer in the introduction of active learning.
Keywords Active learning techniques; Law lecturer; Tutorials; Workshops; Activities; Restrictions; Formal lecture; Classroom, Passive Learning, Active Learning
Published In ICEP Proceedings
Year 2013
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