Learning in law school is essentially self-directed.
Most of your learning will happen outside of the classroom and independently
of myself or any other professor. In fact, many professors, (myself included)
will test you on significantly more than can ever be covered in class.
My role is to structure my course in such a way as to facilitate your self-directed
learning and to help you excel. I do that through the following: detailed
syllabus, assigned readings and problems and classroom
A. Detailed Syllabus
The syllabus for this course consist of this webpage
and connected webpages. The syllabus is an important study tool. It provides
you with specific guidelines as to my expectations regarding what you should
learn, what skills and understanding I value and how I organize the content
of the course. However, the syllabus is not a contract and
I retain the right to modify it at my discretion.
Assignments consist of both readings and problems. The assigned reading provides you with the opportunity
rule and process information. The problems provide you with the opportunity
to develop your analytical and problem-solving skills. The assigned readings
serve as a basis for solving problems. The problems will form the basis
for classroom instruction. It is my expectation that you will be thoroughly
familiar with the assignment and completely prepared for class participation.
In general, I will not cover the reading material directly. Most of
Your learning is expect to be achieved through reading and problem- solving.
Of course, If you have questions or comments about the reading you should
raise them during the class discussion or you may come to my office.
C. Classroom Instruction Using Cooperative
The primary teaching technique in this class is cooperative
problem-solving. In this class, cooperative learning will be used to:
•teach specific content,
•ensure active cognitive processing during class
•provide long-term support and assistance for
During the past 90 years over 600 research studies
have been conducted comparing the effectiveness of cooperative, competitive
and individualistic efforts. These studies have been conducted by a wide
variety of researchers in different decades with different age subjects,
in different subject areas and in different settings. More is known about
the efficacy of cooperative learning than about the so- called "Socratic
method" or lecturing.
From this research you may expect that the more
you work in cooperative learning groups the more you will learn, the better
you will understand what you are learning, the easier it will be to remember
what you learn, and the better you will feel about yourself, the class,
and your classmates.
be cognizant that if a subject is identified in the outline, you are responsible
for knowing and understanding that subject. We will rarely go over the materials directly or in detail. Teaching is not telling something
to a group of listeners, or explaining some concept or demonstrating a
mastery of an important topic. Rather teaching is helping students learn.
Of course, when I am helping students learn, I may engage in telling, explaining
or demonstrating, but I do these only as a means to accomplish an end.
In the final analysis, my success as a teacher is determined by how well