Universities are increasingly providing aid and advice to lecturers in the practicalities of teaching and lecturing. The Centre for Academic Practice and Student Learning (CAPSL) in Trinity College Dublin (where I work) is a local example of an increasingly prevalent phenomenon, of which the Higher Education Academy (HEA) in the UK and the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI) are exemplars. The HEA even maintains excellent resources for law teachers at the UK Centre for Legal Education (UKCLE). But missing from all of this is a simple, yet comprehensive, primer for the novice law teacher. Now, via Law School Innovation, I learn about Howard Katz and Kevin O’Neill “Strategies and Techniques of Law School Teaching: A Primer for New Teachers”, now available on SSRN. The abstract:
Much has been written about law school teaching. In our view, the contributions of Kent Syverud, Susan Becker, and Douglas Whaley are especially valuable. Why, then, did we bother to write this article? Because most articles focus narrowly on specific teaching techniques or on particular law school courses. Only a few offer general advice to the new teacher. No article, to our knowledge, has ever furnished detailed and comprehensive advice on how to teach a law school course – from choosing a book and designing a syllabus to orchestrating the classroom experience to creating and grading the final exam. That is the aim of this article.
It’s a working paper, so it’s not yet in its final form, but it is nevertheless food for thought and essential reading for law teachers and especially aspiring law teachers everywhere. I wish I’d had it when I was starting out, and I will certainly be going back to it as I design and redesign my courses in the future.