First LegalED Conference – Igniting Law Teaching

CALL FOR TALKS

 

LegalED, with the generous support of American University, Washington College of Law and its Pence Law Library, is organizing a one-day conference about Legal Education and Pedagogy.  The conference, part of WCL’s Founders Program, is Friday, April 4, 2014 at Washington College of Law, in Washington D.C.

 

Given the current market conditions, law school administrators and faculty are being asked to do more with less -- to teach more practical skills, to establish learning outcomes, to provide students with formative assessment, to graduate practice-ready lawyers.  Many of these requests ask members of the academy to stretch beyond our typical ways of teaching and to add more to our curriculum generally and to each individual course. 

 

Recognizing that many professors are not trained to teach in this new way, this conference will gather leading law school educators together for a conference about law school pedagogy.  Each presentation will be videotaped and uploaded to LegalED for professors around the country and the world to watch at their own pace.  Instead of having panels of speakers, the conference will be structured like a TED conference. During the conference, each speaker will be asked to stand on the stage alone and speak for anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes, preferably without a podium.  If a podium is used, it is not to read a written script, but to refer to brief notes.  If powerpoint is used, it is mostly for graphics and images, with little text on the screen.

This presentation format is different from what we are used to at academic conferences.  It calls for speakers to have given thought to their content, practice out loud in advance for substance and length, for powerpoints with more graphics than words, and for more of a sensitivity to presentation styles (like intonation, pause, emphasis) than are typical in academic conferences.

Here are some examples of TED talks by law profs using this presentation style: Larry Lessig and Bryan Stevenson.  Additional material on how to prepare a TED Talk and other good presentation preparation tips will be shared with our selected speakers.

The goal of the conference is to create a collection of short, 10-minute videos, on law school-related pedagogy that will inspire innovation and experimentation by law professors around the country and the world to bring more active learning and practical skills training into the law school curriculum.  The videos will be available for viewing by the larger academic community on LegalED. 

Interested in presenting at the conference?

The value of making short presentations is that we can hear a lot of different ideas/speakers in one conference.  Once the speakers are selected, we will arrange them[WU1]  into panels (of not more than 4-5) and then organize a break between panels during which the audience could talk among themselves and with the speakers. There will not be a Q&A during the formal presentations.  Presenters will be asked to be available for smaller conversations with participants during the breaks.

Topic ideas to get your juices flowing:

·      5 things every law professor should know about learning theory

·      the value of reflection in learning

·      beyond quizzes: 5 formative assessment tools for legal education

·      top 5 things to consider when using a portfolio to teach writing skills

·      faculty teaching rounds: how they work and why you should host them

·      what I learned about flipping the law school classroom

·      flipping my 1L __ course

·      flipping my upper level ___ course

·      who are these digital natives anyway?

·      teaching collaboration

·      adding negotiation/mediation/interviewing/oral advocacy/drafting exercise into a course

·      5 things that make a simulation successful

·      how to bring cross-cultural lawyering into a doctrinal course

·      top 5 tips for training externship field supervisors

·      what I’ve learned from being a law professor for __ years

·      5 things I’ve learned about advising students

These topics are just illustrative; the value of this format is we can be open to ideas brought forth by potential speakers.

If you are interested in presenting, please submit a one-page summary of your topic to Professor Michele Pistone pistone@law.villanova.edu and Assoc. Dean Billie Jo Kaufman bkaufman@wcl.american.edu by Friday, February 14th.  Those who are selected will be asked to script out, practice and be ready for video-taping, preferably without any notes, by the day of the conference.