Critique in Legal Education: Another Journey

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Ardill, Allan
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2016
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Abstract

For over a decade my enthusiasm for the mandatory course Property Law 1 at Griffith Law School was shared by the vast majority of my students. Property Law 1 is a deeply critical course, rich in theory and interdisciplinarity 1 and covering compulsory doctrine. Lately it is increasingly difficult for me to teach and enjoy this course because student attitudes have changed, as measured by Student Evaluations of Course (‘SECs’). I was baffled as to why student attitudes were changing until I read three pieces of scholarship that provided some answers after a lot of deeply personal reflection. The three pieces of scholarship were Thornton’s book 2 and the follow-up articles in a special issue of this journal,3 several articles written by James,4 and an article called ‘Marx in Miami’. 5 Collectively this body of research, together with my reflection on over a decade teaching legal critique, has led me to the conclusion that teaching deep critique in a mandatory law course today is doomed without at least one of two measures. Firstly, and ideally, critique must be embedded throughout the curriculum with a proper introduction during first year and then appropriately reinforced for the duration of the degree. Secondly, where critique is not embedded throughout the curriculum, students will expect critique to be justified as relevant to them at a personal level otherwise they will regard it as irrelevant and increasingly with hostility.

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Legal Education Review
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26
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1-Feb
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Curriculum and pedagogy
Property law (excl. intellectual property law)
Legal education
Political theory and political philosophy
Social Sciences
Education & Educational Research
Standpoint Theory
Science Question
Epistemological Chasms
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Ardill, A, Critique in Legal Education: Another Journey, Legal Education Review, 2016, 26 (1-2), pp. 137-160
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