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Critical Enculturation: Using Problems to Teach Law

Keith H. Hirokawa

Albany Law School

October 12, 2012

Drexel Law Review, Vol. 2, No. 1, p. 1 (2009)
Albany Law School Research Paper No. 31 of 2009-2010

Problem Based Learning (PBL), also known as the ‘problem method,’ has caught the attention of teachers in most disciplines. As a curriculum choice to place students in active roles as problem solvers, PBL methods enculturate students by inviting them to adopt the roles they seek to inherit. This article argues that what is notable about teaching law through problems is not merely that it prioritizes professional competency, but also that problem-based teaching requires students to participate in their professional development in a special way: PBL is aimed at neutralizing perceived deficiencies in legal education by transforming the students’ thought processes - ‘thinking like a lawyer’ - and by providing opportunities to incorporate critical, conscientious and effective professionalism into the curriculum. To illustrate the PBL approach, this article applies PBL methods to the design of problems for a land use law course.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 41

Keywords: PBL, problem based learning, problem based teaching, Best Practices, Legal Education, land use planning, problem solving, thinking like a lawyer

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Date posted: February 17, 2010 ; Last revised: December 14, 2012

Suggested Citation

Hirokawa, Keith H., Critical Enculturation: Using Problems to Teach Law (October 12, 2012). Drexel Law Review, Vol. 2, No. 1, p. 1 (2009); Albany Law School Research Paper No. 31 of 2009-2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1550172

Contact Information

Keith H. Hirokawa (Contact Author)
Albany Law School ( email )
80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

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