How Do Law Students Really Learn?: Problem Solving, Modern Pragmatism, and Property Law
30 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2007
This article makes a case for teaching property law - or any area of the law - from the perspective of modern pragmatism, using teaching methods that promote active learning. In particular, a problem method of pedagogy that focuses on the practical utility of legal principles and the jurisprudentially pragmatic foundations of law is best suited to the features of law student learning, as we have come to understand from both theory and empirical research on adult learning. These features include active learning, learning in context, students' practical goals, professional respect, diversity of learning styles, and expectations-oriented learning. The article demonstrates how the contextualism and instrumentalism of modern legal pragmatism can be combined with the characteristics of the problem method of teaching to maximize law student learning. The analysis is presented in the context of a book review of Rabin and Kwall, Fundamentals of Modern Real Property Law, 3rd edition, a book that uses both the problem method and a modern pragmatic perspective on property law.
Keywords: property, pedagogy, problem method, adult learning, law student learning, modern pragmatism, problem solving, legal education, contextualism, instrumentalism, casebook review
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