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Can the Professor Come Out and Play? - Scholarship, Teaching, and Theories of Play

Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 58, No. 4, 2008

Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 10-29

40 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2009 Last revised: 27 Oct 2010

John Mitchell

Seattle University School of Law

Anne M. Enquist

Seattle University School of Law

Bryan L. Adamson

Seattle University School of Law

Lisa Ellen Brodoff

Seattle University School of Law

Marilyn Berger

Seattle University School of Law

Paula Lustbader

Seattle University School of Law

Date Written: December 2008

Abstract

In January 2008, the authors presented an Open Source program at the National AALS Conference in which they explored the applicability of cognitive/developmental theories of play to our work as scholars and teachers. The authors sang, lectured on theories of play, and involved over 100 law professors in an exercise in which participant groups employed either visual art or music to explain the tort concept of "lost chance."

In this article, we build upon that program and present an extensive analysis of the literature on childhood play, focusing on those aspects of the type of "play" which enhances development of creative problem-solving and innovation. We then explore the adult manifestation of this childhood cognitive activity, what John Dewey called a "playful attitude," assessing its implications for our scholarship and teaching. As it turns out, these implications are significant, as we detail in the last two sections of the article where we focus on the nexus between play theory and our work as professors of law.

Keywords: teaching methods, learning theory, legal education pedagogy, legal scholarship

Suggested Citation

Mitchell, John and Enquist, Anne M. and Adamson, Bryan L. and Brodoff, Lisa Ellen and Berger, Marilyn and Lustbader, Paula, Can the Professor Come Out and Play? - Scholarship, Teaching, and Theories of Play (December 2008). Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 58, No. 4, 2008; Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 10-29. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1352594

John Mitchell

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA n/a 98122-1090
United States

Anne M. Enquist

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA n/a 98122-1090
United States

Bryan L. Adamson

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA n/a 98122-1090
United States

Lisa Ellen Brodoff

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue
Seattle, WA n/a 98122
United States

Marilyn Berger

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Aveue
Seattle, WA n/a 98122
United States

Paula Lustbader (Contact Author)

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue
Seattle, WA n/a 98031
United States
206-398-4021 (Phone)

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