Using Feedback Theory to Help Novice Legal Writers Develop Expertise
38 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2009 Last revised: 7 Apr 2009
Date Written: March 29, 2009
This Article examines how integrating structured feedback into a first-year legal writing course can help students develop legal writing expertise. Although this Article concentrates on the legal writing conference, its theoretical foundation applies to any conference between a law student and a professor. The theoretical premise is that students are more likely to develop legal writing expertise when teachers use a feedback method that: (1) reinforces students' feelings of autonomy and competence; and (2) minimizes students' perception of the power imbalance between student and professor. The Article describes how a feedback model, used successfully in clinical legal education, can help students develop legal writing expertise. The Article also illustrates specifically how the model can be used to avert four types of feedback failure commonly encountered during conferences.
Keywords: Autonomy Support, Competence, Composition, Conference, Expertise, Feedback, Law Student, Legal Writing, Novice, Self-Determination Theory, Writing, Writing Conference
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