Using Culture in the Classroom: Enhancing Learning for International Law Students
Michigan State Journal of International Law, Vol. 15, p. 557, 2007
19 Pages Posted: 8 May 2009
This article advocates for a teaching process that incorporates cultural learning and teaching in the classroom to assist international students in understanding U.S. law. It addresses the intimate connection between law and culture, and why it is difficult to separate the two. The paper explores the difficulties encountered by those societies attempting to merge foreign legal principles into their own legal systems without proper cultural understanding or implementation, and addresses why and how the teacher of U.S. law can make explicit and implicit cultural understanding part of the classroom experience. The author concludes by advocating that international students will be better able to adapt to U.S. legal and educational practices when the classroom is open to understanding their own cultures, and when the law teacher is able to contextualize U.S. law in everyday cultural life in the U.S. Law professors will also benefit by gaining knowledge and understanding about the social and legal cultures of the students they teach and by knowing that they have assisted their students in understanding not only U.S. law, but its context and cultural foundations.
Keywords: cultural learning, cultural understanding, international law students, foreign legal principles, classroom, comparative learning, U.S. law, legal education
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