More than Merely Doing: Deliberative Practice, Feedback, and Academic Success
22 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2011 Last revised: 21 Nov 2011
Date Written: May 1, 2010
Committed practice, followed by constructive feedback, followed by more committed practice, is a recipe for success. Some suggest that it is the only way to truly become expert at anything. Two recent books, Malcolm Gladwell‘s Outliers and Geoffrey Colvin‘s Talent is Overrated both rely heavily on well-vetted psychological research and seek to prove exactly this point. Gladwell and Colvin remind the world that, if a person wants to improve her skills in any arena, that magical interplay between hard work and feedback practice and feedback are essential.
The law school learning context, like the other con-texts in which the importance of feedback have been studied, is an environment in which deliberate practice requires two parties: the law students who do the academic work and the teachers who provide the critical feedback instruction that helps students find their way to better, deeper practice and the improved mastery that ac-companies it.
Student buy-in - engagement with the material and a commitment to the practice process - is essential. But it is only one half of the equation. The other half is the teaching, instruction, and carefully thought out feedback methodologies. This article begins to explore some of the constructs of constructive feedback and how to implement it in the law school context.
Keywords: pedagogy, feedback, law school, carnegie, best practices, education, law school
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