Beyond Skills Training, Revisited: Spiraling the Pyramid of Clinical Education
35 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2012
Date Written: September 4, 2012
As I engaged in the planning process for the 2011 AALS Clinical Conference, and also in the work of curricular reform at my own law school, I found myself spiraling around questions about the essence of clinical pedagogy. What is it? What are its goals? What are its methods? Which, if any, of these goals and methods are unique to what has come to be considered “pure” clinical pedagogy, and therefore best (if not exclusively) used in “pure” clinical courses?
My journey up the spiral forms the basis for this article. Part One explores what consensus exists about the goals and methods of clinical pedagogy. Part Two describes my own pedagogy in a traditional “doctrinal” course (Estates and Trusts), identifying my dominant goals and methods and their overlap with those identified in Part One as “clinical.” Part Three identifies those goals and methods that remain “purely” clinical – those that really cannot be used effectively in anything but a traditional clinic course. And the piece concludes with proposed answers to the questions raised above, and a description of what this analysis might mean for the future of clinical pedagogy and the broader law school curriculum.
Keywords: law school, clinics, pedagogy, teaching, clinical pedagogy, legal education, law school curriculum reform, learning, social justice, legal skills
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