Starting With the Questions, Not the Answers: Reunifying Property in the Classroom
30 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2012 Last revised: 1 Jan 2013
Date Written: September 7, 2012
This essay argues that the myriad property doctrines and rules are answers to several consistent legal questions, and that these questions provide a useful framework for teaching Property law. The problem with Property Law courses is that we cover a slew of topics in which we load students up with a wide variety of (often conflicting) answers to these questions without ever revealing that all of the doctrines and rules are responses to the same set of questions.
The proposed framework offers the questions as reference points for navigating the sea of common law Property doctrines and rules. A student still must deal with the treacherous straits of the Rule Against Perpetuities and similar difficulties. However, using the framework of questions she can always look up to see key questions and thereby orient and guide herself to an answer (or set of possible answers).
Keywords: teaching, instruction, pedagogy, law school, property law, legal education
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