Working the Nexus: Teaching Students to Think, Read and Problem-Solve Like a Lawyer

22 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2017 Last revised: 13 Jul 2018

See all articles by Kate Galloway

Kate Galloway

Griffith Law School

Mary Heath

Flinders University - School of Law

Alex Steel

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law

Anne Hewitt

University of Adelaide - School of Law

Mark Israel

The University of Western Australia Law School

Natalie Skead

The University of Western Australia Law School

Date Written: September 11, 2017

Abstract

Despite a clear case for thinking skills in legal education, the approach to teaching these skills often appears to be implied in law curricula rather than identified explicitly. Thinking skills could be taught as part of reading law and legal problem solving. However, learning the full suite of thinking skills requires active teaching strategies which go beyond exposing students to the text of the law, and training them in its application by solving problem scenarios. The challenge for law teachers is to articulate how to learn legal thinking skills, and to do so at each level of the degree. This article outlines how the nexus between three component skills: critical legal thinking, reading law, and legal problem solving, can be put to work to provide a cohesive and scaffolded approach to the teaching of legal thinking. Although the approach in this article arises from the Smart Casual project, producing discipline-specific professional development resources directed at sessional teachers in law, we suggest that its application is relevant to all law teachers.

Keywords: critical legal thinking, reading law, legal problem solving

JEL Classification: K1

Suggested Citation

Galloway, Kate and Heath, Mary and Steel, Alex and Hewitt, Anne and Israel, Mark and Skead, Natalie, Working the Nexus: Teaching Students to Think, Read and Problem-Solve Like a Lawyer (September 11, 2017). (2016) 26(1) Legal Education Review 95-114, U. of Adelaide Law Research Paper No. 2017-27, UNSW Law Research Paper No. 17-61, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3035692

Kate Galloway

Griffith Law School ( email )

Nathan Campus, GU
Nathan 4111
Australia

Mary Heath

Flinders University - School of Law ( email )

Adelaide S.A. 5001
Australia

Alex Steel

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

Anne Hewitt (Contact Author)

University of Adelaide - School of Law ( email )

Ligertwood Building
Adelaide 5005, South Australia SA 5005
Australia

Mark Israel

The University of Western Australia Law School ( email )

M253
35 Stirling Highway
Crawley, Western Australia 6009
Australia

Natalie Skead

The University of Western Australia Law School ( email )

M253
35 Stirling Highway
Crawley, Western Australia 6009
Australia

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