Working the Nexus: Teaching Students to Think, Read and Problem-Solve Like a Lawyer
(2016) 26(1) Legal Education Review 95-114
22 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2017 Last revised: 13 Jul 2018
Date Written: September 11, 2017
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: Suggested Citation