'Getting to Know You': Results from a Pilot Survey of Incoming Law Students
24 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2005
Date Written: October 20, 2005
Every year, those of us who teach first year law students face the same dilemma: we know that the more we understand about our students - who they are, how they think, and what they know (and think they know) - the more likely it is that we will be able to teach them effectively. Yet our subjects are so complex, and time is so short, that we can spend little time learning about our students. It can be a frustrating experience.
This article summarizes the results of a pilot survey of incoming law students born of that frustration. Although the survey was only intended as a test of the methodology and the internet-based technology used to distribute the survey and analyze the results, and therefore was only limited to three schools, the data it generated were sufficiently interesting to suggest dissemination to a wider audience.
The article contains raw data from 350 responding students, tracking their responses to questions on topics such as practice preference, learning style, reading habits, writing experience, research skills, and internet use. Some of the results were expected and some were surprising, but all help us to build a more complete picture of who our students are.
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