Over the last number of years, the legal academy has placed increasing emphasis on the need to diversify teaching methods, and in particular, has focused on expanding in-class, experiential teaching methods. Educational research confirms that learning experientially has multiple benefits for adult learners, including better retention of material, the ability to explore a more diverse range of representation contexts, the development and use of a broader range of analytical skills, and an emphasis professional collaboration and growth.1 Consistent with this evolution of the scholarship on teaching and learning in law school, ABA Standard 303(a)(3) requires all students to complete “one or more experiential course(s) totaling at least six credit hours.”2 This growing recognition has increased demand for experiential learning courses and clinics at law schools, and presents opportunities for innovative teaching and community partnerships. Alongside this (r)evolution in how we teach our students, we have also increasingly come to realize that our responsibility to teach all students effectively and according to best practices requires additional commitments: to designing inclusive classroom environments in which all students can learn and thrive; to creating spaces in which our students can critically evaluate their roles as lawyers; to collaborating with community partners to effect change in the real world; and to bringing in and engaging with multiple disciplines and perspectives as we design and teach our courses.
Naomi R. Cahn & Meredith Johnson Harbach, Introduction: Family court review special issue dynamic pedagogy in the family and juvenile law classroom: Experiential and in-class exercises, 60 Family Court Review, 611–612 (2022).
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