Motivating Large Groups of Law Students to Think Critically and Write Like Lawyers: Part 1
Keywords:critical thinking, student motivation, legal writing programme, teaching principles, constructive alignment, learner participation, conversations in feedback
This two-part article explores two central themes – student motivation and critical thinking – as they relate to teaching law students how to write like lawyers. The article examines these two themes through the lens of a case study on a legal writing programme, the “Write it Like a Lawyer” [WiLL] programme implemented at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, in 2019. The design of the programme draws upon three distinct teaching principles – constructive alignment, learner participation and conversations in feedback. This article argues that by applying these principles when teaching legal writing, law students are motivated to engage critically with legal materials, thereby enabling them to produce persuasive, logical, coherent legal writing, containing well-substantiated arguments. The article is in two parts. Part 1 begins by focusing on the theoretical underpinnings of the main themes of the article as well as the teaching principles applied in the WiLL programme. It then goes on to describe the significance of the central themes to a legal writing programme such as WiLL. Part 2 of this article moves on to a discussion of the three teaching principles – constructive alignment, learner participation (including blended-learning techniques) and conversations in feedback – and the manner in which these principles were used to achieve the desired outcomes in the WiLL programme. Finally, the second part of the article evaluates the relative success of employing the three principles in order to further student motivation and critical thinking in the programme. The article concludes with recommendations for improvements that could be implemented in future such programmes.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 Angela Diane Crocker
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.