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Individuals or teams? Some Street Law programs have their law student instructors teach solo while others teach in pairs. This decision often depends on the number of law students and sites you have. Some advantages to each model are considered below:
Some advantages to teams include:
Advantages and disadvantages to solo teaching:
Teaching solo provides law students the opportunity for more control over class direction, more "on air" time to improve teaching skills, and less time spent on dealing with potential team friction. The key drawback to solo teaching is the occasional law student with inadequate teaching skills. An extreme example would be a law student who teaches in an autocratic style, tolerates no disagreement, and refuses to incorporate faculty feedback. Solutions to this unlikely problem could be co-teaching with a former Street Law participant, who would model exemplary practice, or, in truly extreme situations, removal from the program.
One method for peer teaching is to assign all law students (singly or in teams) to a particular topic and method to be modeled at a future seminar. For example, a student team may be assigned to teach search and seizure by using a case study; another to teach free speech in school using a role play; another to teach right to trial by jury using a cartoon; another to housing law using a visual aid. Alternatively, you may wish to assign law students to a particular substantive area and have them decide which teaching method to model.
Prior to the peer teaching event, the law students attend a "tutorial" with the professor. At the tutorial, student instructors are expected to present a written lesson plan and demonstrate a knowledge of the substantive law and method. The tutorial allows the professor to make suggestions so that the best possible peer teaching will occur.
Law students are generally given 30 minutes to present their lessons. They should set the stage before beginning the actual demonstration by describing their student body, the way this particular lesson fits in with the overall curriculum, and why it should be of interest to their audience.
Then the law students should begin teaching their lesson. The other law students in the seminar should view the demonstration through the eyes of typical members of the law student instructors' audience; e.g., high school students, prison inmates, or community members.
Afterwards, the law students presenting the lesson should be given an opportunity to discuss how they thought the class went, what they liked, and what they would do differently if they had the opportunity.
Then the law student audience should comment on what went well and discuss areas for improvement. The tone should be supportive and constructive.
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