Tuesday, August 27, 2019

New Videos Demonstrate Street Law Teaching Strategies



We developed four short “how-to” videos to help law students, lawyers, and other Street Law educators master some of our popular interactive teaching strategies. Each video also comes with an accompanying resource bundle. Special thanks to the law students in the Street Law program at New York Law School and Mark Klarman’s students at Vanguard High School for demonstrating the strategies.


Take a Stand

In the “Take a Stand” activity, students engage in critical thinking and conversation around contested public issue statements. Instructors choose a contested public issue statement and students take a stand along the continuum based on their claim about the issue.  

This activity is especially useful to help frame a discussion on controversial issues because it invites students to share their opinions about an issue. The method exposes students to the diversity of viewpoints on the topic and provides students an opportunity to express positions on controversial issues and to practice communication skills. This is a good initial activity to assess student knowledge before a lesson and can also be useful to assess student understanding after a lesson. Because the method involves physical movement of students, it often motivates students who are normally quiet in class to speak out. 

Take a Stand Resource Bundle and Video

Mini-Moot Court

A moot court is a role-play of an appeals court or Supreme Court hearing. The court is asked to rule on a lower court's decision. No witnesses are called, nor are the basic facts in a case disputed. Arguments are prepared and presented on a legal question (e.g., the constitutionality of a law or government action or the interpretation of a federal statute). Moot courts are an effective strategy for focusing student attention on underlying legal principles and concepts of justice.

Moot courts are often done with a full complement of judges and attorneys. However, there are benefits to conducting mini-moot courts consisting of three student roles in some instances. Mini-moots generally take less class time to prepare and conduct, each student in the class is fully engaged, and different decisions may be reached and considered.

Mini-Moot Court Resource Bundle and Video

Deliberation

Deliberations allow teachers to help students cooperatively discuss contested political issues by carefully considering multiple perspectives and searching for consensus. Deliberations help students develop a deeper understanding of issues, engage in critical thinking, make decisions based on evidence and logic, respect others' points of view, and identify multiple perspectives associated with the Deliberation topic. 

Deliberation Resource Bundle and Video

Facilitator Tips

This short video covers three essential teaching strategies. These tips will be most useful to non-educators that are using Street Law strategies and resources, such as law students or attorneys volunteering in classrooms.

  • Wait time is a simple strategy that facilitators can use to increase student engagement and improve student responses to a question.
  • Checking for Understanding can be used at crucial moments in the lesson when students must understand directions or content so that the lesson may move forward.
  • Focusing a lesson on Inquiry allows students to talk themselves to understanding and do the heavy intellectual lifting of the lesson.

Facilitator Tips Video