The first year renewal to engage learners in law

Kift, Sally M. (2003) The first year renewal to engage learners in law. In 7th Pacific Rim First Year in Higher Education Conference, 9-11th July, 9-11 July 2003, Brisbane, Australia.

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First year students have special learning needs. For most, it is the nature and quality of their classroom experiences and their interaction with lecturers and tutors that will determine the success or otherwise of their transition to tertiary study. In all of their diversity, the one thing that all first year students have in common is that they come to us to learn. We need, therefore, to design enriching and inherently interesting learning experiences that will inspire and excite them to engage with and take responsibility for their learning. We also are obligated to make explicit what is required for success on their journey towards ultimate mastery of their chosen field.

In a legal education context, while the practice of law has changed radically in recent decades, it is not nearly as clear that reform of law curricula has kept pace. The contextual features of contemporary higher education also exacerbate the urgency to adopt a new approach to teaching and learning in law: drivers such as - the emphasis on employability skills embedded in curricula; focus on the quality of the teaching and learning as, simultaneously, students become more demanding and tertiary educators come to understand more about good teaching; reliance on information and communications technology; the massification of higher education; reduced public funding and an increasing rate of academic casualisation.

Against this background, the QUT Law Faculty has embarked on curriculum renewal centred around the development and implementation of a framework for embedded skills acquisition. The Faculty wished to address the generic issues of first year transition and was also committed to providing a package of teaching and learning opportunities that combined substantive content, theoretical and practical knowledge with the development of certain generic (and some discipline specific) skills; all of this in a legal context to a basic level of competency for all students, regardless of the diversity of their prior background and experience. This paper will describe this particular pedagogical response to meeting the needs of first year students who aspire to enter 21st century legal practice.

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ID Code: 18868
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
ISBN: 1741070287
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Deposited On: 18 Mar 2009 05:42
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:02

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