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An Essay on Strategies for Facilitating Learning
SSRN (2006)
  • David Barnhizer
There is a convenient assumption among many American law teachers that the existing model of the American law school works effectively. This includes the belief that the dominant methods and goals are not only appropriate and comprehensive but are being achieved. The reality is quite different. Law teachers tend to be amateurs from the perspective of the quality of our teaching. We are largely unaware of the most effective ways to structure a curriculum, integrate course offerings and design and execute individual courses. This essay focuses on goals, strategies and techniques for the facilitation of student learning. It reflects a strong bias toward what can be called active learning in which students move beyond being passive listeners (and too often even less than that) and instead are prompted to travel along a continuum of becoming active participants in their own learning processes. This participatory engagement with the learning environment—a culture constructed and facilitated by the teacher--increases the quality and depth of students’ learning. Ironically, it does the same for the teacher because it places a greater responsibility on the teacher to listen, interpret, guide and interact rather than merely “profess”.
  • legal education,
  • active learning,
  • CLS,
  • law schools,
  • educational reform,
  • Langdell
Publication Date
June, 2006
Citation Information
David R. Barnhizer, An Essay on Strategies for Facilitating Learning, SSRN Cleveland-Marshall Legal Studies Paper No. 06-127 (June 2006) Available at: