Parallel session 2: Beyond Text in Legal Education project; Cultivating Lawyers

by Paul Maharg on 23/01/2009

I've written about this in an earlier blog posting, but I wanted to turn up for the screening of the film of the two days' acivities in the Talbot Rice Gallery.  The film was interesting (I don't appear in it, thank goodness, given my dance abilities…), and music was great.  Watch it.  I think it will be available from the Beyond Text website sometime soon.  

The experience of watching participants on the workshop reinforces what I said in my blog posting, and this was supported by a thoughtful comment afterwards from a participant, drawing on similar initiatives (as I understood it) in Health Studies.  Given that there's much of value in an intiative such as Beyond Text, how do we transfer learning from the workshops?  When people leave, how do they carry the experience and embed it into their professional lives?  Transfer of learning, as educationalists repeatedly remind us, is highly problematic – and I don't mean the straight replication of experience, which is exactly the opposite of what Dewey meant in his analysis of experience in Art & Experience and almost every educational text he wrote.  Experience will be recalled, re-enacted, conceptually built-upon, meanings will emerge and re-emerge — contingency is central to the transfer, but so is repetition.  Occasional workshops are a start, and you have to start somewhere, and this project is a great start; but as Dewey pointed out, habit is essential to learning of any sort in life.  

Next up was Gary Watt with interesting ideas on Educating Lawyers: Cultivation or Inculcation.  Inculcation is a word I try never to use with reference to any sort of education, so I was interested to hear what Gary would be saying.  Some good ideas but the key activity was a walk in Warwick campus, which I ducked out of.  Maybe I'm just in the mode of textual junkie, being at a conference, and wanting to meet, talk, read and above all listen and think.  

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