Developing oral skills in undergraduate students to enhance access to justice (PM)

by Paul Maharg on 20/06/2015

Pamela Henderson and Jo Boylan-Kemp on the above.  Why do oral skills matter?  Because of the arenas of client communication, interviewing, negotiation and mediation, mooting and advocacy.  At Notts Law School, the skills are developed in SCALE-UP modules, eg English Legal Method, Crime, etc from first to final year.  Jo described a student-led pedagogy, where skills are integrated with substantive law, eg Criminal law.  Pamela described a ‘Cinderella’ module, English Legal Method, and the integration of advocacy in that module.  Students do academic posters on human rights, eg, then they present on their posters.  They also have the students run a trial (on Jack and the Beanstalk) where Jack is prosecuted or defended, with witnesses (eg Jack’s mother), obtaining witness statements, with the tutor as class Chair.  Lots of issues arise re audience, status of speaker, questioning techniques (eg A Few Good Men), constructing closing arguments.  Many of the students, from Europe, are speaking English as their second language — Pamela reported that students loved the experience, were open to engaging with the experiences they undertook.

Jo then reported on what they were going to do next.  They were going to investigate student responses in more detail, and take this dovetailed approach further.

Next up, me on Well-being and learning: what legal educators and regulators can learn from progressive primary education. Slides up here.

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