Patriotic Pedagogy: Honoring Our Veterans in the Classroom and Beyond

By: Abigail Perdue

This Veterans Day, Teachlawbetter.com wants to extend a heartfelt thank you to all members of the U.S. military and their families for their outstanding service and tremendous sacrifice. As educators, it is important that we celebrate the courage and dedication of these brave men and women. Here are a few ways that you can use your next class session to honor them:

    1. Have a Moment of Silence: Have a moment of silence at the beginning of your next session in honor of all those who have fallen to secure the freedom that we too often take for granted – the same liberties that we, as attorneys, pledge to respect, preserve, and protect.
    2. Introduce the Veterans Court: If you teach a course on the judiciary, federal courts, etc., use this session to introduce the veterans law system to students, including a discussion of the unique role of the Board of Veterans Appeals (“Board”), U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (“CAVC”), and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The CAVC, which was created in 1988, enjoys exclusive jurisdiction over Board appeals. Although based in Washington, D.C., the CAVC hears cases across the country. It exemplifies the diversity of the judiciary and calls attention to critically important specialty courts about which students may not yet have learned.
    3. Invite a Guest Speaker: Invite a current or former service member, military judge, CAVC judge, JAG attorney, representative from the Department of Veterans Affairs, or a veterans law advocate to speak to your students about the realities of military service, the military justice system, and how they can assist veterans once they enter the practice. Continue reading “Patriotic Pedagogy: Honoring Our Veterans in the Classroom and Beyond”
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Tell Your FAIL Stories

By: Professor Danielle Tully

Not surprisingly, we are often wrong.  Sometimes we make simple, embarrassing errors, like hitting reply-all when we shouldn’t (most of us can tell that story).  More often, even for seasoned attorneys, our most troubling errors occur when we are exercising judgment, when we feel like we made the right (or best) call.

Exercising judgment can be fraught with ambiguity especially for law students who feel the profound seduction for certainty, for being right.  Yet, developing competence in exercising judgment is an iterative process.  By this I mean a lengthy process of mastery that involves working through one challenge after another, reflecting on mistakes, evaluating roadblocks, making new plans, and executing strategies.  To get students on board for the ride, students need to embrace errors and learn from them.  But how do we teach that?  And why is it so hard?
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Field Trip

By: Mike Garrigan, WFU Law ’19

When I was eight years old, I went on my first field trip. The entire third grade class traveled in five yellow school buses from Fort Sam Houston to the Capitol Building in Austin, Texas. Earlier that month our classroom lessons had showcased state government civics. Now at the Capitol, we enjoyed a tour and got to see where the Texas legislature did its work. While eight-year-old minds aren’t known for expansive abstract thinking, seeing the concepts we learned in class come to life made those civics’ lessons stick.

On September 20, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (“Fourth Circuit”) held oral argument at the Worrell Professional Center at Wake Forest University. The Fourth Circuit brought the “field” to us. Seeing the Fourth Circuit in action was a valuable learning experience.
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How Thaler’s Misbehaving Grades Helped Me Teach Law Better

By: Steve Garland, Wake Forest University School of Law

The professor that had the most important effect on my teaching just won a Nobel Prize. Out of full disclosure, I’ve never met him or taken a class from him. Still, Richard Thaler taught me that sometimes you may have to use psychological tricks to insure that your students focus on what matters most.

As we all know, in teaching legal writing and reasoning, leading the students to focus on the learning rather than the grade can be a challenge, particularly since our grades are most often the first grades the students receive. From my own experience in law school, I recalled that the grades we received in Legal Writing (at the time the only grades prior to the end of first semester exams) often had a disproportionate effect on our confidence going forward. This anecdotal intuition was reinforced by a study that my colleagues at Wake Forest University School of Law – Professors Laura Graham and Miki Felsenburg – undertook. They found that high-achieving college graduates lose confidence when they find that their hard-won skills in college may not immediately translate to their new law school community.
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The Fall 2017 Issue of The Second Draft Explores Innovative Ways to Teach Legal Research

One of the best ways to teach law better is to learn about the creative approaches that our seasoned colleagues are using with success across the globe and then to implement those great ideas in our own classrooms. That’s why I encourage you to check out the Fall 2017 issue of The Second Draft, a biennial publication of The Legal Writing Institute. The issue — Rethinking Researchshowcases exciting, new approaches to teaching legal research and features thoughtful articles from expert teachers like Professors Kathy Vinson, Kristen Murray, Ellie Margolis, Sarah MorathSabrina DeFabritiis, Liz Johnson, and many more!

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