Value add Education

Learning vs applicability

Learning is a continuous process; content, curriculum and methodology need to keep pace with the changes. In the field of legal education, the teaching method has not changed for many decades. Teacher-centred themes, monologues and lectures and a theoretical approach still prevails to a large extent in almost all the law colleges across India. There is also no mandatory requirement for continued legal education (CLE) for advocates even though the Ministry of Law and Justice and the Bar Council of India have acknowledged its importance and need.

The non-contentious side of the legal field is complex and knowledge of law and technicalities are not enough. The expectation of clients and employers have changed drastically over the last decade and the focus is now on commercial awareness, knowledge of market practice and trends, and understanding and appreciating the commercial objectives of the proposed transaction. Are fresh law graduates — no matter how bright they are — ready to fulfil expectations in the corporate world?

The changes

The traditional ways of teaching in legal education will change only when lawyers are seen ‘commercial engineers’ in the corporate-legal world. Implementation of a real and effective CLE, participatory learning and clinical legal education in the curriculum and all training progrrammes will help provide learners a competitive edge.

Participatory learning focuses on learning through participation in moderated discussions by replacing the classic ‘teacher construct’ with a ‘moderator’. Instead of assuming that students lack information, this approach urges learners to apply common sense and logical reasoning. In the legal education sphere, it lays emphasis on eexperiences, real-world case studies and hypothetical situations, deal analysis, real-time assignments, and moderated discussions. The idea is not to do away with formal teaching but to achieve a balance.

Clinical legal education, on the other hand, is an experiential learning process that promotes the simultaneous growth of personal skills and values and social justice at the same time. It can be one of the tools in the participatory learning technique that caters to developing soft skills and sensitising the participants on social justice and ethical issues.

However for those participants who are unable to contribute to the discussions, the participator learning technique can be challenging. The moderator must be aware of this and see that the approach is all inclusive.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are personal and do not reflect those of the organisation.

The author is the founder, NotJustLex

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2021 5:41:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/the-importance-of-bridging-the-gap-between-theoretical-learning-and-practice-in-law/article33095292.ece

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