A Thinking, Reading, Problem-Solving Nexus: The Smart Casual Approach

Kathrine Galloway, Mary Heath, Alex Steel, Anne Hewitt, Mark Israel, Natalie Skead

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Despite a clear case for explicit teaching of thinking skills in legal education, these skills still commonly appear to be implied in the law curriculum rather than being taught explicitly. It is true that thinking skills are logically embedded within skills of reading law, and are implicit within legal problem-solving. But for law students to learn the full suite of thinking skills requires active teaching strategies beyond simple exposure to the text of the law, and traditional modes of its application through solving problem scenarios. The challenge for law teachers is to bring to the fore and explicitly articulate how to teach what otherwise remain implicit, embedded legal thinking skills, and to do so at each level of the degree.
This paper outlines how the relationships between critical legal thinking, reading law, and legal problem-solving can be put to work to provide a cohesive and scaffolded approach to explicit teaching of thinking skills. The approach in this paper forms part of the Smart Casual project, which is producing discipline-specific professional development resources directed at sessional teachers in law. In presenting a case study of the Smart Casual approach to teaching thinking skills more broadly, this paper offers a sample of the project’s work to date.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventAustralasian Law Teachers' Association (ALTA): Advancing Better Government, Sustainable Economies, Vibrant Communities: Law’s Role? - Victoria University Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Duration: 7 Jul 20169 Jul 2016


ConferenceAustralasian Law Teachers' Association (ALTA)
Abbreviated titleALTA
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
Internet address


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