The good law teacher: The propagation of pedagogicalism in Australian legal education

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Abstract

What makes a law teacher a good law teacher? The answer to that question
traditionally depended upon one’s preferred approach to the teaching of law. If
one favoured a doctrinal approach – privileging legal doctrine by locating it at
the core of the legal curriculum and by emphasising its intellectual rigour,
academic value and social importance – the good law teacher was the brilliant
legal specialist, the scholar with the international reputation and comprehensive
knowledge of the subject matter. If one favoured a vocational approach –
prioritising the teaching of legal skills and emphasising the importance of
employability as an outcome of legal education – the good law teacher was the
lecturer who was also a practitioner and who knew how the law ‘really’ worked.
If one favoured a liberal approach – endorsing the liberalising of traditional legal
education by emphasising individual freedom, social responsibility and informed
rationality – the good law teacher was the teacher who inspired a student’s
interest in lifelong learning, in becoming a better citizen, and in seeking social
justice. If one favoured a critical or feminist approach – undermining the status
quo within the law school and within the legal system by exposing and
questioning the undisclosed political positions, gender biases, cultural biases and
power relations within legal education and within law – the good law teacher was
the passionate critic or the charismatic rebel who inspired insubordination and
subversion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-169
Number of pages23
JournalUniversity of New South Wales Law Journal
Volume27
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

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