Philosophy of Teaching

How one teaches is necessarily influenced by what one perceives as the goals of legal education. Certainly, the primary goal is to prepare you to be effective lawyers, judges and policy makers. At a minimum, that includes helping you to develop the ability to:

**think critically, precisely, and clearly; **express yourself succinctly; **understand the expressions of others; particularly those who are different than yourself; **understand human nature, particularly the motivations and needs of your clients, opponents, jurors, judges, etc.; and **use the techniques of the legal profession to represent a client in general matters, to recognize where you lack competence, and to comply with accepted ethical standards.

While it is hardly arguable that preparing you to be an effective lawyer is an important goal, it is not the only one. Many of you will be law makers and policy makers, thus training you to understand the values implicit in the law is an important goal. Another important goal is to train you to address in a systematic manner your social responsibilities as an individual lawyer and your collective responsibilities as a member of the bar. This includes your responsibility to assist your community in maintaining an accessible, effective and socially responsible legal system.

Thus, my objective is to help you continue the process of meeting those goals. The primary focus of my teaching method is to provide you an educationally sound introduction to the issues related to Violence as a Public Health Issue. Furthermore, given the impact race, gender and poverty have on the law (and vice versa) my approach to teaching is to explicitly explore race, gender and poverty in the context of Violence as a Public Health Issue.


Teaching Objective #1: Educationally Sound Pedagogy

An educationally sound legal pedagogy is a philosophy of legal education which is grounded in known educational theory. To be so grounded, an educationally sound legal pedagogy:

**trains you to solve legal problems by providing you with a working program for solving problems;

**provides you with criteria for indicating specifically what progress you are making;

**provides you with the opportunity to practice each new skill throughout the learning process; and,

**provides you with adequate instruction on how to study for law school and this course.

Thus, it is my goal, through an educationally sound pedagogy, to provide you with an opportunity to learn and to excel.


Teaching Objective #2: Substantive Teaching Objectives

"Violence as a Public Health Issue" teaching objectives are those objectives that relate directly to the substantive area of the law. They can be divided into two categories: knowledge and skills/abilities. The objectives of this course are:

**To provide you information about selected principles of criminal, public health and other significant issues (or unsettled matters) related to violence;

**To help you understand the value implications of legal choices and the impact on different people; **To help you develop and improve your analytical skills including understanding, issue-spotting, problem-solving, judgment and synthesis; **To help you to understand the importance of inference and intuition in problem definition and problem-solving; and emphasize that "personal neutrality" is not necessary to scholarly objectivity.


Teaching Objective #3: Diversity-Conscious Legal Pedagogy

Class, disability, gender, race and sexual preference issues are such an integral part of our society (and the legal profession) that we often overlook how the law affects individuals with different backgrounds differently. In a diverse society, such as ours, awareness of how different class, disability, gender race and sexual preference are effected differently by the law is essential. This is true whether the person is a defendant, plaintiff, lawyer, juror, judge or law student.(1) Diversity awareness should be a normative part of the value system of the practicing attorney.(2) An education which is aware of diversity:

**explores how racial, ethnic, gender, class, disability, cultural and sexual orientation are related to and impacted by the structure law; In particular it illuminates the connection between racial and gender issues and the values, interests, rules, and theories that appear to be neutral but are, in fact, a representation of the values of the dominant culture.

**broadly frames classroom discussion so that we step outside the doctrinal bounds of the law to critique the rules, the legal and health care system and legal practice; and,

**focuses discussion on problems, interests, and values that reflect a broad range of perspectives.