Live from LegalED’s Igniting Law Teaching — Michael Colatrella

Today, I am at the Igniting Law Teaching conference at American University Washington College of Law.  We are now hearing from Professor Michael Colatrella from McGeorge Pacific School of Law.  He is telling us what he learned about law teaching from being an art student.

Great ideas about how learning takes place over months and even years.  He wanted to become an artist — had given it up as a child. His grandmother had set him up to paint as a kid, but he gave it up.  Then he found an art studio in San Francisco with an atelier system for training people how to paint and draw.  The first class, 8 weeks for 4 hours/day, all you do is make sphere.  Then they given you one color.  Then black and white.

These are his take aways for law professors —

1.  it is great to put yourself back in a position of being a novice, a position of vulnerability and having lots of new information.  You get good dose of empathy from making yourself a student.

2. teach foundational skills before moving on.  Master one skill before moving on to the next.  Even if seems like you’re covering less, because doing it slowly, really doing it better and covering more.

3.  by having foundational skills, your students will go forth and be able to use them for advanced projects.

So the big secret — set clear learning objectives and provide frequent assessment and individualized feedback.  But we know that!  Research finds that there is a 400% increase in learning achievement when giving assessments and feedback throughout.  There are tools for assessment out there — use them!

You can watch the #ILT2015 conference live today,

One Response

  1. Wish I could be there! sounds terrific!

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