The Waiting Room

This could take a while...

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Hold My Hand

Posted by Seeking Solace |

In a previous post, I talked about my frustrations with my upper level students not having the skills they need to produce the kind of work I expect at this point in their program. By now, they should have the basic skills so that I can engage them in more advanced work.

In addition, I fear they do not understand that law is a process-oriented field. In order to go from point A to point B, there is a process that needs to be followed. Sadly, my students have been taught to focus on the result, rather than the steps that it takes to get there.

Also, my students do not seem to understand why they must do certain things. The other day, one of them asked me why paralegals need to learn how to brief a legal case. I almost fell over. I explained to the student that briefing cases is important because one has to understand a case before it can be relied on as authority. Also, briefing cases helps one understand what the case is about, especially if the case is rather long. The student seemed to think that just finding a case is enough.

Um, no. Not even close.

This has led to some frustration on my part. I have held off giving my student their project because I want to make sure that it is something that they can handle at this stage of the game while still assessing the skills required for the course. I have broken down their project into specific steps with benchmarks that they must meet, explaining the reasoning and necessity for each step.

I usually do this with all of my projects, having benchmarks and allowing them to make their mistakes early on without penalty. But, I fear that with these students, I will have to do more hand holding and guidance. Hopefully, they will understand and appreciate it in the end.