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The classic image of the Law School classroom is "Professor Kingsfield's" at the podium using the Socratic Method to interrogate quivering law students. This article advocates the incorporation of new methods: we argue that an integrated and interactive approach to teaching and learning legal topics is beneficial for law students and law professors alike. Although the article focuses on personal jurisdiction, the lessons here can apply to a tough topic in any course. The article begins by explaining why personal jurisdiction is difficult, as well as theory and data on traditional studying versus how to promote optimal learning. The article then explains how the authors have effectively enhanced student learning with a two-pronged approach of providing key context to personal jurisdiction, combined with an active learning approach that involves interactive learning of PJ before, during and after class. This process includes a variety of tools including videos, guided reading of PJ cases with key questions, interactive quizzes with explanations before and after class, as well as "clicker" questions during class. The article concludes that one or more of these methods could be successfully incorporated into any class with a tough topic by faculty with varying teaching and technology preferences.
Gilles, Susan; Ho, Cynthia; and Upchurch, Angela, "An Active Learning Approach to Teaching Tough Topics in Law School" (2016). Learning Showcase 2016: A Celebration of Discovery, Transformation and Success. 23.