Most students initially said they did not need a Code of Conduct for the class. They (most) later changed their mind when posed with ethical violations without a code of conduct.
Team Building: This is such a critical step in forming a good group bond. Many students ended up grouping together with similar disciplines. Cyber Island initially attracted IT students and then recruited someone outside their department that would increase their chances of winning the Most Ethical Island. Making a poster was just 1 aspect of team building. They now had an identity.
Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, Gandhi… Were these people really altruistic or were they displaying the ethical theory of egoism? Well, Challenge #7 was to put one of them on trial and find out. The class was divided in 2- one for altruism and one for egoism. There was a lot of research involved and the teams didn’t complete the challenge in 1 class. Next week when they come back we will try Mother Teresa (night class’ choice) and Michael Jackson (day class’ choice).
Mother Teresa On Trial: Altruism or Egoism
What kind of Teacher do You want to be: One that jumps in the pool and teaches or the One that Lectures at the student?
I recently interviewed several people for adjunct faculty positions. Usually, after I give my spiel, I ask, “What do you think about textbooks?” Most people look at me a little quizzical trying to figure out how I want them to answer. So I almost always follow it up with, “No, really, how does the textbook fit into your class? There are no right or wrong answers.” I then ask, “How do you feel about Powerpoint?” They again look at me like I am asking the all time most stupid question and giving me a look of, “doesn’t everyone use the textbook and the textbook’s Powerpoint?” To which I jump in, before they can answer, and add, “We want you to be creative. Your goal should be to get the students excited about learning- about the subject matter that you are passionate about. How exciting is it to read the textbook and then read the Powerpoint of the textbook as you recite each word as if you made it up yourself. Tell me how you make learning fun?”
If I have lost them at this point, they quickly throw out words that they have heard. This is where it gets difficult because many people in higher education know the hot button words of the day, but they do not know how to implement them. They know that students learn by doing, but they don’t have the creativity to create the doing activities. Where do I get these ideas, you ask? I would love to take the credit for all my ideas or say, “Oh, I make them up!” But, that is just not true. There are so many resources out there to teach us how to challenge our students by true hands on activities.
Where I start first is in my own law practice. I think about why I became a lawyer and all the fantasies and stereotyping and assumptions I made about being a lawyer before I was a lawyer. I ask the students what their ideas are about an exciting class or an exciting subject. Most people have a glorified idea about what lawyers do. I just play off these ideas and let them be a lawyer for a day (at least in Business Law that is the plan). I also think, “Maybe, they will go to law school later or be a paralegal. What skills can they learn to work in a law firm through this course.” I teach them those skills, as well.
I also read a lot. I read all the books on what the best teachers do, how to flip a classroom, how to do team based learning… oh and did I mention I watch others teach! I see what I want to adopt and what I say, “Wow I don’t ever want to do that!”
I also remember my favorite classes… and try to forget the most boring classes of all time!
There are so many places to learn better teaching techniques.
But, by far the best place to learn to teach is to take risks and experiment. Always be willing to admit failure and go back to another way. However, a word of caution here- you must give it time to sink or swim. Don’t just jump in prematurely and save a sinking ship. I taught all my kids to swim by staying close by, gently talking them through it, and only jumping in when they really needed the help. They all swam by age 4. You can do it and so can our faculty!
p.s. I do love textbooks, but I think they are a resource and not the source…
And I am not against the PowerPoint, as long as they are short and sweet or printed out and used as a workbook… I especially love moving animations (turn the powerpoint into a moving story)
The new term begins soon, so I must plan this class. There is only one.. maybe 2 glitches. (note- because of the issues raised in this post, I rewrote how the course would be taught. Instead of the legal disasters arising from clients, they will now arise from disasters that befall a newly formed corporation).
My plan is to step the students through what I would expect of them each week by doing each part (in a truncated form) in class the first week. What does that look like you ask?
Well, here you go:
Wow, I have a lot of work to do… better run!
*side note: each class meets for 4 hours for 10 weeks (since this is a hybrid course, week 10 is made up trhough online discussions throughout the course). Also, I do require substantial out of class time spent learning the legal themes so when they come to class we can have fun being lawyers and paralegals!
This is a collection of articles and videos (mostly videos) that I give the students to watch outside of class. The students are given both reading and watching assignments each week. They are also encouraged to learn from other sources what they need to learn about the theory before they come to class. When they come to class prepared, we can jump right into the Challenge of the week and have fun with the theory.
The Need for Rules
Good and Evil
Ross (news article)
Rights and Justice
Each week the students are presented with a question. The question is taped to the wall and students use a sticky note to vote. They can choose one side or the other or in the middle.
The students are encouraged to rethink their vote throughout the class and change their vote if necessary. The purpose is to encourage deeper thinking instead of a quick superficial decision. Here are some examples:
This weeks challenge was a Scavenger Hunt. The team to get back first won the Most Ethical Island Award (because all other points were tied). They could text the image, email it, or bring it to me and show me.
Here is the Challenge:
Here is a sample of what they sent me (a vice):
The team to win the most Most Ethical Island Awards does not have to take the final…
The night class has 5 teams. 1 team rarely comes to class (2 members). Of the other 4 teams the standings before this challenge were: Cyber (1), MA’s (2); 3 Guys (2); Smiley’s (0).
There are 3 challenges left. They realized that if each of the teams ended up with 2 Most Ethical Island awards there would be a 4 way tie for 1st place and no one would have to take the final… I will let you know how it goes!