Why, how and what to practice: Integrating skills teaching and learning in the undergraduate law curriculum
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[extract] The article is in three parts. The first sketches the various approaches to skills integration that have emerged in Australian law schools and makes some general observations about skills teaching in law schools in Australia, America and the United Kingdom. For the purpose of this article, it is assumed that the term skill has been adequately defined, that skills teaching/learning has a place in the undergraduate law curriculum, and that there is broad agreement on the skills (and values) that should be taught. In the second part of the article I review the challenges involved in teaching skills at law school. This part focuses on the labour- and resource-intensive nature of skills teaching and on the difficulty of developing skills incrementally in a structured and systematic way throughout a student’s undergraduate studies in law. The third describes the skills program operating at the law school at Bond University. It describes the content of the program, the institutional rules and routines governing the program, and the way in which the program is related to other parts of the curriculum. It may provide a useful model for other law schools considering the implementation of an integrated skills program and, at the same time, highlight some of the pitfalls to be avoided in setting up such a program.
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