The first-year experience in law school

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Book Chapter

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Wolff, L. & Nicolae, M. (2014). The first-year experience in law school. In L. Wolff & M. Nicolae (Eds.), The first-year law experience: A new beginning (pp. 8-18). Braddon, Australia: Halstead Press.

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Copyright © Copyright Leon Wolff & Maria Nicolae, 2014.

2014 HERDC submission




The first-year experience at university is a "purgatorial zone”. There is the shock of the new: navigating a new campus, choosing and enrolling in courses, locating classrooms, finding new friends and establishing new social networks, buying arm loads of textbooks, making sense of subject outlines, balancing work and study, completing multiple assignments on time. But there are also the growing pains associated with intellectual development. Not only must first-year students take responsibility for their own learning; they must also accept that there are no "right" or "wrong" answers or "good" or "bad" positions, but judgements they must make and defend through analysis, reasoning and argument:

... the student [must] shift from passivity to activity; [university] is no longer an environment in which professors have the sole responsibility to teach but, rather; one in which the student has an equal responsibility to learn. They [need] . .. to becom[e] critical thinkers who are, in the words of Richard Paul and Linda Elder, "self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective".

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