Bond University

Article Title

Teaching Writing In Law: A Model to Improve Student Learning


[Extract] Every year in almost every course, there are students whose work is assigned low grades because it lacks substance, clarity, creativity and sophistication. Why is such poor quality work produced? This familiar problem was raised recently by Shirley Rawson and Alan Tyree. The explanation focussed on by the authors is the failure of students to define or apply criteria for good work. The authors’ aim is accordingly to improve student performance by self and peer assessment which require the definition and application of criteria to evaluate one’s own or a peer student’s work. My own aim in teaching has a slightly broader perspective. My primary concern is to improve students’ approach to learning and in particular to lead students to adopt a deep approach to learning. Whereas a surface approach is characterised by rote learning and a focus on accurate reproduction of knowledge, a deep approach to learning focuses on maximising understanding by reading widely, thinking critically, reflecting and linking new information to previous knowledge. Students’ motivation would lie in learning for its own sake rather than purely in passing the course requirements.

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