Skills and Learning Outcomes

Title

Normalizing Struggle

Document Type

Law Review Article

Publication Date

5-2019

Keywords

legal-education, educational-psychology, learning-theory, academic-support-programs

Abstract

Learning lawyering skills, and becoming competent or proficient in them, is a struggle. This article is a call to action for all legal educators: We need to acknowledge that students struggle, to expect it, and to convey to students that their struggle is normal. In fact, struggle is productive — learning is hard, and lawyers learn and struggle throughout their careers.

This article examines and criticizes the ways legal academia treats law students’ academic struggle as a problem, and suggests that legal educators reorient their attitudes toward struggle, forgiving and embracing student struggle, even building opportunities for struggle into the curriculum. By normalizing the fact of struggle, law schools will not only improve the wellness of their students, but will create lawyers who are better prepared to cope with the constant problem-solving required of a successful lawyer.

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