What the Best Law Teachers Do

Michael Hunter Schwartz, Gerald F. Hess, Sophie M. Sparrow. Harvard Univ., $29.95 (352 pages) ISBN 978-0-674-04914-7
Law professors Schwartz, Hess, and Sparrow report the results of their systematic study of what makes the "best" professors of law. Reminiscent of a lawyer's method, the book is divided into chapters in the form of questions: what qualifies as exceptional learning; what personal qualities do the best law professors possess; how do they relate to students, engage with, and assess students; and what do students take away from their experience? The answers are not surprising to anyone who has been taught well; as the authors suggest, the best professors must be organized and bring enthusiasm and dedication to the classroom. Other key elements are fair assessment of students, clarity in communication, and the ability to provide constructive criticism. The authors present several interesting ideas relevant to teaching and learning law, ideas that should flourish at a time when law schools are seeking ways to reinvent themselves. The intended reach of this book, primarily teachers of law, is narrow, but teachers of all subjects stand to benefit. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 10/28/2013
Release date: 08/01/2013
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