Family Law Clinic at UCC
AbstractShulman extols the benefits of ‘empirical propositions’ emphasising the value of interrogating teaching approaches with a view to establishing evidence as to how students learn, and in turn crafting effective ways to teach. This article critically explores the design and assessment approaches adopted in the delivery of the Family Law Clinic Module at the Law School, University College Cork and interrogates the impact of these approaches on student learning. In carrying out this action research, the decision to utilise Universal Design for Learning as the underlying Scholarship of Teaching and Learning framework allows the pedagogical approach adopted to be deconstructed and critically examined. The capacity for student involvement in the teaching journey which is premised upon the ideology of learning and teaching as community property will be explored, both from a theoretical perspective and also from a socio-legal viewpoint. It will be shown that empowering the students to direct the module and assessment content serves to awaken their social awareness and their understanding of their role as pro-social contributors. Following an exploration of these aspects of SOTL thinking, the student learning experience will be explored through a number of qualitative research methods, namely individual student interviews post completion of the module, individual student reflective journals and the testimonial experience of external parties who utilise the Family Law Clinic research services. These approaches to understanding the student experience will serve to demonstrate the unique approach adopted in the Family Law Clinic that gives rise to a unique student learning environment and holistic student development.
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