Feeding up and Feeding Back: Exploring the Value of Peer Learning through a Law Clinic setting
Students continually have conversations about what they are learning in their studies. Often without realising it, they take part in peer learning though the process of getting stuck on a problem and asking another student about it. The conversation that follows is part of the learning experience where both students work to understand and resolve the issue, sharing the burden and making it enjoyable. Whilst there is undoubtedly a benefit in peer learning, replicating the informal conversations between students in a structured learning environment can be daunting to teachers and students alike. We are two law clinicians in two very different law clinic settings. Our previous reflections on our use of feedback led us to recognise it as a form of communication, which builds upon a foundation of good relationships and an atmosphere of trust in our teaching spaces. It is in this learning environment that we have seen peer learning take place with our students, in the form of peer review and peer feedback with positive results: peer review has led to discussions about what constitutes a good piece of work and to take ownership of the cases they are working on, and peer feedback has supported a process of evaluation in the context of assessing whether the work is of the professional standard required. This study explores the value of peer learning, evaluating what students working in our law clinics actually think about it. Drawing upon our experience of small group face to face teaching we will look at the impact of remote learning resulting from Covid 19 on the student experience, and how students manage to develop and sustain peer learning. Understanding whether peer learning is considered useful, or whether the distrust towards peer review and peer feedback in particular remains, will, we hope, lead to more discussions about how peer learning can be developed in a variety of teaching spaces.
Copyright (c) 2023 Louise Hewitt, Lucy Yeatman
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