A romantic revolution in legal education

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Slides for the presentation by Dr Dawn Watkins (University of Leicester) at the Learning in Law Annual Conference 2011.

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A romantic revolution in legal education

  1. 1. A Romantic Revolution in Legal Education Dr Dawn Watkins Learning in Law Annual Conference 2011
  2. 2. <ul><li>The caged bird sings with a fearful trill </li></ul><ul><li>of things unknown but longed for still </li></ul><ul><li>and his tune is heard on the distant hill </li></ul><ul><li>for the caged bird sings of freedom. </li></ul><ul><li>An extract from I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou </li></ul>
  3. 3. On Romanticism <ul><li>Diversity of meanings </li></ul><ul><li>European movement </li></ul><ul><li>Late Eighteenth century </li></ul><ul><li>Reaction against the accepted thinking of the era </li></ul><ul><li>Art, literature, music </li></ul><ul><li>Politics and philosophy </li></ul>
  4. 4. 18 th century art and literature <ul><li>“ Invention is one of the great marks of genius; but if we consult experience, we shall find that it is by being conversant with the inventions of others that we learn to invent” </li></ul>
  5. 5. The concept of the artist <ul><li>Pre-Romanticism </li></ul><ul><li>Artisan </li></ul><ul><li>Skill </li></ul><ul><li>Imitation </li></ul><ul><li>Rule bound </li></ul><ul><li>Post Romanticism </li></ul><ul><li>Artist creator </li></ul><ul><li>Talent </li></ul><ul><li>Imagination </li></ul><ul><li>Free </li></ul>
  6. 6. Application to Legal Education <ul><li>The caged bird </li></ul><ul><li>‘ release’ of creative thinking and imagination </li></ul><ul><li>Development of independent thinking and autonomy </li></ul>
  7. 7. creative thinking and imagination <ul><li>“ this course is directed to you as an artist. There is no body of rules expressing the art of the lawyer any more than that of the sculptor or painter. You are as free as they, and as responsible for what you do…I am asking you not to follow direction and example but to trust and follow your own curiosity” </li></ul><ul><li>James Boyd White Introduction to The Legal Imagination at xxv </li></ul>
  8. 8. independent thinking and autonomy <ul><li>Student-centred learning </li></ul><ul><li>Problem based learning </li></ul>
  9. 9. Law as a ‘liberal arts’ education <ul><li>“ Both professional knowledge and technical information have value but in a liberal education they are acquired, if at all, not for the value that they have in their own terms but because they can facilitate the wider learning that constitutes a liberal education” </li></ul><ul><li>A Bradney, Conversations, Choices and Chances The liberal law school in the twenty-first century (Hart, 2003) p.41 </li></ul>
  10. 10. are our students revolutionaries? <ul><li>“ the Romantics with whom were are concerned were highly self-conscious: they were aware that they were doing something new” </li></ul><ul><li>R Wilkinson ‘New Conceptions of Art and the Artist’ (Open University 2005) p.54 </li></ul>

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