Legal classes of a different nature: Impacts of active learning environments on interdisciplinary conservation education


EM FitzGerald*

Active Learning involves more than listening; it requires engagement. Technically speaking, it occurs through engagement in appropriate cognitive processing during experiences and is often summarized by the adage “learning by doing” (in a classroom sense, through simulated exercises, small group exercises, or role-playing; Cicero). These techniques are contrary to more traditional teaching styles, including lectures, which often depend on the effectiveness of the person teaching. The professor often provides information in a lecture while students listen and passively take notes; “Passive Learning” (PL). Modern classrooms feature both PL and AL in varying degrees, with a baseline for both being an ability to ask and answer questions. Graduate studies, including law, may apply more AL strategies than preceding grade levels, but there are calls for increasing this amount. Legal courses focused on environmental matters provide a unique opportunity to answer this call, given the prominence of environmental issues in the zeitgeist, the tangibility of nature, and how such matters can be approached.


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