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tonyp

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« on: August 07, 2006, 10:59:14 AM »
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The University of Texas School of Law, Class of 2009

Felsen

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Re: Worried about Socratic method?
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2006, 12:37:57 PM »
Did we already have this conversation here, or was that on some other posting in the Pre-Law board?

I don't mind the Socratic Method at all.  I'd love to get called on in class every day.  Of course, I like to hear myself talk.  I will dread when the teacher calls on the dumb student who didn't read the material the night before and also has a stuttering problem.  I hope to never sound remotely close to that type of student.  I also hope we don't have any in the class.

Worse than listening to a professor Socratically question an unprepared student, I hate listening to professors lecture the entire hour about what I read just the night before and already understand.  I'm used to technical classes, though, where you either understand it or you don't.  Maybe a lecturing professor wouldn't be as bad in Law, where there are supposed to be more nuances to explore.

hornian

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Re: Worried about Socratic method?
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2006, 02:09:58 PM »
This is from 2003 and they're still teaching via the Socratic method at UT? Leiter must be all hat and no cattle.  ;)

Felsen

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Re: Worried about Socratic method?
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2006, 02:16:21 PM »
This is from 2003 and they're still teaching via the Socratic method at UT? Leiter must be all hat and no cattle.  ;)

I'm guessing it will take another 20 years or so for the current faculty to die off and a new breed of Leiterites take over before the Socratic Method would be dead at UT.  That is presuming that incoming professors would not prefer the Socratic Method.

catz4885

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Re: Worried about Socratic method?
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2006, 04:31:50 PM »
i was wondering if i was the only one who thought that was a little harsh!!

Heresy

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Re: Worried about Socratic method?
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2006, 04:44:44 PM »
I personally volunteer for the rough-and-tumble job of "dumb student." That way, we all know who it is, Felsen can preemptively become disgusted with me, and I won't have any expectations or standards up to which I cannot live.

This is the sweetest gig since slacking in high school.  ;D

Felsen

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Re: Worried about Socratic method?
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2006, 06:01:14 PM »
That's another problem, Heresy.  For maximum Law School efficiency, I want to have class with all the smart kids so I can learn the most, but have essay exams curved against all the dumb ones so I can get the best grades.  :)

T. Durden

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Re: Worried about Socratic method?
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2006, 07:27:12 PM »
there's no sugar coating a truly socratic prof - know the material and be prepared to deal with his / her BS in class. generally speaking, however, your profs won't be too severe, and if you're extraordinarily lucky you'll end up with a prof who utilizes the "on deck" method (i personally love these rare classes, it gives me the opportunity to relax a bit and become more involved in the lecture, discussion, etc. on my own terms without dealing with that nagging anxiety that i might be up again for another socratic marathon).

but when a prof unceremoniously grills you for 50 min in front of the class on a complicated case that you read 2 weeks ago in a rush you're going to be a nervous, blathering idiot no matter who you are. though it won't be a pleasant experience, most of your classmates and friends will empathize and in this regard you'll get over it very quickly; i.e. your in-class performance doesn't effect your grade (unless you just sit there in silence and refuse to answer, which happened once first sem - *awkward*) and your 1L classmates are too tired and mentally fatigued to even really pay attention to whoever it is that is f'ing up the entire flow of the class for the day.

when some poor sod starts reciting the facts, IE comes up. you read the case. you know teh story. you don't need to hear again second hand from the kid sitting next to you...

..which leads me onto my next point: i don't really see the pedagogic value in the socratic method. professors claim that it teaches us to "think on our feet" - yet the skill of nervouslu and desperately attempting to BS your way through a discussion of esoteric property law principles really has no functional analog in the law; certainly a judge will require you to field questions during a motion arg., etc. but these arguments are conducted at a scheduled time when the attorney reasonably knows that he will be expected to be fully prepared to discuss the merits and weakness of his case in an educated and articulate manner - that same attorney is not randomly selected from a pool of 70 potential lawyers, most of who have three thousand other things on their minds at that particular moment...

after sucessfully participating in mock trial and moot court and clerking for a trial court judge this summer, i really can't see the educational merits of the socratic... i had moments in class where i nervous, confused, bumbling yet in mock trial and moot court i was articulate, confident, purposeful, etc. - i don't see the correlation between the two "skill sets."  i think that maybe it is more one of those "right of passage" type things - the profs went through, now you go through it.

but generally speaking it isn't too bad. after a month or so you'll be too busy to notice or even really care. this will apply to most things in your life during 1L year ;)   

Texas

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Re: Worried about Socratic method?
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2006, 05:29:54 PM »
Did we already have this conversation here, or was that on some other posting in the Pre-Law board?

I don't mind the Socratic Method at all.  I'd love to get called on in class every day.  Of course, I like to hear myself talk.  I will dread when the teacher calls on the dumb student who didn't read the material the night before and also has a stuttering problem.  I hope to never sound remotely close to that type of student.  I also hope we don't have any in the class.

Worse than listening to a professor Socratically question an unprepared student, I hate listening to professors lecture the entire hour about what I read just the night before and already understand.  I'm used to technical classes, though, where you either understand it or you don't.  Maybe a lecturing professor wouldn't be as bad in Law, where there are supposed to be more nuances to explore.

though I wasn't at UT last year - I was amazed at the number of students that didn't prepare for class...it was truly shocking.