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Author Topic: soc. method advice  (Read 3752 times)

femmelawren

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soc. method advice
« on: December 05, 2008, 03:14:33 AM »
This may be because I am a hopeless nerd and have spent most of my academic career in horribly failing public k-12 schools and a mediocre "party" undergraduate school full of students who either don't care enough to prepare or participate in class or struggle with very basic concepts, but I am REALLY looking forward to the competitiveness law school is known for. I realize that IF I am accepted to one of my T10 target schools, I will be surrounded by many very intelligent people for the first time in my life (I am not being conceited here, I simply couldn't afford to go to one of the best colleges I was accepted to and settled for the "safety" which offered me a full ride plus living expenses, only to be incredibly bored for four years). My question is this: how do you find the balance between doing your best and avoiding being a gunner? I don't want to be perceived that way, but I can't imagine not participating in class unless forced to. For me, it has nothing to do with trying to show off or one-up anybody, but everything to do with taking advantage of the enormous opportunities law school provides. From reading the boards here I've realized that people who ask questions (or even answer questions correctly) are villified as gunners, but isn't that the point - to increase and enrich your knowledge and understanding of the concepts? Or is it all about the attitude in answering?

Diet Yomajesty

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Re: soc. method advice
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2008, 07:00:38 AM »
In a class with 60+ students, the chance that most of them share your confusion on a particular matter is very small. I recommend (for whatever it's worth) that you save questions for email or office hours. YOUR confusion is of no concern to your classmates, and they aren't paying $40,000 a year for you to help yourself to all the class time in the world. And NO ONE is interested in your hypotheticals, so please refrain from sharing them with the class.

If you're called on, then of course answer to the best of your ability, if you care to. No one will be terribly impressed if you answer well, and deft handling of Socratic questioning does not make one a gunner. Now, if you answer a question correctly and say to your neighbor, "Do I intimidate you? Good, I was trying to" then you may be a gunner.

In my very limited experience, unsolicited participation in the big basic classes does not increase your knowledge of the material. But I reckon in small upperclass seminar classes, lively discussion would be more appropriate.

So I implore you, keep your hand down at all times. Answer when called on and save questions for office hours or study groups.
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jacy85

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Re: soc. method advice
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2008, 07:24:27 AM »
In a class with 60+ students, the chance that most of them share your confusion on a particular matter is very small. I recommend (for whatever it's worth) that you save questions for email or office hours. YOUR confusion is of no concern to your classmates, and they aren't paying $40,000 a year for you to help yourself to all the class time in the world. And NO ONE is interested in your hypotheticals, so please refrain from sharing them with the class.

If you're called on, then of course answer to the best of your ability, if you care to. No one will be terribly impressed if you answer well, and deft handling of Socratic questioning does not make one a gunner. Now, if you answer a question correctly and say to your neighbor, "Do I intimidate you? Good, I was trying to" then you may be a gunner.

In my very limited experience, unsolicited participation in the big basic classes does not increase your knowledge of the material. But I reckon in small upperclass seminar classes, lively discussion would be more appropriate.

So I implore you, keep your hand down at all times. Answer when called on and save questions for office hours or study groups.

I second all of this.  Before asking a question in class (which shouldn't be often), think critically about whether the question is basic enough to be answered quickly, is on task (i.e. not creating a diversion from what's on the syllabus for the day), and 150% about the material (any question that begins with something like, "well, in my experience" should get you shot).

Otherwise, save all questions for office hours.  Don't sweat how you perform in socratic method question; it's completely irrelevant to your grade, which is more important than anything else.

Bizarro Jerry

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Re: soc. method advice
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2008, 10:50:19 AM »
Do what you want to do.

Law school is full of varying attitudes, perspectives, and motivations... and this board is full of people who will make you think you're going to be hanged from the nearest tree on the law school lawn if you dare to speak up in class.

If you have a valid question or input that you'd like to toss out there, go for it ... your success and grades are in no way influenced by what your fellow students think of you.  If your reasonably-limited questions or dialogue will help you understand the material better - go for it.

christianlawyer09

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Re: soc. method advice
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2008, 11:12:17 AM »
femmelawren,
I can totally relate to your experience.  I too chose a scholarship at a low-ranking school for undergrad.  I was a National Merit Scholar and had options at a lot better schools, but my family did not have the means to pay for them.  I'm attending a T-20 for law school, and it's a completely different world.  But here's something I learned about myself that you might need to consider as well.

Like you, I was bored in undergrad.  My classmates were also either not interested in studying hard or were not capable of learning some of the class material.  However, many of my classmates in law school are Harvard and Yale grads.  They spent their undergrad years being motivated and sharpened by their peers.  Thus, I felt they had an edge on me during 1L year as I struggled to digest the sheer volume of info as carefully and as quickly as I could.  I'm a 3L now, and looking back, I can definitely tell how my thought processes and analytical skills have been enhanced by all these brilliant students. I wish I had had those skills in 1L, but I'm glad I've got them now.  So, to me, that's the biggest weakness of not attending an intellectually rigorous undergrad program - there's just no substitute for the synergy created by groups of great thinkers.

Having said that, it's not hopeless for you to ace 1L.  Just be aware that most of your classmates have had more intellectually rigorous educations and you will need to work very hard to train your mind to compete against them.  I agree with the above posters that gunning is irrelevant and I'll add that if you focus too much on prepping for or worrying about in-class discussion, you'll be missing out on the most important part - exam prep.  Learn the rules, and practice applying them to different hypothetical situations - and practice explaining this completely out on paper - and you'll ace exams. 

hmpalomino

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Re: soc. method advice
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2014, 12:44:12 PM »
A great way to prepare for the socratic method is using Quimbee.com. This online tool makes briefing cases easy and pulls out the important details that will be discussed in class.

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