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02 August 2006

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Work From Home

Very nice article posted.....Evaluations reflect only the student's comfort level.

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Measuring the Relationship Between Teaching and Scholarship in Law Schools-very good and interesting topic to discuss.

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Frederick Hamilton

Mortimer Adler had it correct when he stated all learning takes place in the learners mind. Teaching may facilitate but it is nothing "makes a student learn". Great teaching is motivating interest in the learners mind. Also as Adler points out in "The Paideia Proposal: An Educational Manifesto" there must be three types of teaching to be effective: coaching, Socratic and didactic. Most schools (K-12, College, Law, Medical, et al) are all didactic teaching. As Adler states a "mind numbing" education. I would agree that great scholarship and great teaching although not mutually exclusive probably don't go together very often. Ergo the publish or perish mindset is also a mind numbing school.

Thomas E Plank

I think that my colleague Ben Barton has shown that there is no correlation between scholarship and teacher evaluations. Ben has mentioned that there is some research corrolating teaching quality and teaching evaluations, but as I understand it, that research does not include teacing in law school. Law school teaching has little to do with conveying information, unlike undergraduate education. My own view is that student evaluations of the effectiveness of law school teaching is totally worthless. Often, in my view, evaluations reflect only the student's comfort level.

Indeed, when my evaluations are high, I worry that I have failed my students. When my evaluations have been low, it is usually because I have not been "clear" or have not explained enough. Often, however, performance on the exams have been better when the evaluations have been lower.

[On the other hand, smaller classes lead to higher evaluations and better performance.]

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