Publication details

Teaching large groups of law students: shifting the responsibility



Year of publication 2023
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Language Centre

Description Teaching large groups of students brings many challenges, legal English classes are no exception. The most common issues include difficulties in catering to individual student´s needs and in finding ways of effectively organizing classroom activities as well as evaluating students. The teacher may struggle to provide equal opportunities for all students to practice and participate in class and, at the same time, ensure sufficient attention and feedback for individual learners. A certain percentage of students can be rather passive hiding in the anonymity of a big group. The teacher can thus easily feel that they lose control over the learning taking place in the classroom, and some may even feel discomfort from physical constraints if they are not able to move between students and seem to lose contact with them. Even though we can name several drawbacks connected to large groups, there are also advantages and opportunities, for example, increased energy coming from the classroom, a lot of space for creativity and cooperation, and a considerable resource of opinions, ideas, and perspectives. This presentation shares examples of effective practices in legal English classes with 30-40 Erasmus students, including heterogeneous levels of English and nationalities. The focus will be on effective group work with clearly defined objectives and varying degrees of team and individual responsibilities and autonomy. Examples will primarily involve oral interaction and production, sometimes combined with written outputs. The presentation will also include the teacher's perspective and experience comparing the benefits and drawbacks of teaching large versus small groups. While teaching legal English to large groups presents challenges, effective practices can help overcome these challenges and create a dynamic and engaging learning environment. Through examples of good practice and the teacher's perspective, this presentation aims to inspire instructors to experiment with a variety of approaches and techniques in their own classrooms.

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