The Education Working Group met early on Tuesday morning and enjoyed good attendance. The group that met was unofficially chaired by Victoria Szymczak of Brooklyn Law School. Attendees limited their discussion to three main topics. The first concerned opportunities available to teach foreign and international research skills. Second, attendees expressed a desire that lesson plans for such teaching be shared by AALL collegues on the FCIL web page. The third topic revolved around legal education in China. Each topic is discussed briefly below.
Topic 1: Only one attendee taught international and foreign law research in a formal, for-credit environment. Two attendees had experience teaching a session at the request of a professor or student organization. Most attendees had no experience teaching in these areas, but were very interested in hearing how others approached their teaching opportunities. Several librarians said they would feel more comfortable approaching their patrons to offer research sessions, if they could review other lesson plans that have worked for more experienced teachers. This line of thought led the group to address the second topic that occupied our agenda.
Topic 2: The second topic focused on the availability of lesson plans and syllabi from those in the organization who taught classes. The FCIL web page does link to syllabi, however, the links have been static. All who attended agreed that an attempt should be made to repopulate the links with additional lesson plans and syllabi. Victoria Szymczak agreed to contact the web master for FCIL to discuss this possibility. She also agreed to post a request for these materials on the FCIL discussion list.
Topic 3: The third topic of discussion at the meeting addressed the Chinese legal system. We were fortunate to have two visitors from Peking University. The group listened to our visitors as they instructed us in the role technology has, and has not played in legal education at their University. It was our visitors’ impression that the law students in China are extremely interested in using the Internet to learn about American laws and culture. They have access to equipment at their schools and internet cafes in order to review such information. Unfortunately, our guests informed us that the government of the People’s Republic of China is very restrictive and regulated access to the information that can be retrieved off of the Internet.
After meeting for one hour, the group disassembled.