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Type: Thesis
Title: Towards a New Law School Curriculum in Australia
Author: Krook, Joshua Atreyu
Issue Date: 2020
School/Discipline: Adelaide Law School
Abstract: Universities are increasingly adopting a neoliberal framework for education—one that is centred on employability, graduate outcomes and skills. Within this framework, teaching, assessments and subjects must adhere to the laws of the market; this prepares students for their roles in private or corporate firms and instils suitable kinds of skills for graduate employment. However, minimal attention is paid to the needs of students as holistic people, citizens, public advocates or members of their local communities, nor is attention paid to their contribution to democratic society. Specifically, subjects in the humanities and social sciences are designated as functionally useless, impractical and irrelevant. The neoliberal style of education has recently come to dominate Australian law schools. Presently, law schools focus heavily on skills, and they avoid deep training in the liberal arts or training students to think for themselves and critique the law they learn. Various academics have addressed this crisis in legal education. They have proposed, on the one hand, a return to a classical and liberal arts style of education in which law is conceptualised in its political, social and economic context. Conversely, they have also proposed a focus on critical theory and critical perspectives of law. The aim of this thesis is to investigate the adoption of a liberal arts approach to legal education through the research and proposal of a new law school curriculum in Australia. This includes proposing new teaching methods, assessments and subjects. This proposed broad liberal arts education in law aims to teach students to think for themselves and to develop their critical and analytical skills, sense of justice and injustice, their ability to comprehend and critique the law and their hard and soft transferable skills that are necessary for the broad range of jobs they will accept after graduation (beyond private and corporate practice). Specifically, this thesis aims to consider how and why law can be taught as part of a wider study of politics, history, civics, psychology and philosophy, and how it can consequently prepare students to become well-rounded citizens in their future jobs.
Advisor: Babie, Paul
Burdon, Peter
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, Law School, 2021
Keywords: Legal education
law schools
Australian law schools
liberal arts
vocational education
critical thinking
case method
socratic method
law reform tasks
reflective tasks
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