Learning Curve

The Learning Curve

A Publication of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section of Academic Support

AASE

AASE Team

Director of Academic Success and Bar Programs

Developing Students’ Awareness of Their Comfort (and Terror) Zones

​Learning theory tells us that students learn best when they are challenged. In fact, if students encounter difficulties while learning—something as innocuous as straining to read text in a gray font or as complex as trying to remember a subject they’ve completely forgotten—they are more likely to learn the material. As professors, we want to …

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AASE

AASE Team

Director of Academic Success and Bar Programs

Combating the Epidemic of “I Did Everything I Was Supposed To Do”: Teaching Adaptive Learning in Academic Support to Promote First Time Bar Exam Success

After receiving failing bar exam results, I always hear students say “I don’t understand why I failed, I did everything my bar review course told me to do.” My response is always the same: “You probably did not do what worked best for you.” Commercial bar preparation courses are a one-size-fits-all approach to bar studying, …

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AASE

AASE Team

Director of Academic Success and Bar Programs

Why We Need a Better Bar Review

I recently had the opportunity to speak with someone who is developing a new commercial bar review company. That conversation prompted me to ask alums via social media what they would change about their bar review courses. I received some great responses including a desire for more visual aids, outlines with time stamps so students …

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AASE

AASE Team

Director of Academic Success and Bar Programs

The Zen of Overcoming Procrastination

Whether you are in law school or teaching law school, there are always roadblocks that can keep us from being as efficient as we want. More and more, I find myself in office hours “teaching” how to overcome procrastination. This article is not just for the procrastinators out there, but for everyone who wants to …

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AASE

AASE Team

Director of Academic Success and Bar Programs

The Science of Willpower and Exercising Power Over Your Will

​This community understands that the successful study of law requires the exercise of willpower—sometimes more than a student seemingly has. How can we help students harness their willpower and use it effectively? “Willpower” is actually a form of self-control, or self-regulation.1While “self-control” is typically used in the context of refraining from doing something (e.g., not …

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AASE

AASE Team

Director of Academic Success and Bar Programs

Teach Me What You’ve Learned: A Classroom Technique for Repeated Spaced Retrieval

Why is it so difficult for some students to absorb legal principles? Scientists have found that unless we have a framework of knowledge it is very difficult to consolidate novel information. Once we get a framework, then novel information can be quickly assimilated. ​ ​Consider for example a seasoned constitutional law professor versus the student …

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AASE

AASE Team

Director of Academic Success and Bar Programs

Helping Students: Lived Experience Provides Meaning For a World of Fiction

One day last summer, I gave my kid a hug. She looked at me and said, “You showered.” Then she threw a screaming fit. ​ What does this #toddlermomlife anecdote have to do with bar prep? There are several things, but today we care about how our lived experiences impact how we interpret the words …

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AASE

AASE Team

Director of Academic Success and Bar Programs

Choose Your Own Academic Adventure: The Impact of Autonomy in Academic Support

In the late 1970s, Edward Packard created a unique literary experience that allowed the reader to sit in the driver’s seat of the story, making choices about the main character’s actions to shape the plot’s outcome.  These wildly popular books, known as Choose Your Own Adventure, are lauded for capturing young readers’ attention by harnessing …

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AASE

AASE Team

Director of Academic Success and Bar Programs

Brick-by-Brick: Building Bar Success with a Comprehensive Academic Skills Program

The ubiquitous question on law school campuses today is: what does it take to help graduates succeed on the bar exam? The responses differ depending on who you ask, and many of those responses are more reflective of wishful thinking than long-term planning. Despite the wishes of many law school administrators there is no one-size-fits-all …

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AASE

AASE Team

Director of Academic Success and Bar Programs

What’s Gonna Work? Teamwork: The Hallmark of Good Academic Success Programs

For those of you with young children, you may recognize this title from the popular kid’s show Wonder Pets where, before embarking on an adventure to rescue a pet in trouble, the team chants the familiar song (“What’s gonna work? Teamwork!”) over and over.  But teamwork isn’t limited to Wonder Pets and Paw Patrol; it …

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AASE

AASE Team

Director of Academic Success and Bar Programs

Flipping the Bar Classroom

For the past few years, I have co-taught a pre-bar course for students in their final semester. The course covers some heavily tested doctrine, as well as the academic and test-taking skills needed to succeed on the essay, multiple-choice, and performance components of the bar exam.  In order to deliver the doctrinal material, we gave …

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AASE

AASE Team

Director of Academic Success and Bar Programs

Effective Teaching Strategies for 2L Remedial Courses

In the past twenty years, law school academic support programs (ASP) have transformed from relatively new phenomena to a standard department in law schools across the country. Traditionally, these departments existed to assist students who faced cultural or economic disadvantages, academic difficulty, and those needing accommodations. In recent years, with respect to the wave of …

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AASE

AASE Team

Director of Academic Success and Bar Programs

A New Fish in a Big Sea: Welcome to the World of “ASP”

My work in ASP began nearly three years ago; I am still a baby fish in the ASP sea. This article discusses some of my experiences as a new fish in the big ASP ocean, three lessons I’ve learned about navigating the murky waters so far, and some of the challenges along the way. Experience …

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