Learning Curve

The Learning Curve

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

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Wednesday Morning Live

Elizabeth Z. Stillman

Associate Professor of Academic Support
Suffolk University Law School

Originally Published in The Learning Curve, Winter/Spring 2021

Citation: Elizabeth Z. Stillman, Wednesday Morning Live, The Learning Curve (Winter/Spring 2021)

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players…” Shakespeare, William, As You Like it, Act II, Scene VII, Line 139 (1599). Teaching and learning remotely are difficult even in the best of times. When we do not share a physical space or get to see how we all move in …

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Keeping It Real: The Increasing Importance of Relating Law School Skills to the “Real Life” Practice of Law

Lindsey Spain

Assistant District Attorney SVU/Child
Durham County District Attorney’s Office, State of North Carolin

Originally Published in The Learning Curve, Winter/Spring 2019

Citation: Lindsey Spain, Keeping It Real: The Increasing Importance of Relating Law School Skills to the "Real Life" Practice of Law, The Learning Curve (Winter/Spring 2019)

I’m relatively new to the world of Academic Support. In 2016, I joined the wonderful team at North Carolina Central University School of Law as an Academic Success Specialist where I was able to bring my passion for education and the law to law students. One of the classes I teach is Critical Thinking, a …

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

Beth A. Brennan

Adjunct Professor
Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana

Originally Published in The Learning Curve, Winter/Spring 2020

Citation: Beth A. Brennan, Developing Students’ Awareness of Their Comfort (and Terror) Zones, The Learning Curve (Winter/Spring 2020)

​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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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

Brittany L. Raposa

Professor and Associate Director of Bar Support
Roger Williams University School of Law

Originally Published in The Learning Curve, Winter/Spring 2020

Citation: Brittany L. Raposa, 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, The Learning Curve (Winter/Spring 2020)

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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Why We Need a Better Bar Review

Allie Robbins

Associate Professor of Law
CUNY School of Law

Originally Published in The Learning Curve, Winter/Spring 2020

Citation: Allie Robbins, Why We Need a Better Bar Review, The Learning Curve (Winter/Spring 2020)

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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The Zen of Overcoming Procrastination

Chad Noreuil

Clinical Professor of Law
Arizona State University College of Law

Originally Published in The Learning Curve, Winter/Spring 2020

Citation: Chad Noreuil, The Zen of Overcoming Procrastination, The Learning Curve (Winter/Spring 2020)

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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The Science of Willpower and Exercising Power Over Your Will

Sarira A. Sadeghi

The Sam & Ash Director of Academic Achievement
Chapman University Fowler School of Law

Originally Published in The Learning Curve, Winter/Spring 2020

Citation: Sarira A. Sadeghi, The Science of Willpower and Exercising Power Over Your Will, The Learning Curve (Winter/Spring 2020)

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

Dennis P. Saccuzzo

Professor Emeritus in Psychology
San Diego State University

Nancy E. Johnson

Ph.D., J.D.
San Diego, CA

Originally Published in The Learning Curve, Winter/Spring 2020

Citation: Nancy E. Johnson and Dennis P. Saccuzzo, Teach Me What You’ve Learned: A Classroom Technique for Repeated Spaced Retrieval, The Learning Curve (Winter/Spring 2020)

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

Chelsea M. Baldwin

Director of Academic Support Programs
Texas Tech University School of Law

Originally Published in The Learning Curve, Winter/Spring 2020

Citation: Chelsea M. Baldwin, Helping Students: Lived Experience Provides Meaning For a World of Fiction, The Learning Curve (Winter/Spring 2020)

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

Halle Butler Hara

Professor and Director of Academic Success
Capital University Law School

Originally Published in The Learning Curve, Winter/Spring 2019

Citation: Halle Butler Hara, Choose Your Own Academic Adventure: The Impact of Autonomy in Academic Support, The Learning Curve (Winter/Spring 2019)

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

Rebecca Flanagan

Assistant Professor of Law and Director of Teaching and Learning Methods
UMass Law School

Originally Published in The Learning Curve, Winter/Spring 2019

Citation: Rebecca Flanagan, Brick-by-Brick: Building Bar Success with a Comprehensive Academic Skills Program, The Learning Curve (Winter/Spring 2019)

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

Melissa Marlow

Clinical Professor of Law
Southern Illinois University School of Law

Originally Published in The Learning Curve, Winter/Spring 2019

Citation: Melissa Marlow, What’s Gonna Work? Teamwork: The Hallmark of Good Academic Success Programs, The Learning Curve (Winter/Spring 2019)

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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Flipping the Bar Classroom

Allie Robbins

Associate Professor of Law
CUNY School of Law

Originally Published in The Learning Curve, Winter/Spring 2019

Citation: Allie Robbins, Flipping the Bar Classroom, The Learning Curve (Winter/Spring 2019)

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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Effective Teaching Strategies for 2L Remedial Courses

Azin Abedian

Professor, Academic and Bar Exam Success Program
Santa Clara University School of Law

Originally Published in The Learning Curve, Winter/Spring 2019

Citation: Azin Abedian, Effective Teaching Strategies for 2L Remedial Courses, The Learning Curve (Winter/Spring 2019)

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

Amy Vaughan-Thomas

Director of Academic Support
University of Massachusetts School of Law

Originally Published in The Learning Curve, Winter/Spring 2019

Citation: Amy Vaughan-Thomas, A New Fish in a Big Sea: Welcome to the World of “ASP”, The Learning Curve (Winter/Spring 2019)

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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The Learning Curve, Winter/Spring 2019

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The Learning Curve, Winter/Spring 2020

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The Learning Curve, Winter/Spring 2021

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