Conclusion

As part of the Obligations teaching team, this author has been able to partake and involve students in this innovative form of research-led, student-centric teaching since its inception in the newly devised Obligations modules, which began in the academic year 2009-2010. With research-led teaching at the forefront of legal education, it is important that students are led by academics who have a passion not only for teaching, but for their own research interests. The introduction of socio-legal research into the law curriculum has been met with positive responses from both students and academic staff alike. By adopting the skills spiral, research can be fed into legal education whilst enhancing skills-based learning at every stage of the degree programme. Within Obligations, this approach has also been adopted to ensure that legal principles and themes are taught in a lively, creative manner whilst injecting the programme with direct input from a wide variety of researchers in an innovative, yet constructive, way. This has been achieved by engaging students with case law, by presenting them with cases as stories and then focusing in more detail upon case structure and legal principles within case classes, which provide an opportunity to locate the law within its socio-legal, political and economic context. Having been encouraged to research around studied case law, students then spiral those skills into their special studies where new legal research skills are gained and built upon.

By adopting socio-legal research and innovative teaching ideas and techniques into the tort law programme at Kent, legal education has been brought up to speed and with the twenty-first-century law student in mind. Through this type of pedagogy, KLS academics have had the unique opportunity of directly engaging students with aspects of their own fields of expertise whilst engaging them in an inventive and interactive way. For the student learning experience to be an effective one, scholarship and scholastic credibility must be demonstrated. No longer is it enough for educators simply to be good at teaching and managing students or to possess good organizational skills, 'the most significant professional qualification for the education of others may well be that teachers are educated people themselves' (Carr, 2009, p. 12).

 
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