Monday, March 7, 2011

How to ask a question at a faculty workshop

Adam Kolber (Brooklyn) makes several good points, which I hope readers who do not already observe them will take to heart.  I've been in law teaching for 18 years now, and I've seen some improvement during this time.  When I visited Yale Law School in 1998-99, one of the few faculty members who knew how to ask a question was Alan Schwartz; too many "questions" were really mini-lectures that concluded (as Jules Coleman memorably put it once) with the question, "Why aren't you more like me?"  Yale was extreme, but rather too typical of what passed for intellectual engagement at law school workshops.  In the intervening years, I've noticed more careful reading by workshop participants (though there are still people who ask questions despite having not done the reading), and more questions that are actually questions and that clearly identify an analytic or argumentative issue.

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