WHAT IS THE PROBLEM METHOD?
AbstractWithin legal education there has recently been a significant development in terms of teaching methods and student educational experience. In this article the author examines the development of the teaching device referred to as the “problem method”, and evaluates its utility in the educational experience of the law student. First, through an examination of the essential elements of the device, the author illustrates why law teachers should have a particular interest in adopting the problem method. The author then discusses several reasons for the development of the problem method including theories of modern educators like Dewey, the desire to give the student more practical training, the need to correct some of the inherent defects of the case method, and the hope that a change of teaching device will maintain student interest beyond their first year. The author next describes the various ways in which the problem method has been employed in American law schools, and addresses the practical questions that are posed by its use. In conclusion the author compares the problem method with the casebook method. He suggests that a variety of teaching methods is desirable, and that the problem method deserves the thoughtful consideration of all Canadian law teachers.
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