Effective Teaching Techniques About Other Cultures and Legal Systems
May 30, 2008
The International Association of Law Schools Programme on “Effective Techniques for Teaching about Other Cultures and Legal Systems”, was planned by an international group of legal educators: Noor Aziah Haji Mohd Awal, Universiti Kebangsaan, Malaysia; Norman Dorsen, New York University School of Law, United States; V.S. Elizabeth, National Law School of India University, India; Chuma Himonga, Faculty of Law, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Carl C. Monk, IALS President, United States; Flávia Piovesan, Catholic University of Sao Paulo, Faculty of Law, Brazil; and Francis SL Wang, Kenneth Wang School of Law , China.
This programme follows on the IALS conference in China in 2007, “Learning from Each Other: Enriching the Law School Curriculum in an Interrelated World”. That conference was ‘premised on the belief that ordinary legal problems admit of many solutions, which may be equally functional and, in context, culturally appropriate’.
The idea of the educational programme is to begin a processing of learning from each other on teaching about other cultures and legal systems, with difference as the intended recurring theme for our deliberations. The critical questions of this theme are: In teaching about other legal systems, is it worth considering whether there are different elements depending on whether the teaching consists of lectures, seminars and or clinical teaching? Should there be differences in teaching techniques (large or small) depending on the subject of a course, for example, administrative law, corporations, trusts and estates, taxation, human rights? Might differences in teaching about other legal systems vary depending on the degree of difference between the legal systems? Might , for example, a law teacher teaching about the New Zealand system (which is common law) follow a different path than in teaching about Germany or France systems (which are civil law)? And how would systems that are neither civil nor common law, for example, Islamic and indigenous African systems fare under this lens? Could it be that there is, in fact, no substantial difference in how one teaches about other systems, whatever their nature? Where or how does culture fit in? And are there teaching techniques or approaches that will be applicable to all cross system teaching or only in certain types of cross system teaching?
Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the International Association of Law Schools, I invite you to engage in these questions and welcome you warmly to this one day educational programme.
~Chuma Himonga, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Chair, Planning Committee for the International Association of Law Schools Educational Program on “Effective Techniques for Teaching about Other Cultures and Legal Systems”
Planning Committee Members:
Noor Aziah Haji Mohd Awal , National University of Malaysia, Malaysia
Norman Dorsen, New York University School of Law, USA
Vincenzo Ferrari, University of Milan, Italy
Chuma C. Himonga, University of Cape Town Faculty of Law, South Africa
Carl C. Monk, IALS President, USA
Flávia Piovesan, Catholic University of Sao Paulo Faculty of Law, Brazil
V.S. Elizabeth, National Law School of India University, India
Francis SL Wang, Kenneth Wang School of Law Soochow University, China
LexisNexis has provided a grant to support global participation in this Conference