The Canadian Association of Law Teachers is holding two online fora (in “roundtable” format) on law teaching and learning in the COVID context.
The COVID pandemic of 2020 has compelled law faculties to move to online teaching and prompted other major changes, such as modified evaluation schemes. What lessons can law teachers draw from these unprecedented shifts? What further needs are arising, and how should we be trying to meet those needs? What is likely to be the lasting impact? While we lament the circumstances, have we gained any valuable insights or perhaps discovered new approaches that are worth preserving?
The English version will take place on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 from 1PM to 3PM EDST.
The Canadian Association of Law Teachers regrets to announce that it has decided to cancel its conference, previously scheduled for June 1 to 3, 2020 at Western University. We have also decided that we will not participate in the proposed online version of the Congress 2020 meeting. For a variety of reasons, including solidarity with the position of the Black Canadian Studies Association, we do not think it is in the interests of CALT to proceed with an online version.
For more information, please visit the conference page.
The current COVID-19 (coronavirus) epidemic has evidently made plans for CALT’s annual conference, scheduled for June 1 to 3, 2020 at Western University, highly uncertain. At the moment, no decision has been made with regard to the cancellation or rescheduling of the conference. We are closely monitoring the situation, in cooperation with the Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences, and we hope to have more details soon. (See the latest updates on Congress’s response to the outbreak.)
For any questions relating to the conference, please write to email@example.com.
CALT calls for nominations for its three annual awards (deadline January 21, 2020):
- CALT Prize for Academic Excellence: honouring exceptional contributions to research and law teaching by a mid-career law professor at a Canadian university.
- CALT Scholarly Paper Award: for a scholarly paper that makes a substantial contribution to the legal literature, by a law professor in his or her first seven years of an academic appointment at a Canadian university.
- CALT Award for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: for a paper by a law professor at a Canadian university investigating questions related to teaching and learning.
For full details, please visit the awards page.
Call for Proposals
Canadian Association of Law Teachers Conference
1-3 June, 2020
We are pleased to release this Call for Proposals for the 2020 annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Teachers, which is being held as part of the 2020 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences and includes an overlap day with the conference of the Canadian Law and Society Association. The program for the overlap day will be co-ordinated to encourage integrated participation.
For more information, please view the Call for Proposals page.
CALT Statement in Support of the Black Canadian Studies Association (BCSA) and Against Racial Profiling and All Forms of Anti-Black Racism
We, the Canadian Association of Law Teachers (CALT), express our full support for the Black Canadian Studies Association (BCSA) statement, issued on June 4, denouncing an incident of racial profiling and anti-Black racism against a Black graduate student member of BCSA during Congress 2019 at UBC.
As an association with many members engaged in equality and anti-discrimination research, education and advocacy on a daily basis, we condemn all forms of racial profiling, anti-Black racism and discrimination. We are deeply concerned about the apparent failure of Congress/Federation of Social Sciences and Humanities (FSSH) to appropriately respond to this incident. We should note that we are aware of numerous other incidents in which Black people and other racialized people are assumed not to belong in academic spaces, and are accused of theft. Despite the unfortunate regularity of such occurrences, this is an issue of extreme importance that calls for urgent action. We support the demands set out in the BCSA statement, which we reproduce below. We urge the FSSH to immediately address the BCSA demands and to give the highest priority to implementing measures to support and promote racial equality and inclusion at Congress that engages academic attendees, Congress staff and local partners, vendors and service providers.
- The Federation immediately issue a public response acknowledging this incident, asserting zero tolerance for racial profiling and all forms of anti-Black racism, and a commitment to work with the BCSA to ensure that Congress is a welcoming space and experience for our members;
- Ensure delivery to the two accusers involved, a letter that will be prepared by the BCSA in response to this incident;
- The mention of anti-Black racism be added to the theme of Congress 2020: Bridging Divides (for example, Bridging Divides and Confronting Anti-Black Racism);
- If the BCSA remains a member association of the Federation, the waiving of the association’s fees for Congress 2020.
We are pleased to release the Call for Proposals for the 2019 CALT conference, to be held as part of the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities at UBC, 5-7 June, 2019. DON'T WAIT ... Deadline for proposals is Tuesday 20 November
We are pleased to announce that the 2017 Conference of the Canadian Association of Law Teachers will be held at the University of Victoria from June 8-10, 2017, with the Association for Canadian Clinical Legal Education (ACCLE). We are currently planning the agenda and will post the program as it evolves. We hope to see you in June.
Sara Ross is entering the third year of her PhD at Osgoode Hall Law School, where she has served as an Instructor for the Legal Process class over the past two years. She is also a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, holding an LLB and BCL from McGill, as well as an LLM from the University of Ottawa, and is the Graduate Student Representative for the Canadian Association of Law Teachers Board of Directors.
This post was derived from an inter-faculty workshop given at the York University Teaching and Learning Conference: “Teaching In Focus”, on May 20, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario.
A frequent complaint heard among law students after graduating from law school is that they have been inundated with information, without feeling that they have been taught the actual skills they need to be a lawyer. In my own classroom this year I have focused on using language that links everything I teach to how the student will use it in a practical context, such as a law firm, the courtroom, and so on. Couching everything within this context allows students to not only build their understanding of legal concepts; it provides them with a way of better connecting this knowledge to a professional skill set. This is what I call the “So, what’s the point?” approach.
You might also frame this “So, what’s the point?” approach as “point-first learning” or “point-first teaching”. As lawyers and within the law school context, our distinct focus on writing, arguing, and, in general, presenting our legal arguments in a point-first manner—leading with the ultimate point that we wish to get across to, for example, a judge or a decision-making panel—is something that can take time to instill in new law students. To aid in this transition, it can be intuitive to teach law in this manner too, and helpful to carry this approach into how we structure a law student’s learning environment and classroom experience. This method of instruction can reinforce what point-first argumentation and writing looks like, but there are benefits beyond this.
Teaching through a “So, what’s the point?” approach also speaks to and draws on an experiential education focus. As law schools are seeking to transform many of their courses into experiential opportunities—legal clinics, and so on—the desire and need to respond to and incorporate the practical element of learning and education is apparent. Encapsulated within this is the need to develop the practical skills needed within the legal employment path a student will eventually choose. And thinking about the skills or concepts you’re teaching in a “So, what’s the point?” manner helps bring an experiential element into the classroom; highlighting the real-world application of what the student is learning.Read more