What can legal training organisations do to close performance gaps and realise the potential of their lecturers?
It feels not only lonely at the top
Legal lecturers feel somewhat left to their own devices by their superiors when it comes to professional development. Sure, they learn from delivering requested lectures. But too often there is little support provided for upgrading lecturing skills. This unnecessarily impedes good quality teaching.
Remedy: The teaching organisation acknowledges its responsibility for providing assistance to lecturers to further professionalize their lecturing skills.
Even cars get regular checkups
Managers of legal lecturers provide little internal professional development for their lecturers. And if they do, quality is poor and assessment is woeful. A Dutch study foundthat 93% of university top lecturers agreed that the university’s formal obligatory lecturing training program added little value. Commercial legal training institutes usually do not provide lecturing training at all.
Remedy: needed means for improvement are provided, assessed and adjusted where necessary.
Open the classroom to your collegues
In many legal training institutes lecturing is a “closed-door profession”. However, studies found that colleagues can learn so much from each other’s expertise.
Remedy: Managers arrange for lecturers visiting each other’s classes and encourage related discussion, feedback and mutual coaching.
Develop career paths for lecturers
1. There are beginners and there are old hands. Lecturing, alone among the professions, often asks the same of novices as of 20-year veterans. That is not realistic and leads to both overstressed and bored lecturers.
2. At law faculties the way to get ahead lies in producing research publications Within legal training institutes getting ahead means moving into management. Unfortunately, becoming a better lecturer does not provide a feasible career path … so why would lecturers bother to invest in improving their lecturing?
Remedy: Develop a separate and attractive career path for lecturers (already happens in Singapore and Australia).