China's Law Teaching Methods Reform

By Xiujuan, Zhou; Han, Wang | Cross - Cultural Communication, November 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

China's Law Teaching Methods Reform


Xiujuan, Zhou, Han, Wang, Cross - Cultural Communication


Abstract

During teaching reform, the matter of utmost importance is interaction between teachers and students. This article focuses on applying Interactivity Principles to teaching methods, in order to achieve an inspirational, participatory and democratic classroom.

Key words: Law; Teaching methods; Moot court; Discussion; Multimedia

1. A REVIEW OF CURRENT RESEARCH ON DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL LAW TEACHING METHODS

On an international scale, law education is usually considered a "general education", also known as "Liberal arts education" and "education of essential qualities". According to experience of developed countries, college law education is the foundation of law education. Law teaching is the basic approach to realizing law educations ideas, purposes, functions and values. Law education is bom with inherent duality, i.e., a dualistic opposition between professional training and academic research, which has resulted in the formation of different law education theories, purposes, modes, contents and methods. Law teaching method is one of the basic elements of law education process. It refers to all intermediary bodies of objective existence, which are used by law education body to reflect law teaching contents in order to realize law education purposes.

In recent years, there have been apparent innovations in law teaching methods. The use of bilingual teaching, case study and multimedia teaching methods has demanded higher level of professionalism from teachers. Not only should a teacher possess desire, passion and awareness for innovation, he should also be able to master new knowledge structure and modem creative teaching measures.

However, if we look at the current situation of Chinese law teaching, flaws still persist in terms of teaching methods: They are monotonous, dominated by didactic teaching and indoctrination; The implementation of some new teaching methods is name only; teachers lack rethinking, research and discussion in teaching methods, etc. In order to accomplish the ideal of "education of essential qualities", the reform of legal theory teaching methods must implement the guiding ideology of ideas, knowledge and practice, i.e., Teaching methods should be able to effectively stimulate the formation of students' scientific world outlook, life outlook and legal views. We shall focus on the ideas contained in teaching methods, truly incorporate the training of thinking into teaching process, so that the implementation of legal ideas is reflected on the use of legal principles, and we achieve the goal of teaching methods serving teaching purpose.

2. PROBLEMS IN TRADITIONAL CHINESE LAW TEACHING METHODS

2.1 Purpose of Law Teaching Methods Is Not Clear

Before 2011, there was no clear positioning for the goals of law education. There have been longstanding confusions regarding whether to train legal researchers or practicing professionals, and whether law education should be a general or professional education. The disagreements have led to varying degrees of blindness in the trainings of undergraduate and graduate students. On the other hand, since undergraduate law students enrollment was restarted when China's National College Entrance Examination reopened in 1977, Chinese law education has a history of more than 30 years, developing from 223 students in the first year to 290,000 students nowadays. The achievements are remarkable, however, a systematic law teaching theory has not been formed yet during a long period. Thus, we become inevitably acclimatized in the process of learning from other countries' educational methods. In the execution of case study teaching, we simply imitate without considering whether or not teaching methods and contents match; we ignore the differences between China's legal system and Common Law system; we also do not consider the differences between teaching methods of law professionals and general law education talents. Law schools do not have a clear understanding of case study teaching goals, and do not tell students the goals to achieve by using case study teaching. …

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