Across the professions, models proliferate for training that integrates the technical and the practical and blends the solitary and the interactive work of practice. We investigate whether--and how--these models help resolve persistent challenges with students’ engagement, sense of self-efficacy, awareness of professional role, and receptivity to training in skills that many consider innate or resistant to instruction.
We hypothesize that integrated, collaborative training and self-reflective, qualitative critique help students learn better, enjoy better emotional health, and become more thoughtful about professional roles. We expect that these results can be explained as the effects integrated learning and qualitative critique have on students’ theories of mind, susceptibility to stereotype threat or boost, sense of engagement, and sense of efficacy.
We also hypothesize that integrated professional training and self-reflective, qualitative critique foster the engagement of women and other traditionally marginalized groups. We expect that this result can be explained in terms of students’ experience of stereotype threat and boost, and in terms of the effects integrated and self-reflective experiential learning have on students’ sense of curricular relevance and self-efficacy.
Finally, we hypothesize that student and faculty resistance to integrating technical and practical learning is related to students’ and teachers’ theories of mind, to stigmatization of the practical in the popular imagination, and to the mistaken belief that interactive and other practical skills are matters of tacit knowledge and therefore can not be taught.
These hypotheses are being tested in extended studies of students’ progress and adjustment in law schools and in other professional contexts, and in experimentation with integrative teaching models.
The lab is also beginning, in collaboration with the Algebra Project and the Young People's Project, to draw lessons from experiential training in math literacy.
For a recent report on this work, see:
Davis, P. and Webb, J. "Contemporary Issues in Outcomes-Based Legal Education: Learning from Dramatized Outcomes" (2012) 38(3) William Mitchell Law Review 1146-1161.
Davis, P., Coletu, E., London, B., and Yuan, W. "Making Law Students Healthy, Skillful, and Wise" (2011/12) 56(2) New York Law School Law Review 487-515.
Peggy Cooper Davis