Reason Not to Ban Laptops - No Uniform Learning Style
Thanks to Professor Brill for sharing the following thoughts:
There is no one uniform learning style. I have one colleague, who in
the days well before computers, wrote every word in longhand in her
classes at Harvard. She is very bright and very anal and graduated summa cum laude. I had one classmate in my class who was able to write one or two sentences after class and was able to remember everything that took place in that class months later, and he got straight A's in law school.
To the teacher, a student who is busily copying everything without
thinking about what is going on would appear to be getting almost nothingfrom the class. But that student may be a self-learner, who will read the material now and later and review those notes and then things will make sense. After all, one of the most important skills we teach is the ability to EDUCATE ONESELF. When students are asked to write a memo or brief on issues in an area of law which they have not previously
studied in another class, they must read articles, encyclopediae,
treatises, cases, statutes, and other sources of law, and synthesize the
material and formulate applicable principles and analogize or distinguish fact situations and many other steps to predict results or formulatepersuasive arguments. They largely must do it on their own, as they will in practice. One cannot practice law by what one learned in law school classes. There always will be new issues, or unfamiliar law, or rules different in a particular jurisdiction than what they have studied in
So, some students learn very well from Socratic questioning; some learn
best by passive listening; some learn by writing ...through the pen or
keys into the brain....etc. etc.
When law faculty start banning laptops in class because students appear not to be paying full attention or taking part they are doing so
primarily because of their own egos. How can a student possibly not want to take part in my brilliant presentation of the material?
That isn't to say that the teacher should not discuss these things with
the students, and offer the students their views on the best ways of
learning, for the students to try, and to evaluate. But in the end,
each student must decide what is best for that student, for better or
Ralph Brill (Kent)