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Artikel

Access_open The Development of Moral Reasoning in the Law Curriculum - An Exploration of Various Teaching Activities

Special issue on Education in (Professional) Legal Ethics, Emanuel van Dongen & Jet Tigchelaar (eds.)

Journal Law and Method, March 2022
Keywords moral reasoning, legal education, scholarship of teaching and learning, defining issues test
Authors Emanuel van Dongen and Steven Raaijmakers
AbstractAuthor's information

    Developing the capacity for moral judgment is an essential professional competence for lawyers. What teaching and learning activities in the law curriculum can be used in order to contribute to students’ moral reasoning and moral judgment? Four teaching methods were tried out in the period 2019 to 2021 at the Utrecht University School of Law: teaching methods that either work with (hypothetical) dilemmas (I); in-class reflection papers (II); experiential learning based on own experiences in a simulation situation (III); or clinical teaching in a real law firm (IV). The effects of these methods on the development of moral reasoning were measured using the Defining Issues Test (DIT). Additional information on the effectiveness and utility of the method was gathered using semi-structured interviews with teachers. The DIT results were compared at the beginning and at the end of the courses and related to the teaching methods. This article presents the outcomes of this study and formulates some recommendations for further research on the topic.


Emanuel van Dongen
Dr. Emanuel van Dongen is Associated Professor Private Law at the Molengraaff Institute for Private Law, researcher at the Utrecht Centre for Accountability and Liability Law and the Montaigne Centre for Rule of Law and Administration of Justice, Utrecht School of Law.

Steven Raaijmakers
Dr. Steven Raaijmakers is an educational consultant with Educational Consultancy & Professional Development, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Utrecht University.

    The theme of the special issue of Law and Method on Education in (Professional) Legal Ethics consists both of content-related as well as didactical-oriented contributions, of which most are written in the Dutch language and two are written in the English language. The content-related approaches show that in education in legal ethics use can be made of professional standards, constitutional principles as well as general ethical theories (such as utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics). Because lawyers work with ‘the law’, broader or narrower conceptions of law (in relation to morality) also affect legal reasoning and are therefore relevant to education in professional legal ethics. However, these approaches are also put into perspective: the leap forward from moral reasoning based on abstract core values and ethical principles to morally correct action in concrete moral dilemmas in legal practice is a large one. Several solutions are proposed: I. teach ethics indirectly, stressing the importance of facts and of professional role consciousness, and of the importance of formal and informal respect for all concerned, as an essential part of the professional lawyers’ role (Kaptein – written in English); II. use insights from social psychology to overcome barriers to actual ethical behaviour (Becker and Mackor); III. use dialogues about case studies that demonstrate different aspects of judicial ethics for judges (Brenninkmeijer&Bish – written in English) or IV. give (to future governmental lawyers) context-sensitive bottom-up moral dilemmas to enhance realism, alertness and role resistance against opposing forces (Van Lochem). A relevant theme in the didactical approaches to legal ethics is the absence or limited practical professional experience law students have, so that, for example, conversation techniques based on personal experience have limited value. At university level, this can be remedied to some extent by reinforcing one’s own experience, i.e. experiential learning, or by bringing the experiences of others into the classroom, for example with guest lecturers from the field, or by telling and discussing fictional or true stories (Van Dongen & Tigchelaar). Education at university gives a good starting point for (professional) legal ethics, followed by post-academic legal ethics education and legal practice as lifelong learning school. A contribution with a focus on the notary (Waaijer) highlights the different approaches within this continuum.


Emanuel van Dongen
Dr. Emanuel van Dongen is Assistant Professor Private Law at the Molengraaff Institute for Private Law, researcher at the Utrecht Centre for Accountability and Liability Law and the Montaigne Centre for Rule of Law and Administration of Justice, Utrecht School of Law.

Jet Tigchelaar
Dr. Jet Tigchelaar, Assistent Professor Legal Theory, researcher at Utrecht Centre for European Research into Family Law, Utrecht School of Law.
Artikel

Access_open Professionele ethiek in het academisch juridisch onderwijs - Enige inhoudelijke en didactische aanknopingspunten

Special issue on Education in (Professional) Legal Ethics, ­Emanuel van Dongen & Jet Tigchelaar (eds.)

Journal Law and Method, June 2021
Authors Emanuel van Dongen and Jet Tigchelaar
AbstractAuthor's information

    In deze bijdrage bespreken de auteurs inhoudelijke en didactische aanknopingspunten voor de integratie van professionele ethiek in de academische juridische opleiding. Dat gaat wat de auteurs betreft verder dan (enkel) het leren van gedragsregels, maar betreft ook de (kritisch-)ethische reflectie (op de professionele rol) van de jurist en ethische oordeelsvorming. Aanknopingspunten uit rechtstheoretische en onderwijskundige literatuur vragen om een curriculum brede, stapsgewijze, inbedding met passende toetsing. Dit onderwijs dient idealiter een combinatie te zijn van afzonderlijke meta-juridische vakken over recht en ethiek, positiefrechtelijke vakken die ethische elementen bevatten, klinische training en specifieke vakken over beroeps- of professionele ethiek. In dit artikel bespreken de auteurs diverse methoden die kunnen worden gebruikt om het onderwijs vorm te geven en illustreren dit met enkele voorbeelden uit het Utrechts universitair juridisch onderwijs. Actieve participatie, reflectie en – idealiter – eigen ervaringen zijn daarbij van groot belang. Een aantal modellen uit niet-juridische disciplines kan behulpzaam zijn bij het bieden van structuur voor ethische reflectie, voor zover het morele sensitiviteit en morele oordeelsvorming stimuleert. Verscheidene toetsingselementen op het terrein van de ethiek zijn door het curriculum heen nodig. Leeractiviteiten en toetsing kunnen worden opgebouwd in het curriculum van kennis en begrip, naar competenties ten aanzien van ethische dilemma’s en moreel oordelen.


Emanuel van Dongen
Dr. Emanuel van Dongen is Assistant Professor Private Law at the Molengraaff Institute for Private Law, researcher at the Utrecht Centre for Accountability and Liability Law and the Montaigne Centre for Rule of Law and Administration of Justice, Utrecht School of Law.

Jet Tigchelaar
Dr. Jet Tigchelaar is Assistent Professor Legal Theory at the Institute for Jurisprudence, Constitutional and Administrative Law, researcher at the Utrecht Centre for European Research into Family Law, Utrecht School of Law.
Artikel

Access_open Blended Learning in Legal Education

Using Scalable Learning to Improve Student Learning

Journal Law and Method, May 2020
Keywords legal education, blended learning, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, student learning
Authors Mr.dr. Emanuel van Dongen and Dr. Femke Kirschner
AbstractAuthor's information

    Education should be aimed at supporting student learning. ICT may support student learning. It also may help students to learn and increase their involvement and thus their efforts. Blended learning has the potential to improve study behaviour of students, thus becoming an indispensable part of their education. It may improve their preparation level, and as a result, face-to-face education will be more efficient and more profound (e.g. by offering more challenging tasks), lifting the learning process to a higher level. Moreover, the interaction between students and teachers may be improved by using ICT. A necessary condition to lift students’ learning to a higher (better: deeper) learning level is that all students acquire basic knowledge before they engage in face-to-face teaching. In a First-Year Course Introduction to Private Law, we recently introduced a Scalable Learning environment. This environment allows the acquiring and testing of factual knowledge at individual pace, in a modern and appealing way (independent of time and place). The link between offline and online education during face-to-face teaching is made by using Learning Analytics, provided by the Scalable Learning environment. After the implementation of Scalable Learning, a survey on its effect on learning has been performed by means of questionnaires. The results were compared at the beginning and at the end of the course, related to the approaches taken by teachers as well as to the exam results. This article presents the outcomes of this study.


Mr.dr. Emanuel van Dongen
Mr.dr. Emanuel van Dongen, Department of Law, Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance, Utrecht University.

Dr. Femke Kirschner
Dr. Femke Kirschner works as Educational Consultant at the Educational Development and Training, Utrecht University.
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