Day 1 – Legal English Workshop: ‘Share and Gain’ Workshops, 2018
Suprasl, Poland (6th-7th September 2018)
On 5th-7th September 2018 I attended the 3rd International ‘Share and Gain’ Workshop in Suprasl, Poland, organised by Dr Izabela Kraśnicka, Dr Magdalena Perkowska, Dr Halina Sierocka, Mgr Maria Cudowska from Bialystok Legal English Centre, University of Bialystok. This more practical workshop takes place once every other year on an even year (e.g. 2014, 2016, 2018) with more theoretical conferences happening on the odd years.
This was my first time in Poland, and it was well worth the trip. Participants all stayed at the stunning Five Oaks Hotel Suprasl, where the workshops took place, meaning that we had plenty of time to socialise, not just in the workshop sessions, but also at meal times and on our trip to the local museum of icons. For the workshops, the whole group was split into two smaller, separate groups of 11-12. This was really effective and meant that we learnt a lot. Day 1 is detailed below and day 2 is here.
HOW TO MOTIVATE STUDENTS IN A LEGAL ENGLISH CLASSROOM – A COMMUNICATIVE APPROACH TO THE TEACHING OF LEGAL ENGLISH
Izabela Bakota (Jagiellonian Language Centre, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland)
Izabela is dedicated to using the communicative method in her Legal English classes, and after this session it’s clear why – the communicative method can make learning Legal English fun and effective. In this session Izabela presented us with some practical exercises we can use as Legal English teachers in the classroom and we even got to try them out which was quite fun! Here are just a couple of the exercises we did.
- Teacher splits the class into pairs (Person A and Person B)
- Person A faces the TV, Person B faces away
- Teacher plays an extract from a crime video without any sound
- Person A explains what is happening to Person B
- Switch roles and repeat
Call my bluff
- Teacher splits class into groups of three
- Teacher hands out 1 piece of paper to each group which contains a Legal English word/phrase and a definition (different word/phrase for each group)
- Each group of three works to come up with two other alternative definitions
- Each person from a group reads out their own definition of their word and the class must guess which is the true definition
- Repeat step 4 with each group
PERSUASIVENESS BASED ON INFALLIBLE CLARITY AND LOGICALLY SEQUENCED ARGUMENTATION
Nadežda Stojković (University of Niš, Serbia)
Nadežda is an Associate Professor specialising in teaching English for academic purposes. In this session we tried out some exercises which we can do in our own classes, aimed at preparing students to form successful arguments in spoken and written work. Of course the ability to argue and persuade is an essential skill for all lawyers although sometimes overlooked by university courses.
The exercises we did in this session could be adapted to fit specific scenarios that lawyers encounter, for example being used in a role play scenario with a lawyer advising a client which course of action out of two possibilities is the best one.
An example exercise is as follows:
Exercise in developing rhetoric
- Teacher explains the elements of rhetoric: claim; supporting claim; counterclaim & rebuttal; concluding claim;
- Students work in small groups to read a text and identify each element;
- Class discuss the text;
- Class comes up with a contentious topic;
- Students work in small groups to write a few sentences for each element.
WRESTLING WITH TRICKY QUESTIONS IN LANGUAGE TESTS
Radmila Doupovcová (Masaryk University Language Centre, Czech Republic)
The next speaker was Radmila Doupovcová, a lecturer and Legal English teacher from Masaryk University in the Czech Republic. Radmila explained that her university runs a course called English for Lawyers which culminates in a 90-minute exam with both written and speaking elements. She shared with us her experience of developing the exam and the difficulties involved in exam material preparation. We did a range of exercises dealing with multiple choice, gap-fill and translations. For example, we individually answered a few exam questions and then discussed these as a class. Some tips for designing multiple choice questions which came out of this session were:
- Keep the multiple-choice option sentences more or less the same length, as if one option stands out this is normally identified as the correct answer
- Don’t use phrases such as ‘always’ and ‘never’ in answers as these options are easily identifiable as incorrect
- Don’t use ‘all of the above’ or ‘none of the above’ as this confuses students
- Keep multiple choice options as short as possible – add words to the stem if necessary.
PRESENTATION ON THE EUROPEAN JUDICIAL TRAINING NETWORK (EJTN)
Carmen Domuta (EJTN)
Carmen, Head of Programmes Unit, from the EJTN presented the excellent work this organisation does which helps thousands of legal professionals across Europe each year. She gave the context and history of the organisation and mentioned the types of training courses they run. The methodology that the EJTN uses in its training courses is as follows:
- Sessions are always led by 1 lawyer and 1 linguist
- Theoretical element – A legal topic is introduced and taught
- Practical element – Students do language exercises to reinforce learning
- At the end of the course students present a case using the language learnt in the course.
Carmen referred to a number of online resources available on the EJTN’s website and played us a short promo video.
CLIL COURSES FOR LAW-STUDENTS
Elena Vyushkina (Saratov State Law Academy, Russia)
The final session on day 1 was led by Elena Vyushkina, an Associate Professor at Saratov State Law Academy. In this session Elena explained how she teaches mediation CLIL courses to prepare students for activities such as the INADR International Law School Mediation Tournament. She explained the course structure she uses and as a class did some fun practical activities. For example:
A twist on a normal introduction
- Go around the class getting students to introduce themselves as though they are conducting a client interview using phrases such as: Hello, my name is [insert full name], I am a [insert profession] and please call me/ address me as [insert shorter name]. Students are permitted artistic license and can make up scenarios such as being a lawyer in a global law firm etc.
- Teacher shows example negative sentences said by a party in a mediation session
- In pairs students discuss how these can be reframed to a neutral sentence using phrases such as: “He doesn’t listen to me” becomes “So, what you are saying is that you would like to be heard.”
Mediation role play exercise
- The class is split into groups of 4; 2 people in each group are assigned as mediators, 2 as the parties
- Teacher gives context situation to all four in the group and a character text to each party
- In groups students role play a mediation session.
Elena referred us to some helpful resources, for example the Mediation Study Guide provided by The International Trademark Association (INTA).
Day 1 was intense – lots to learn, lots of people to meet and it was rounded off by a fun social session in the evening, with more delicious Polish food – a BBQ, and sampling some homemade Polish beverages. Read about day 2 here.