Day 2 – Legal English Workshop: ‘Share and Gain’ Workshops, 2018
Suprasl, Poland (6th-7th September 2018)
After an intense day of workshops and socialising on the 6th, day 2 kicked off with a lovely breakfast and then straight on to workshop sessions. Day 2 is detailed below and day 1 is here.
(DON’T) BOTHER ME WITH IDIOMS
Agnieszka Pawlikowska (Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland)
Day 2 started with a fun-filled session led by Agnieszka Pawlikowska, a senior lecturer of English for Legal Purposes at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland.
Agnieszka explained that whilst preparing students for TOLES, her students really wanted to learn about legal idioms, and yet there were a number of problems involved in teaching idioms:
- they aren’t used so much in reality
- they are complicated and difficult to learn and use
- the marks gained from idioms in TOLES make up a small percentage of the total.
Therefore, Agnieszka was faced with a dilemma – how to teach idioms, but in a way which didn’t waste time so that she could spend more time on more relevant topics such as understanding contracts.
Agnieszka shared a range of resources she uses to make learning idioms fun and effective, for example:
As a class we tested out these resources on our phones and computers and I must say that trying Kahoot was extremely fun. Despite most of us having had a lively social event the previous evening, we were all very much woken up by this session first thing and it certainly brought out the competitive side of all workshop participants! I look forward to a rematch next time, as I didn’t win!
SPARE YOURSELF! ON ZERO (OR MINIMUM) PREP ACTIVITIES FOR LEGAL ENGLISH CLASSES
Aleksandra Łuczak (Kozminski University, Warsaw, Poland)
The next session was by Aleksandra Łuczak who runs a number of Legal English courses as an ESP teacher and the Head of Legalinguistics Section at her University. She runs a really helpful blog as well as Pustulka a platform which allows teachers to use and create tests for students- no coding knowledge required! Aleksandra gave us a handout with an extensive list of resources and exercises we can use in our own classes, which she had tested so that we as Legal English teachers, could reduce the amount of time we spent preparing for classes.
Some of my favourite activities were:
- Teacher finds multiple choice quiz on internet
- Teacher places ‘A’ ‘B’ ‘C’ ‘D’ post it notes around class room
- Teacher reads questions and students must run to the post-it note they think is correct
- Students discuss the answers in their groups
- Teacher shares an editable google doc with students, the doc contains a piece of text e.g. a contract clause, a formal letter etc, which the students must paraphrase
- Students must paste in their model answers paraphrasing the text
- Students discuss in class the strong and weak points of each answer
I WRITE FURTHER IN THIS MATTER: WRITING SKILLS PRACTICE FOR FUTURE LAWYERS
Stepanka Bilova (Masaryk University Language Centre, Czech Republic)
The last speaker we had was Stepanka Bilova, a colleague of Radmila who spoke on day 1, from Masaryk University Language Centre, Czech Republic. As Radmila had explained how their university develops its exams, Stepanka spoke about how they teach the Legal Writing aspect which is then tested in these exams.
As a class we did a number of activities which stimulated thought around how to teach Legal Writing, as well as giving us some practical examples of exercises we could use with our own students. For example, Stepanka gave us all a handout and in small groups we discussed a number of questions such as:
- Which writing skills do law students need: emails, memos, contracts
- How to make the tasks enjoyable and motivating: Use funny scenarios, authentic material
- We then swapped groups and discussed with the new group
- We discussed as a class
Next Stepanka talked us through a case study which her students do over a number of classes and which ends in the students writing an email of advice. In brief the case study exercise is this:
- Students get a summary of the problem scenario
- Students work in groups to answer questions about the case such as ‘was there a duty of care’?
- Students get an extract opener from a lawyer to the client and are asked to complete it using useful phrases given and the work they have previously completed.
As I mentioned in the write up for day 1, this was a fantastic experience. I got to try out some exercises which I can use in my own Legal English classes and on top of this it was helpful to see the different teaching techniques used by the workshop presenters as they explained the exercises to us. On top of this I made some great connections with other Legal English professionals and got to sample the delicious Polish cuisine – all in the beautiful location of the resort we stayed in. I came away feeling greatly inspired!