Well, I like teaching difficult courses, such as legal English. I have been teaching legal English for almost three years and I have been successful in such a demading course. Anyhow, I am blogging based on a friend’s advice to reflect on what went wrong in one of my legal classes. I had a session about Tort Law and I divided the session into explanatory session and then what I call it “open the book class”. I explain the difficult terms and then we do the exercises from the book. Last session for me as a teacher was a disasterous session. I had a text about Tort Law full of difficult terms and I have to explain them. So, I was pointing at the word and explain it by writing it on the board or orally. The students were silent and one can feel that they cauldn’t understand anything. Then, we went on a break and came back trying to answer the questions on the passage. It was OK…
However, what was really devastating when we tried to answer a case brief about a famous case and we had some questions. Then, the class started to collapus. People went into debate about what’s in the case, the difference between the Egyptian and the American laws in this case. And I started to ask them what’s wrong? Or what is the difficulty in the passage, some of them said they were not concentrating or they can’t understand…
I have taught the first level in legal English more than bezilion times, but this is the first time I have difficulty at this level.
The demographics of the Class:
Lawyers, students, fresh graduates, English department graduates. The language level of students in the course is varied.
What went wrong:
1- I believe the amount of words given
2- Difficult terms in the case brief
ًًًًWhat I can remediate is that I will give them slips of paper to match the difficult words with their definitions. I will not go into explaining the meaning of words one more time.
This is the text that I taught last time
The most difficult aspect in teaching legal English to Egyptian lawyers is when explaining the the English legal concepts, Egyptian lawyers try to find equivalant to the Arabic words they know and the Egyptian law concepts they studied. As a person who do not have the legal background I struggle in this. So, any advice would help…