Project to Enhance Georgian Legal Education
Drawing upon resources of the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning, Washburn Law and Free University of Tbilisi (FUT) agreed that Washburn Law will assist with efforts to enhance legal education in Georgia with particular emphasis on developing law teaching methodology. Along with members of the Washburn Law faculty and other experts in the field, several workshops have been planned for each year of the grant that may be generally categorized as a "Train-the-Trainer Curriculum". Georgian law teachers from throughout the country have participated in these programs. They have focused on articulation of learning goals, evaluation of entering student skills and knowledge, selection of course materials, development of course design, assessment, teaching law students to be self-regulated learners, and interactive teaching techniques.
In May 2013, professors Michael Schwartz (William H. Bowen School of Law), Megan Ballard (Gonzaga University), and Rory Bahadur (Washburn Law) worked in Georgia on final logistics for presentations by the Georgian professors. Professor Schwartz completed training some of the professors, and certificates of completion were awarded to the Georgian professors. The certificates were issued by the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning.
Also in May, the first “Teaching and Learning Conference for Georgian Legal Educators” occurred. Presentations included teaching methods that increase student engagement and a presentation on assessment, after which the Georgia professors who received certificates the previous day presented to the audience of Georgian law professors on teaching methods, active learning, and multimodal teaching. A presentation on teaching evaluation design was also held, and more of the Georgian certificate recipients made presentations to their peers. Professors Schwartz, Ballard, and Bahadur observed the Georgian teachers who presented and provided feedback on their presentations. At the conference's end, Professor Bahadur met with an appellate judge to talk about the preliminary structure for a comparative civil procedure class planned for co-teaching in July 2013.
The parties are making initial plans for development of a Georgian Teaching Institute, building upon the teaching methods work that has taken place in the last two years. In keeping with planning for sustainable, long-term contributions, the FUT faculty will take the lead in these developments.