Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing
It was a snowy day during a semester break when Prof. Robin Boyle was discussing teaching law students and learning styles with Dr. Andrea Honigsfeld, who has performed numerous empirical studies and has published many books and articles on teaching to the learning style of children and adults. Also at the table was Susan Rundle, president of Performance Concepts International (PCI). PCI develops and administers the Building Excellence (BE) Survey, an online learning style assessment survey (described below). Prof. Boyle was aware during this conversation that professors who teach in other graduate programs are fascinated by law students. Dr. Honigsfeld asked a question of Prof. Boyle, much like one she’s been called upon to answer before: “What are law students like as students? Are they really different from students in other disciplines?”
It was at this point in the conversation that Dr. Honigsfeld suggested conducting an empirical study to compare the learning styles of law students with other young adults—do they have similar learning styles? Although the question was a simple one, little did the researchers realize on that cold New York day that the empirical study would involve data compilation from several schools around the country, as far south as sunny Florida. The results would evolve over the next couple of years.