The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute
We all have had those moments when students’ papers do not reflect an important lesson covered in class. For instance, if teaching persuasive writing, you have likely instructed your students to use a full sentence for their point headings in their briefs, only to find phrases where sentences should have been used. Consequently, you find yourself making the same written comments on papers or verbal comments in conferences with students, beginning with, “As I had instructed in class…” In his groundbreaking book, Experiential Learning, researcher and theorist David Kolb introduced the concept of “deep learning,” which can remedy this problem. To help students master fundamental skills, professors can incorporate in their classes deep learning methods, allowing time for professors to focus on more nuanced substantive material. Consider incorporating one time-efficient, yet impactful, deep learning method by providing a short quiz at the start or end of class. Quizzes can be designed as low stakes, meaning they do not affect a student’s grade in the course, or if they count at all, their impact is insignificant. These exercises can “strengthen . . . memory and deepen . . . learning.” While the quizzes may take up a few minutes in each class, in the long-run, they will save you time from making the same repeated comments on multiple papers or student conferences. Your patience will remain intact.