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Smart casual: Towards excellence in sessional teaching in law

Heath, M., Hewitt, A., Galloway, K., Israel, M.ORCID: 0000-0002-1263-8699, Nettle, C., Skead, N. and Steel, A. (2018) Smart casual: Towards excellence in sessional teaching in law. Australian Government. Dept. of Education and Training

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The Smart Casual project was designed to create and disseminate resources to address a demonstrated national need for discipline-specific professional development for sessional law teachers.

Sessional staff deliver half of Australian tertiary teaching. The quality of that teaching is crucial to student learning, retention and progress. Yet national research, as well as a needs analysis conducted as part of the Smart Casual seed project, suggests that support and training for sessional teachers remain inadequate.

Law confronts specific barriers in responding to this challenge. Discipline-specific skills and content form substantial components of law curricula, which must meet nationally mandated threshold learning outcomes and professional admission requirements. Sessional law teachers are often time-poor legal practitioners or postgraduate researchers who bring vital experience, commitment to quality teaching and professional networks to the students they teach and the law schools in which they work. However, many are only weakly connected to the tertiary sector, and levels of teaching experience and teaching qualifications vary widely. This distinctive context demands discipline-specific sessional staff training, but our needs analysis shows that individual law schools lack the expertise and capacity to provide discipline-specific professional development.

Item Type: Report
Series Name: Final Report.
Publisher: Australian Government. Dept. of Education and Training
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