Monday, April 19, 2010

Teaching:the Process '10

Teaching here is its own experience. As I've gotten to know the students abilities and interests I've had great fun adding material and restructuring the presentations. All this is, of course, a great frustration for Gala, my extraordinary translator, as she studies my presentations to be comfortable with the specialized vocabulary. None-the-less she smiles and says nothing directly to me about my callousness.
This time around I've tried to take pictures around town and then I add those pictures each day into the presentation in order to illustrate a point. That marvelous puppy picture from the weekend (printed in another blog) became a great tool for the students to tell me why the puppy dealer should prefer a "sole proprietorship" over a "corporation" or "partnership." The picture of the meat counter was a great vehicle for me to ask about what constitutes a contract and would there be a cause of action for breach of contract if the meat was tainted. I'm quite certain they've never had a class like mine. To steal a phrase "Law is all around us...."
Of course, I still use a fish picture each day. Justice Bablitch with a walleye, Sarah with a huge northern, James with a redfish in New Orleans (I used that to ask about 'gifts'--are they enforcable contracts?). Today we needed something to talk about why one would form a corporation, so I put up my law Christmas Card picture with Christ, Stew Karge, Sarah and me in front of float plane in Canada. I asked what type of entity they would suggest for the outfitters/airplane business and then asked why would they want to choose a corporation. (Limit risk, of course. Because Airplane travel is always a risk--just ask my colleague Bill Morgan who is now stranded in Moscow trying to fly back to the States.)
So, while all the teachers here use a simple lecture system, this class is a exercise in making the law real and making the obligations of lawyers something above and beyond 'self'--to protect the Rule of Law.
Tomorrow we move to Environmental Law. I'll illustrate that with pictures of a host of contaminated sites around town and I'll also ask them to propose legislation that is consistent with the general rules of freedom, liberty and capitalism. We will also use the film Civil Action--which they say in Russian yesterday--to talk about environmental laws and a lawyers obligation to his clients. After class tomorrow, they will watch To Kill a Mockingbird. (They have all read the book as part of their English classes and wanted to see the film, in English. Atticus is the epitome of a lawyer for them (and most of the rest of us, as well)). Should be fun--as is every day of teaching.
Das Vidania.


Bill Morgan said...

The flip side of risk with airplane flights is opportunity. The last 4 days I was forced to spend in Moscow have been an unexpected boon with getting to see Red Square, the Kremlin, the Moscow Metro and other tourist sites. Get back safely and quickly, Jim.

Mrbillsbraindrain said...


Excellent "reporting" and love the photos. So glad you shared this experience with us at "Pints" last night in McFarland. ( 7/1/14)

Bill Richardson