Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tax Profs: Are You an "Alpha Wolf" or a "Clicker Trainer"?

Melissa Waters (Washington & Lee) has a wonderful post, dividing the law professor world into two groups:

  • Alpha Wolves, the old guard who strike "terror into the hearts of generation after generation of first-year students with ... old-school, Socratic-style teaching."
  • Clicker Trainers, the new guard who cheerlead and "reward even the smallest, most hesitant attempt to think creatively, I never criticize students who get the wrong answer, even to the most obvious question. And I usually ignore most bad behavior."

What kind of law professor are you?
Alpha Wolf
Clicker Trainer
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AM's point is intriguing. Taken fully at face value, why have law professors at all? Just give the "students" Internet access and they will learn what they need to know to become competent lawyers. I'm not a law professor (and have no such pretensions), but, if I were, and a law student sought to marginalize or mock me based on some indiscriminate BS downloaded off the Internet, I'd immediately assign him/her to write a paper to defend whatever he/she thinks he/she "learned," and explain in concrete terms how it can be applied in the practice of law.

Posted by: Jake | Nov 29, 2006 6:40:34 PM

Thanks to the internet, students have access to a world of information, which they can use to defend against, marginalize and even mock old school professors.

Pre-internet, students had to acquiesce to a law professor's assertion that his subjective opinion in an indeterminate area of the law was the "right" answer. It took too much effort to find authoritative sources which disagreed with the professor. Now, thanks to the internet, this task is easy.

Posted by: AM | Nov 29, 2006 2:18:38 PM