TeachLaw modules are designed to maximise student engagement, and as such, class activities will fulfill either one of two purposes:
Whilst we encourage you to use the class activities designed for each module, it is recognised that there will be situations where these activities cannot be used e.g. due to lack of resources, access to technology, cohort size or due to the needs of the students.
Please keep in mind that there is a risk in designing your own activities as they may not accurately explain or represent complex legal issues. If you would like us to review your class activities for legal appropriateness, please contact us here at least a fortnight prior to delivering your seminar and we would be happy to review them for you. We may also also for permission to publish these reviewed materials to our TeachLaw site as “optional activities” for our modules.
We encourage you to minimise the amount of separate activities that are used in one class, and to present it as one package e.g. one activity sheet with a combination of a find-a-word and a cloze passage.
Each of the following activities could be used to test basic knowledge retention:
Whilst it is excellent for students to be able to explain their legal rights and responsibilities, our hope is that the take-home from each lesson will be more general e.g. where they can turn to for help, or what kinds of situations may lead to risk-taking behaviour/could help protect against victimisation.
Any time activities of this nature are completed, we recommend that students are provided with the answers, and that you review answers orally. This will increase the likelihood that knowledge is retained and provide students with an opportunity to self-correct gaps in their learning.
Each of the following activities could be used to test critical understanding:
We have found that activities that require students to apply the knowledge to a particular scenario and to justify their position have been highly effective. Students have provided feedback on the relevance and usefulness of modules that contain this deeper analytical method.
Given the nuances of applying the law to situations, it is important that students are encouraged to approach these activities with the mindset of understanding, applying and explaining rather than looking to find the “correct response”.
You may also wish to check out our page on assessing students’ learning here.
If you unexpectedly have a smaller cohort arrive, or if you anticipate that the cohort will be small, it can be difficult to gauge the pacing of the lesson or how to modify activities. If your lesson ends with a lot of time to spare, we recommend you check out our ice breakers page here for some general class games which might be played to re-engage students after content heavy lessons. In addition, you might consider:
Whilst we may often be tempted to forego digital components when they are unavailable, or to convert them into hard copy versions (e.g. to create a paper Kahoot!), it is worth considering alternative ways of approaching classes when you are aware in advance that certain digital resources (such as a computer, internet connection or personal devices) may be unavailable.
Whilst we would recommend that certain activities be replicated in hard copy (e.g. printing out slides), other activities may provide an opportunity to facilitate a different level of engagement. Some examples of ways to overcome a lack of digital resources include:
As per differentiation in many contexts, we encourage teachers to use a range of explicit instruction, and collaborative learning to engage a wide range of learners. In addition, technology should be used as regularly as possible to create an equalising effect. Given the diverse strategies available for differentiation, you may wish to contact Youth Law Australia directly for advise, or to utilise the TeachLaw community here for advice.
Surprisingly, many of the techniques used for smaller cohorts can be replicated in large classrooms – whilst the predominant means of managing a large cohort might be to engage in peer-directed and collaborative learning, other factors to consider include re-arranging space to better meet the needs of the classroom. In addition you may wish to use the following activities:
We are always looking for new ways to engage with students. If you have used an activity in class that you have found particularly helpful, we would love to hear from you. You can contact us here.
TeachLaw resources will help you to teach your students legal literacy and their legal rights and responsibilities.Check out our resources