I am going to let you in on a little secret here… it doesn’t matter what you say in a law school Socratic seminar class! IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU SAY! (Say it out loud one more time!) The Socratic Method of Teaching used by most law schools has important weaknesses. Most law schools have blind grading (you are assigned an exam number and the professor has no idea whose exam he/she is grading) and further most schools weigh class participation very lightly (if at all). If you are worried about looking stupid when you are subjected to Socratic questioning (I was) don’t be… the people in your class are more worried about looking stupid themselves vs. what you might have said in class. Answer the question as best as you can and then move on.
Law students are often haunted by memories of saying something stupid in a Socratic seminar law class. Rest assured that even if you were to say something completely embarrassing and stupid, after a few days the only person who will really remember it will be you. Don’t let it haunt you, there will be other strange experiences or stupid statements by classmates during a Socratic seminar law class. You are all in the same boat, and at least one point everyone will say something that is incorrect, embarrassing and bordering on stupid. Don’t let it bother you in the least. So in summary:
-Regarding the Socratic Method of Teaching IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU SAY!
-You are in the same boat with everyone else, even if you say something stupid it will be forgotten in a few days, because someone else will say something surprising or funny.
-Whatever form of Socratic Method of teaching a professor employs, a general question is first asked of the student, then specific questions, then fact pattern modification questions.
-A professor who utilizes the original form of Socratic Method will never give you an answer to a question.
-A professor who employs the Contemporary Socratic teaching method will eventually state a rule or answer the question at hand.
-The goal of any form of Socratic Method concerns ANALYSIS, VERBALLY STATING A POSITION, THINKING ON YOUR FEET and moreover answering the Socratic questioning correctly is irrelevant.
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