"A part to play": the value of role-play simulation in undergraduate legal education

Ben Waters
2016 The Law Teacher  
This paper explores the argument for increased student participation in experiential learning approaches within the UK undergraduate law curriculum. It is supported by the findings of a very small-scale research study undertaken by the writer into law students' perceptions of the efficacy of role-play simulation as a means of studying mediation, in an optional credit-based module within the final year of a UK undergraduate qualifying law degree 1 . In order to provide situational context, the
more » ... onal context, the first part of this paper will briefly address the experiential learning possibilities for undergraduate law students, a discussion of the study involving qualitative research methodology, which was used to demonstrate that role-play simulation as a method of experiential learning has a place within the UK undergraduate law curriculum. The final part of this paper will consider the findings of the study which demonstrated that, inter alia, role-play simulation can be motivational, helps to build student confidence, enables deeper learning, assists graduate skills acquisition and arguably enhances employability. Based on the findings of this study and other empirical evidence, the paper suggests that greater emphasis could be placed on experiential approaches such as role-play simulation for credit-based law courses, including those "core" foundational courses which form part of the undergraduate qualifying law degree in the UK, but achievement of this aspiration is not without its challenges. 3 The Law Clinic at the University of Kent, UK for instance was established during the 1970s but does not provide academic credit for students' participation. The Law School at the University of York, UK however centres its whole undergraduate LLB curriculum on credit bearing problem-based learning. 4 At the time of writing the LawWorks Pro Bono Law Schools Survey 2013 is awaited and will shortly be published. 5 Supra, n. 1. 6 This is by no means intended to be an exhaustive list and the reader may be aware of other examples of the practical application of experiential learning theory.
doi:10.1080/03069400.2016.1162404 fatcat:hm756rzc3vfanp7em66dm3757y