A significant part of my teaching philosophy is that one of the best ways to learn is to get out of the classroom! I like to provide opportunities for my students to engage in place-based learning, or to participate in programs and events outside City Tech, that will enhance their understanding and knowledge in the legal field. Here are some examples:
Place-Based Learning opportunities.
- Walking tour of local courts. In most semesters, I have taken my classes on walking tours of the many state and federal courts located in downtown Brooklyn, to complement our in-class study of the court systems and help the students feel that they are a part of the legal community.
- Court observations. When I teach Intro to Paralegal Studies (LAW 1101) and Civil Law and Procedure (LAW 1103), like all instructors of those course, I require my students to locate and observe a court proceeding on their own, and to write a report and give an oral presentation on their experience. Here’s a sample of such an assignment. When possible, I like to take my students to observe court proceedings, so I can point out particularly notable issues, I can answer their questions, and we can have productive on-the-spot discussions about how the proceedings relate to what we’ve learned in class. Most recently, in Spring 2019, I was able to take Civil Law and Procedure student Abigail Thomas to observe a federal civil trial presided over by the judge for whom I clerked after law school, U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. (I would have like to take the whole class but our schedule did not permit it, so I invited any interested students and Ms. Thomas accepted!) We both found the experience very enlightening. In Fall 2018 I was fortunate to be able to take my evening Tort and Insurance Law class (LAW 2405) to observe Small Claims Court arbitration at Kings County Civil Court. It can be challenging to provide evening students with opportunities to observe court proceedings or other place-based learning because of their schedules. Thankfully, Kings County Civil Court provides night Small Claims Court proceedings. I serve as a volunteer arbitrator with that court, so in Fall 2018, I worked with the Senior Court Clerk to arrange for my students to observe arbitration proceedings during one of the court’s evening sessions. The students had excellent experience! Outside opportunities
- Facilitated student’s participation in prestigious “NEW Leadership New York Summer Institute.” In January 2019, I was notified by SUNY-Albany, where I earned my BA in Political Science, of an opportunity for female college students to participate in its “NEW Leadership New York Summer Institute,” a “fully funded, intensive, one-week residential program to educate college women about the political process and teach them to become effective leaders.” I thought this was an excellent opportunity for our students so I notified students in my class as well as other students and faculty in our Department about it. Student Lital Deutsh (Rush) applied and was accepted! City Tech announced her participation in this “prestigious” program in her biography as class Salutatorian in the Honors Convocation program. She texted me while she was participating in the program and told me she was having an amazing time. I’m so excited for her!