In a post below, Ilya writes:
The traditional law school reliance on the the Socratic method, which I criticized on other grounds in this series of posts, is part of the problem. Many professors and students assume that it is the only correct way of teaching law classes, especially large intro courses, and therefore don’t bother with anything else.
Just as an aside, I wonder, how common is the traditional form of the Socratic Method in law schools? My sense is that the “traditional law school reliance on the Socratic Method” has always been a bit of a myth, fueled in part by the movie The Paper Chase, and that law professors have long used a wide range of different approaches in class. See, e.g., O. Kerr, The Decline of the Socratic Method at Harvard, 78 Neb. L. Rev. 113 (1999). Further, my sense is that in the two decades or so, the “pure” form of the Socratic Method has become rare: The majority of professors today use a combination of lecture, questioning students, powerpoints, group discussion, and the like.
There are exceptions, of course. The Socratic Method remains widely used at some law schools (the University of Chicago comes to mind). And most professors use some aspects of the Socratic Method, such as calling on students and asking them questions about the reasoning of the cases they have read. But my sense is that what we think of as the traditional Socratic Method was never quite as dominant as is often supposed, and that practices in law schools today vary quite widely. That’s my sense, at least.