Centre for Legal Education

Helen Taylor, Senior Lecturer at Nottingham Law School, continues her series of articles on the integration of professional identity in professional skills courses:

Quite a step from Point Break from my last post but this week I have been reminded of the quotation from John Updike “celebrity is a mask that eats into the face”. Fake it til you make it also springs to mind.

This in turn, has led to some reflection on the reasons why I included some work on professional identity in my final year skills module.

The module focusses on transition from study to the working world. Part of the that transition was addressed in the module and designed to carefully consider values in relation to the chosen profession of the students. Why do I think that is important? My values are such that I would like students to choose a future career that gives them satisfaction and protects their future wellbeing.

I was designing the module during a period of a decline in my own mental health (I have an anxiety condition). As part of my anxiety, I was trying to future proof the happiness of the working lives of all those students with whom I come into contact on my module. An impossible task.

Helpfully, at the same time I was participating in the NLS Centre for Legal Education conference on Impact and Wellbeing The conference was more instructive and inspiring for me. Educators across the world had different perspectives on wellbeing. Rachael O’Connor’s conference paper on professional identity inspired me with the design of the materials on the module. The module prompts discussion about what students found meaningful in life, value surveys were highlighted, together with some analysis of competence statements from a variety of professions. By using these talking points in workshops, I hope to have helped students have a realistic and pragmatic view of their own values, priorities and future employment.

For me, the key point was that we talked. And that talking about your own experiences and values is vital to wellbeing (in my opinion).

And on that note, I would ask you to consider supporting the Time to Talk day on 4 February 2020.