Centre for Legal Education

There are some words I object to, to an almost pathological degree. There is a local sandwich shop, for instance, that advertises both “panini’s” and “baked potato’s”, which precludes me from ever crossing its threshold

I can’t bear the kind of TV commercial that insists that “two times bigger” is an acceptable substitute for “twice as big”. I know for a fact Mrs Dominey wouldn’t have let that pass.

I don’t like the word “pedagogy”, largely because I for one, don’t only teach boys. But what I really object to is “training”. I can just about handle “I’m training to be a solicitor”, but beyond that I place an embargo. First because my ideas of how learning happens aren’t in the behaviourist canon, most of the time, but secondly, why should we have a different word for the kind of learning that happens outside the classroom? Why is, for example, learning to write well in a classroom, “education” or “pedagogy”; but learning to write well in an office is “training”?

Terminology is important, and serves to create divisions that can be insidious. The areas of learning I’m interested in either take place in a simulated working environment, or in the working environment for real. Suggesting that this part of the field isn’t “education”, isn’t “educational research” or is solely a matter of professional regulation, devalues an important part of the landscape. It is a part of the landscape where the legal educators – the lawyers – ought, in my view, to be part of the team. In fact, the work is, with eminent exceptions, being done, but being done by outsider researchers in business schools and geography departments. One only has to compare this with the vast canon of literature by medical educators, to see that this is at least odd.

Jane Ching