Introducing group work and professional writing in a British Law School: a practical assignment and students’ perceptions inside the liberal v vocational Law degree dichotomy
journal contributionposted on 11.03.2020, 16:16 by Maria Canto-Lopez
The requirement of producing employable graduates is arguably well established now in Higher Education. However, academics are resisting the idea of transforming Universities on factories that will deliver work-ready graduates. The dangers of overdoing the employability bid may entail Universities betraying their role of just forming better citizens. In this liberal v vocational degree resistance plane is where we want to situate our assignment, which introduces employability skills. In any case, we back this kind of assignment only as part of a liberal education and being aware of the criticisms that introducing skills brings as a sign of siding with the industry and the government. Our assignment promotes two employability skills to students: group work and professional writing. This project also involved collaboration with professional Careers services and a London based Law firm. The research presented on this paper wanted to identify through our students’ perceptions what they felt about this kind of assignment on the first year of their Law degree. Using qualitative data based on interviews from six focus groups, we were able to analyse the data and discuss the results. Students reflects on the assignment design, the employability skills’ experienced and the subject knowledge applied in practice. The positive outcomes from the data gives encouragement about presenting this activity as a worthwhile project to other tutors that want to embark on the design or adapt assignments, which involve employability skills. Furthermore, as a result of this study we want to commence similar projects in years two and three of the Law degree; in order to help our students to become effective learners, skillful professionals and better people.