Barbara Blumenfeld Introduces Havruta to Legal Educators
June 2, 2011
Professor Barbara Blumenfeld has brought Havruta, a traditional Jewish teaching technique, into the legal education dialogue, both in a new article and during an early June conference in New York City.
Her article, "Can Havruta Style Learning Be a Best Practice in Law School?," was published in the Willamette Journal of International Law and Dispute Resolution.
She applied concepts introduced in her article in a practical presentation at the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning Summer Conference on June 2. Havruta teaching is a technique in which people study in pairs. At the conference, participants in Blumenfeld's workshop worked in pairs on a practice problem and then discussed general concepts of the teaching method and how they could be applied in the legal classroom.
According to Blumenfeld, "Its focus on process, along with its format of dispute and resolution, make it especially well suited to law study. It is an approach that makes students active participants in their learning."
"Professor Blumenfeld argues that Havruta-style learning, which involves interpreting the meaning of important texts, allows students to discuss together their understanding of words in the texts, thereby enriching each student with other students' perspectives on the language," said Dean Kevin Washburn. “Her insights are quite compelling."