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The Language of Law SchoolLearning to "Think Like a Lawyer"$
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Elizabeth Mertz

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195183108

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195183108.001.0001

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Student Participation and Social Difference: Race, Gender, Status, and Context in Law School Classes

Student Participation and Social Difference: Race, Gender, Status, and Context in Law School Classes

Chapter:
(p.174) 8 Student Participation and Social Difference: Race, Gender, Status, and Context in Law School Classes
Source:
The Language of Law School
Author(s):

Elizabeth Mertz (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195183108.003.0008

This chapter discusses student participation in the law school classroom, with particular attention to race and gender as well as status and context. The implications for our understandings of diversity, both in the law school classroom and beyond it, are examined. A threshold question is that of the effect or importance of student participation profiles in terms of students' overall experience. In other words, what difference does student participation make? On the one hand, the typical first-year law school class is graded almost entirely on the basis of written work; it is unusual to find class participation playing much of a role in professors' grading schemes. On the other hand, researchers in other educational settings have found a link between class participation and students' sense of self-esteem, their overall performance, and their sense of inclusion in the wider communities and professions into which they are supposedly being socialized.

Keywords:   law schools, class participation, law students, race, gender, status, context, academic performance, self-esteem

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