n Stellenbosch Law Review = Stellenbosch Regstydskrif - Substantive second-level reasoning and experiential learning in legal ethics

Volume 23, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1016-4359
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2193



This article takes a critical look at law teaching in South Africa and seeks to consider how the application of experiential learning theory may assist law students in gaining a deeper understanding of the law in general, and the complexities of real life practice in particular. While clinical legal education is often seen as the locus of experiential learning in law, the author proposes that well-structured simulations in class can achieve similar goals. The article comprises a description of the nature of experiential learning and a further description of the application of the principles of experiential learning in a particular simulation exercise in a Legal Ethics course (using the US case of 858 P2d 1054 (Wash 1993) as a basis). The author posits that the so-called experiential learning "cycle" or "process" enables a process of learning which draws out the students' beliefs and ideas about a topic so that it can be examined, tested and integrated with new, more refined ideas. This notion is then in keeping with the expectation that students who emerge from higher education institutions have developed meta-cognitive skills. Essentially then, it is hoped that, by using the methods proposed in this article, students can then manage their own development and learning .

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