n Journal for Juridical Science - Teaching South African (LLB) law students legal analysis to ensure critical thinking - chronicle

Volume 44 Number 2
  • ISSN : 0258-252X



The art of thinking in a peculiarly legal way is a skill essential to successfully entering the discourse of law.

The development of analytical and critical thinking skills thus needs to be an important part of any module within the LLB curriculum. The traditional view used to be that law schools (law faculties) teach law students to think like a lawyer and lawyers in practice teach law students to act like lawyers or how to be a lawyer. The current view is that law schools should teach both theory and skills. How to think like a lawyer and how to be a lawyer should thus both be taught at law schools. This underlines the fact that the lecturer in a specific discipline cannot teach everything (all theory) about that specific module or discipline, but must through lectures, learning material and assessment assist the student in ensuring a solid foundation to build on, that will also serve as a “GPS” (Global Positioning System) for the student both during his/her studies and beyond. In other words, the teaching of a module should equip a student with the ability to navigate or to be able to find his/her way in a specific field of law. The teaching of a module should guide a student like a GPS to be able to find the knowledge or answers the student is seeking. If a student must learn to think like a lawyer and do like a lawyer, there is also a need for that student to develop problem-solving skills.

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