DescriptionThe Association of Law Teachers (ALT) Annual Conference 2022
By using the example of the Legal Writing Academy (LWA), situated in the University of Manchester Law School, this paper explores the value to tutors and staff of providing discipline-specific writing support to law undergraduates through writing programmes within law schools. In doing so, this paper builds upon the work of Griffiths (2021) – which explored the value provided by such programmes to students – to explore the benefits of such provision more broadly in an institutional setting. Staff-student conversations regarding feedback are typically subject-specific which limits staff insight. However, the LWA facilitates conversations around all feedback that students have received across their degree programmes. This allows for deeper insight into students’ understandings, experiences and needs with regards to assessment feedback.
This paper explores how the LWA serves as a form of feedback not only to individual LWA tutors who are also involved in marking work – which has led to changes in individual marking and feedback practice – but also to the Law School as a whole. We argue that the institutional benefits are severalfold. Firstly, the feedback received by staff through the LWA serves as a tool through which to co-create approaches to marking and feedback alongside students. Secondly, this dialogue with students can therefore contribute to changing the culture of assessment and feedback in law schools. Thirdly, the LWA can work towards addressing staff tendencies to silo feedback into subject-specific contexts. Therefore, staff stand to benefit through such writing support programmes. Thus, not only do students individually benefit from engaging with the LWA, but, also, students benefit more widely from the cultural shifts that the LWA – as a forum for dialogue on marking and feedback – can create.
|Manchester, United Kingdom