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Gorian E. - Socratic Method in the legal clinical education: problems and prospects of application pp. 102-113


Abstract: The author examines the problems and prospects of application of the Socratic Method in legal clinical education. Legal clinical education plays an important role in professional training of lawyer, imparting practical skills to the use of theoretical knowledge in practical activity. Lack of continuity in methodological support of the educational activity in Russia results in the low practice-oriented outcome of legal training of the graduates. The implementation of Socratic Method allows formulating the required by the academic standard cultural and professional competencies. The author underlines the need for a qualitative methodological support of the legal clinical education. Socratic Method, used by the leading legal schools of the world, obtains a new meaning due to scientific technical progress and constant changes in the legal systems: the knowledge outdate within the year or several month; thus, legal education under the circumstances faces the task of not just “imparting” the knowledge onto minds of the students, but rather the skills for accumulating the new knowledge, as well critical thinking skills. The problems of implementation of the Socratic Method consist in difficulties of subjective and objective character. In first case, it implies the absence of the system of advanced methodological training of educators working in legal clinical education. In second case, it is the unpreparedness of students to independent thinking, orientation towards the opinion of educators, inability to defend their point of view, and lack of critical thinking skills. In the long term, there is a need to become familiar with the leading methodological practices of the foreign legal schools, as well as implement them into the system of Russian legal clinical education, taking into account its specificity.
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