Joshua Silverstein, professor at the William H. Bowen School of Law, strives to teach in a way that fits all learning styles, and that is effective for all of his students. The UALR Disability Resource Center is proud to feature Professor Silverstein as a shining example of effective pedagogy that results in fewer barriers to student learning.
Professor Silverstein incorporates the white board in all of his lectures. He believes that by giving information in multiple modalities, he can more effectively help his students to learn the material. He prepares his lectures in advance, including drawing out diagrams to put on the white boards. He uses the colors red and blue to indicate the two sides in a dispute, to make the information more visually accessible for students. Here’s an example:
He explains the case as he writes it on the board so both auditory and visual students can benefit. The classes, and thus the white boards, are video-captured for later review by students. He makes his notes available for students with low vision or who otherwise might request a notetaker.
Law schools are notorious for having only one test at the end of the semester, which can be challenging. Professor Silverstein helps mitigate this by providing three practice essays for students that are not graded, and provides model answers for the students, even providing various ways to approach their response. He lectures on preparing comprehensive summaries of the law, and provides examples. The syllabus for the course is written in this format, and so, from the beginning of the class, the students are exposed to that style of writing.
A couple of years ago, Professor Silverstein reviewed his students’ final exams over a three-year period, and created a comprehensive document of tips for students that contains pitfalls to avoid and strategies for success on exams. He gives this document to his students each semester. And during the class discussions of the practice essays, he relates the tips to the practice test questions, all in order to help his students understand what to anticipate on the final exam, and to be as prepared as possible. This has resulted in improved grades for all of his students.
Professor Silverstein says:
In my experience, every student learns using all learning styles. I therefore believe that incorporating a variety of teaching methods is the most effective way to promote student mastery of the course material.
Thank you for putting students first, Professor Silverstein!
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