Philosophy of Teaching

How one teaches is necessarily influenced by what one perceives as the goals of legal education. Certainly, the primary goal is to prepare you to be effective lawyers, judges and policy makers. At a minimum, that includes helping you to develop the ability to:   think critically, precisely, and clearly;  express yourself succinctly;   understand the expressions of others; particularly those who are different than yourself;   understand human nature, particularly the motivations and needs of your clients, opponents, jurors, judges, etc.; and   use the techniques of the legal profession to represent a client in general matters, to recognize where you lack competence, and to comply with accepted ethical standards. While it is hardly arguable that preparing you to be an effective lawyer is an important goal, it is not the only one. Many of you will be law makers and policy makers, thus training you to understand the values implicit in the law is an important goal. Another important goal is to train you to address in a systematic manner your social responsibilities as an individual lawyer and your collective responsibilities as a member of the bar. This includes your responsibility to assist your community in maintaining an accessible, effective and socially responsible legal system. 

Thus, my objective is to help you continue the process of meeting those goals. The primary focus of my teaching method is to provide you an educationally sound introduction to the health care system and health disparities and the law. Furthermore, given the impact race and gender have on the law (and vice versa) my approach to teaching is to explicitly explore race and gender as a component of health care delivery and law-making.   


A. Teaching Objective #1: Educationally Sound Pedagogy

An educationally sound legal pedagogy is a philosophy of legal education which is grounded in known educational theory. To be so grounded, an educationally sound legal pedagogy: trains you to solve legal problems by providing you with working program for solving problems;  provides you with the opportunity to excel. provides you with criteria for  what it is you need to do to excel and specifically the progress you are making; provides you with the opportunity to practice each new skill throughout the learning process; and,  provides you with adequate instruction on how to study for law school and this course. Thus, it is my goal, through an educationally sound pedagogy, to provide you with an opportunity to learn and to excel. 


B. Teaching Objective #2: Health Disparities and the Law Teaching Objectives

Health care law teaching objectives are those objectives that relate directly to the substantive area of the law. They can be divided into two categories: knowledge and skills/abilities. The objectives of this course are:    

to increase understanding of socioeconomic and racial/ethnic inequities in health and their human and financial costs;

to understand  the various ways in which class, racism and disempowerment influence health outcomes;

 to Illustrate how well-being is not just a matter of making good choices and having access to quality care; that health outcomes are inextricably linked - for better and worse - to social conditions;

 Demonstrate that health inequities everyone.

 Move health discussions "upstream" - beyond the individual-focused "repair shop" model of disease and illness to a preventive approach that looks to change the underlying conditions that shape whole group outcomes;

Link health discussions to social, economic and legal policies - e.g., housing, racism, education, jobs and wages, community development, social supports and tax policy. Evaluate social, economic and legal policies by their health impact

Analyze health policy solutions for effectiveness for health equity  


C. Teaching Objectives #3: Diversity-Conscious Legal Pedagogy

Class, disability, gender, race and sexual preference issues are such an integral part of our society (and the legal profession) that we often overlook how the law affects individuals with different backgrounds differently. In a diverse society, such as ours, awareness of how different class, disability, gender race and sexual preference are effected differently by the law is essential. This is true whether the person is a defendant, plaintiff, lawyer, juror, judge or law student. Diversity awareness should be a normative part of the value system of the practicing attorney. An education which is aware of diversity:  explores how racial, ethnic, gender, class, disability, cultural and sexual orientation are related to and impacted by the structure of law. In particular, it illuminates the connection between racial and gender issues and the values, interests, rules and theories that appear to be neutral but, are in fact a representation of the values of the dominant culture.  broadly frames classroom discussion so that we step outside the doctrinal bounds of the law to critique the rules, the health care system and legal practice; and, focuses discussion on health care problems, interests and values that reflect a broad range of perspectives.