Mack.Hambleton wrote:Yo psw sux why does this exist
I know this question isn't meant to be serious, but it deserves a serious answer.
First, PSW is a tool to promote teamwork. In this sense, the problems themselves are irrelevant. The important point is that you work as a team with other students (for the first time in law school) to accomplish a mutual goal. Unfortunately unless you're in a section with a professor who really cares about this (for example, Westfahl, not Singer) "how to work as a team" may not be a focus of the term. This results in some teams that work just fine together and other teams that accomplish little or spend hours working toward meaningless objectives.
If you step back and ask, "How would I redesign law school from scratch?" and then subsequently build a plan to do that, you would inevitably end up with something like PSW. Its current implementation isn't perfect, and many of the professors who teach it have motives disparate from what the goals should be, and many students approach it with an attitude that restricts their ability to get anything out of it. But at the end of the day, it's a step in the right direction for legal education. If you are interested in the history, PSW came in part as a response to the Carnegie report
. It had three main points:
(1) Lawyers are best taught through a curriculum that integrates the three pillars of doctrine, skills, and professional identity, rather than having a curriculum that focuses on doctrine, and treats the other pillars as "add ons." Ideally, these three pillars can be integrated in the same course.
(2) The combination lecture/Socratic method is far overused, as is the Langdellian approach of learning the law through the dissection of appellate opinions.
(3) Law schools are far behind other educational institutions in how they assess student learning, and the extent to which they provide feedback that improves learning outcomes.
I know a lot of people don't take PSW seriously and I don't fault them for that. But before you ridicule it, I'd encourage you to see what you might be able to get out of it. I took away from PSW a better approach to working with a team that had varying viewpoints about how to get work done. It's also not about whether you divide up the assignments and work independently or get everything done together right after class. It's about how you agree to get the assignments done. You can get a lot out of the class just by paying attention to how your group deals with the stupid deadlines and the useless problems presented.
I wish I'd recognized sooner that figuring out collaboration was an intended purpose and not just a situational reality.