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Revista Direito GV

On-line version ISSN 2317-6172


SILVA, Virgílio Afonso da  and  WANG, Daniel Wei Liang. Who am I to disagree with a supreme court justice? Legal education between argument from authority and free debate of ideas. Rev. direito GV [online]. 2010, vol.6, n.1, pp.95-118. ISSN 2317-6172.

The aim of this paper is to narrate an experience with participative classes. We argue that radical changes in the current methods of legal education are not always necessary in order to achieve positive outcomes. Sometimes the participative methods already used in brazilian legal education - we focus on seminars - fail to lead to good results either due to deficiencies in planning, or because they tend to replicate the most common problems associated with non-participative methods, such as: Focusing on arguments from authority; excess of lecturing and lack of debate; lack of incentive to critical attitudes, among many others. The replication of these problems, combined with the recurrent absence of the professor responsible for the course, seems to us to be the main cause of the widespread perception that seminars are a method of learning of minor importance. our experience, however, has shown that this scenario may change significantly if due care is exercised.

Keywords : legal education; methodology; constitutional rights; case law; seminars.

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