Field trips as short-term experiential learning activities in legal education

Higgins, N. and Dewhurst, E. and Watkins, L. (2012) Field trips as short-term experiential learning activities in legal education. Law Teacher, 46 (2). pp. 165-178. ISSN 03069400 (ISSN)

[img] Text
Higgins et al 2012.pdf

Download (233kB)
Official URL:


Field trips offer students the opportunity to learn in a real-world setting and bridge the gap between theory and practice. To date, there has been a dearth of both theoretical and empirical research into the use and effectiveness of field trips as a pedagogic tool in legal education. This article seeks to fill this gap, first by analysing the current research on the use of field trips in higher education across different disciplines and the reported advantages and disadvantages of such usage, and secondly by providing empirical evidence on the benefits of such activities from a field trip, Living the Law: A Tour of Legal Dublin, undertaken with students in Dublin City University, Ireland. The tour involved visits to important legal establishments in the city of Dublin, including the Supreme Court, the training institutions of barristers and solicitors in Ireland and a premier legal firm. The article analyses feedback from the students who took this trip on the benefits of such a learning experience. © 2012 The Association of Law Teachers.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Export Date: 23 February 2015; Correspondence Address: Higgins, N.; School of Law and Government, Dublin City University, Glasnevin, Dublin, Ireland; email:; References: Sullivan, W.M., Colby, A., Wegner, J.W., Bond, L., Schulman, L.S., (2007) Educating Lawyers: Preparation For the Profession of Law, p. 3. , San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass; Holmes, O.W., (1881) The Common Law, p. 1. , Little Brown & Co; Educating Lawyers Supra, (1), p. 6; Educating Lawyers Supra, (1), p. 6; Educating Lawyers Supra, (1), p. 8; Lave, J., Wenger, E., (1991) Situated Learning, , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Vygotsky, L.S., (1978) Mind In Society, p. 86. , Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; Kyriakides, K., Camp, R., Los, W., A similar tour is undertaken annually in London by the Law School of the University of Hertfordshire by senior lecturers, which requires a round trip of some 40 miles. The authors would like to thank Dr Kyriakides for sharing his ideas on field tripsWright, M.C., Getting More out of Less: The Benefits of Short-Term Experiential Learning in Undergraduate Sociology Courses (2000) Teaching Sociology, 28 (2), pp. 116-121; Scarce, R., Field Trips as Short-Term Experiential Education (1997) Teaching Sociology, 25, p. 219. , See also; Scarce, Supra, (9), p. 219; Carver, R., Theory for Practice: A Framework for Thinking about Experiential Education (2008) Philosophical Foundations, (3), pp. 149-150; Keeton, M.T., Tate, P.J., Editors' Notes: The Boom in Experiential Learning (1978) Learning By Experience: What, Why and How, p. 2. , in Morris T. Keeton and Pamela J. Tate, San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass; Learning Activities That Engage the Learner Directly In the Phenomena Being Studied, , See also Cantor who defines experiential education as; Cantor, J.A., (1997) Experiential Learning In Higher Education: Linking Classroom and Community, (1). , ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education; Cf. Wright Supra, (9), p. 116; Kolb, D.A., Learning, E., (1984) Experience As a Source of Learning and Development, p. 26. , Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall; Bruner, J., Toward a Theory of Instruction, , Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1966) at p. 72 has advocated the "[k]nowing is a process, not a product" theory; Kolb, Supra, (13), p. 27; Olb, K., Supra, (13), p. 29; Kolb, Supra, (13), p. 31; Kolb, Supra, (13), p. 34; Kolb, Supra, (13), p. 36; Wright, Supra, (9), p. 116; Scarce, Supra, (9); Beirsdorfer, R.E., Davis, W.E., Suggestions for Planning a Class Field Trip (1994) Journal of College Science Teaching, 24, pp. 87-94. , 307 Quoted In Avi Hofstein and Sherman Rosenfeld, "Bridging the Gap Between Formal and Informal Science Learning" (1996) 28 Studies In Science Education; Hofstein, Rosenfeld, Supra, p. 20; Follo, M.F., Field Trips as a Teaching Method (1994) Handbook of College Teaching: Theory and Applications, p. 189. , in Keith W. Prichard and Robert McLaran Sawyer, Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group; Scarce, Supra, (9); Scarce, Supra, (9), p. 220; Supra, (9), p. 116. , Wright comments that only a minority of professors adopt experiential learning techniques in their classrooms - Wright; Scarce, Supra, (9), p. 226; Wright, Supra, (9), p. 117; Wright, Supra, (9), p. 122; Scarce, Supra, (9), p. 220; Boyle, C.E., Seeing Gender in Everyday Life: A Field Trip to the Mall (1995) Teaching Sociology, 25, pp. 150-153; Scarce, Supra, (9), p. 220; Falk, J., Balling, J., The Field Trip Milieu: Learning and Behaviour as a Function of Contextual Events (1982) The Journal of Educational Research, 76 (1), pp. 22-23; Wright, Supra, (9), p. 117; Scarce, Supra, (9), p. 224; Scarce, Supra, (9), p. 220; Wright, Supra, (9), pp. 117-118; Chickering, A.W., (1977) Experience and Learning: An Introduction to Experiential Learning, , See the research of, New Rochelle, NY: Change Magazine Press; Rippetoe, J.K., The Undergraduate Education in Sociology: A Case for Experiential Learning (1977) Teaching Sociology, 4, p. 239; Wright, Supra, (9), p. 118. , and; Cantor, Supra, (12); Wright, Supra, (9), p. 118. , and; Gore, J.S., Nelson, H.Y., How Experiential Education Relates to College Goals and Objectives (1984) Evaluation and Programme Planning, 7, p. 143; Wright, Supra, (9), p. 118. , and; Scarce, Supra, (9), p. 224; Scarce, Supra, (9), p. 224; Scarce, Supra, (9), pp. 224-225; Anderson, D., Zhang, Z., Teacher Perceptions of Field-Trip Planning and Implementation (2003) Visitor Studies Today, 6 (3), p. 6; NoteAnderson, Zhang, Supra, (43), p. 6. , See; Muse, C., Chiarelott, L., Davidman, L., Teachers' Utilization of Field Trips: Prospects and Problems (1982) The Clearing House 122 For More Information On the Common Challenges Associated With Field Trips, 56 (3). , See; Grant, L., Heirich, M., Martin, S.S., van Ellen, E., The Detroit Tour: Experiential Learning within the Framework of a Large Lecture Course (1981) Teaching Sociology, 9 (1), pp. 15-23; Wright, Supra, (9), p. 118. , and; Grant, N., Supra, (46); Wright, Supra, (9), p. 118. , and; Muse, Supra, (45), p. 123; Muse, Supra, (45), p. 125; Scarce, Supra, (9), p. 223; Siegel, D.M., The Ambivalent Role of Experiential Learning in American Legal Education and the Problem of Legal Culture (2009) German Law Journal, 10, p. 815; Educating Lawyers (2012) Supra N. 1, ,, Summary of the Findings and Recommendation, available at, accessed 22 April; Siegel, Supra, (51), p. 816; (2012) Criminal Law Theory Class Who Take a Trip to The Eastern State Penitentiary, ,, See for example University of Pennsylvania Law School, available at, accessed 22 April; (2012) Small Group Field Trip to The Second Circuit Court of Appeals In New York, ,, See for example Yale Law School, available at, accessed 22 April; (2012) Professor Heymann's Field Trip to The Real World, ,, See for example University of Wisconsin, available at, accessed 22 April; NoteScarce, Supra, (9), p. 224. , who comments on the benefits of field trips for the development of the relationships between students and academics; Wright, Supra, (9), pp. 117-118. , See; Chickering, Supra, (37); Rippetoe, Supra, (37); Gore, Nelson, Supra, (39). , and, who all comment on the benefits of field trips for the transition of the student from education to the professional world; NoteSilver, C., Garver, A., Watkins, L., Unpacking the Apprenticeship of Professional Identity and Purpose: Insights from the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (2011) The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute, 17. ,, available at, accessed 22 April; Gentry, J.W., Stoltman, J.J., Mehihoff, C.E., How Should We Measure Experiential Learning? (1992) Developments In Business Simulation & Experiential Exercises, 19, pp. 54-57. , Confucius, Chinese Proverbs, quoted in
Depositing User: National Forum
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2015 18:39
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2015 18:41

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year