Choosing content for lesson plans and teaching activities depends largely on the teaching site. Are law students teaching in a high school social studies class with a syllabus that will guide the selection of content? Or are they teaching in a community site to a population with specific educational needs—for example, youth aging out of the foster care system who could benefit from lessons on housing and consumer law?
The structure of your program will also impact what is taught. Credit-bearing programs typically require law students to develop and teach their own lesson plans, while a program following the pro bono or student group model might utilize existing teaching resources.
Regardless of the teaching site or program structure, it is essential that law students work closely with the on-site teacher/site coordinator to map out the semester and develop a plan that supports the site’s goals and needs. The following questions can help guide the decision process:
- How will this topic fit into the syllabus or goals of the class?
- Is this topic relevant to the young people I’m teaching?
- Are the methods I’m using engaging and student-centered?
For those programs that teach at community sites, it can be helpful to meet with a couple of young people who will be attending the class to discuss the legal topics that they would find most helpful.