Critical thinking is not an inborn skill. Developing a critical approach to what is being learned requires constant training and experience. Using a critical approach to the studies is especially necessary for a law student. This kind of approach allows the students to concentrate on the outcomes and effects of particular information instead of focusing on the verification of this information. As mentioned by Hanson 2003, law students should pay special attention to the use of the critical approach in order to “ensure proper coverage for each area of their study.” This module has perfectly taught me to use a critical approach to what I have studied, which will contribute much to my studying other areas of law later; besides, the skills I have acquired can be used in other areas beyond legal studies.
Above all, it is worth mentioning that this module has significantly developed my critical thinking abilities. Sometime earlier, when reading legal studies, I was simply interested in facts that they presented, while this module has taught me to use the learned in a broader context. In particular, it helped me acquire not only critical thinking but legal-reasoning skills as well; the most helpful here were critical thinking questions which most of the studies concluded with. This is one of the best ways to develop the students’ critical thinking skills.
In addition, justifying and judging assumptions in a legal context was also contributing to the development of my critical approach to studies. For example, when the information on particular legislation has been learned, we were asked to present hypothetical situations in which this legislation could be used. In addition to this, we have often practiced giving legal advice to hypothetical clients or being asked to predict an outcome of a legal situation based on a case study. This has limited the number of areas I would like to study later in this degree and prepared me to study in these areas because now I know what kind of knowledge working in these areas requires.
And finally, the skills that I have learned in this module can be useful in other areas beyond legal studies. For instance, critical thinking abilities that I have acquired may be used in the business environment, as well as in other areas where communication is an integral element. Quite helpful will these skills be in such spheres as psychology, as well as in different teaching activities. In all these areas, a critical approach will help to think critically about theories and concepts pertinent to these areas and act correspondingly in situations that may be encountered in these areas.
In sum, this module has taught me to use a critical approach to legal studies, as well as to justify and judge assumptions in a legal context. Moreover, it has turned my attention to other areas that I would like to study later in this degree and, perhaps, become proficient in the future.
Dyer, L. 2006, Critical Thinking for Business Students, Ontario, Captus Press.
Hanson, S. 2003, Legal method & reasoning, London, Routledge Cavendishm.
Hardcastle, D., Powers, P., & Wenocur, S. 2004, Community practice: theories and skills for social workers, Oxford, Oxford University Press US.
Miller, R., & Jentz, G. 2007, Business law today: the essentials, Mason, Ohio, Cengage Learning.
Smart, J. 2006, Higher education: handbook of theory and research, Amsterdam, Springer.