I love teaching, especially seminars. In my many years of law teaching, I have taught a seminar in all but a handful of years, and in some years, I have taught two. My first experience teaching a seminar came in my very first semester of law teaching, and my most recent experience was in the semester that came to a close a couple of months ago.
In this essay, I hope to encourage other faculty to reap the benefits of seminars for their students and themselves that my students and I have enjoyed. Although the selection of subject area for the seminar is important to the seminar's success, I have long believed that the choice of format is even more important. As a result, in deciding whether to offer a seminar for the first time and, even more so, in deciding whether to continue offering a seminar, I have been strongly influenced by my judgment as to whether the subject area is well-suited for the format that I have in mind. Before turning to selection of subject matter, I therefore first discuss, and spend most of this essay discussing, the ingredients of, and rationale behind, the seminar format that I have come to use. That format is not dramatically different from the one that I used early in my career. It does include, however, a number of components that I have adopted over the years to respond to perceived shortcomings and that I would like to think qualify as improvements.
Gary J. Simson, Teaching Seminars—Pedagogy and Potential, 63 Mercer L. Rev. 1057 (2012).