Discipline context shapes meaningful teaching: A case study of academic law

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  • Anna Bager-Elsborg

The relationship between academic disciplines and teaching has been thoroughly investigated. However, most studies define disciplines by their epistemological properties and thereby overlook contextual and local interpretations of disciplines. This case study, based on in-depth interviews with nine academic lawyers, examines the interrelatedness between discipline, teaching and context. It identifies discipline characteristics and shared understandings of teaching in a specific context. The results imply that teaching is shaped by its disciplinary context and thus support literature stating that discipline matters for teaching. However, the analysis also reveals that discipline does not easily translate into teaching. The study emphasises local differences–what is perceived meaningful for law teachers in one context differs in others. Thus, this study dismisses the notion of disciplines as unitary entities. Further, the article discusses the dangers of categorising statements about teaching without considering context.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Pages (from-to)508-520
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Teaching, discipline, law education, practice, sociocultural theories, BELIEFS, UNIVERSITY, STUDENTS

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