Students take ‘Street Law’ to classroom

June 14, 2018

Murdoch student Joseph Gleason with Sacred Heart pupils

Fresh perspective: Murdoch students like Joseph Gleason (centre) have been delivering lessons in law at high schools. Joseph is pictured with pupils from Sacred Heart College.

Murdoch University students have been nurturing passions for law among high school pupils as part of a program that aims to advance legal knowledge.

Murdoch’s Law in the Community program has seen 29 undergraduates deliver lessons on topics like sexting and evidence in murder cases to hundreds of pupils from eight schools across the Perth metropolitan area.

The Murdoch program was inspired by the United States-based Street Law initiative. This program aims to educate communities about law, democracy and human rights.

Murdoch School of Law’s Clinical Director Anna Copeland, who runs Law in the Community, said the lessons give high school pupils a fresh perspective on legal matters that may be relevant or of interest to them.

“Our students have run sessions on bullying, drugs and the environment. They also give the school pupils valuable insights into what it is like to study law at university,” she said.

“The Murdoch students have been delivering lessons on topics chosen by the teachers, and then returning to run sessions which address topics identified by the students as important to them.

“The program gives our students the chance to practice essential presentation and communication skills and share their passion for law with pupils who may be considering higher education study.”

Teacher Jasmine Watts from Eastern Hills Senior High School said the Murdoch students discussed environmental law and the influential Tasmanian Dam case.

“My year 10 pupils loved the law students coming into the class and their lessons were of an exceptional standard,” she said.

“The law students were very enthusiastic, making the topics so interesting, as well as being very professional and doing a great job of promoting an interest in law.”

Final year Murdoch student Zac Fergie, who was one of three Murdoch students to visit Eastern Hills SHS, said lawyers had an important role to play in educating the public about the law, so it made sense for law students to practice teaching others while they were still at university.

“Through Street Law, I’ve gained experience communicating complicated legal ideas in a way that school students will understand and hopefully remember,” he said.

“The feedback we received from both the pupils and their teacher was really positive. I think the students appreciated the 'hands on' approach that we took with the subject matter.”

The schools which participated in the Street Law program were Aranmore Catholic College, Ballajura Community College, Eastern Hills Senior High School, Iona Presentation College, Kennedy Baptist College, Mandurah Baptist College, Melville Senior High School and Sacred Heart College.

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Media contact: Jo Manning
Tel: (08) 9360 2474  |  Mobile: 0408 201 309  |  Email: j.manning@murdoch.edu.au
Categories: General, Teaching and Learning, Domestic students, school of law
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