The pedagogical value of an integrated approach to legal research instruction: Overcoming student resistance to the use of print sources and striking a balance that instills an appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of both print and online sources

Gary Lui

Sears, D. S. (2014). The pedagogical value of an integrated approach to legal research instruction: Overcoming student resistance to the use of print sources and striking a balance that instills an appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of both print and online sources. Legal Reference Services Quarterly, 33(1), 38-65. doi:10.1080/0270319X.2014.869977

The Sears (2014) article notes that law students prefer online resources is a result of these law students having grown up using computers and the Internet. In order for law students to be less inexperienced using print resources, Sears suggests implementing an integrated approach to teaching legal research, where students were given assignments which made the law students to use print and online resources. The reason for including print resources in legal research instruction is that law firms are finding that new associates who just graduated from law school are racking up their clients’ bills from spending a lot of time doing legal research online, which costs a lot of money.

The author of the article is the Senior Law Librarian and Associate Director for Legal Research Instruction, which makes the author qualified to discuss the challenges of teaching legal research. I appreciate that the article uses Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning, which makes law students “think critically about their experience and move to a higher level of learning, that is, evaluating their experience” (Sears, 45). This reminds me of The Big Think. Overall, I think anytime students are made to think about their learning experience is a good thing.

A Collaborative Approach to Implementing 21st Century Skills In A High School Senior Research Class

Bullard, Sherrie

O’Sullivan, M. K., & Dallas, K. B. (2010). A Collaborative approach to implementing 21st Century skills in a High school senior research class. Education Libraries, 33(1), 3-9.

In this article the authors discuss that businesses and higher education leaders are looking for students with the ability to evaluate and analyze information and to use this information to solve real-world problems. These are the information literacy skills students need for the 21st century. However, several recent studies on the ability of college freshmen to handle the rigor of college courses and research indicate that high school students are not being adequately prepared to apply these skills. The authors provide a case study of a collaborative effort between an English teacher and the high school librarian to better prepare high school seniors on how to locate reliable information, analyze the information and then determine how it can be applied to solving a real world issue or problem.
This article focuses on how a high school research paper class, as an example, can be designed and structured to give high school seniors an opportunity to experience what college level research and writing involves.
High school students need to be taught these sophisticated “higher-order” skills, such as the ability to locate and analyze complex information in order to solve real world problems.


This class is not just about writing a longer research paper (10 to 15 pages). The intent of this class is to introduce high school seniors to what it is like to search a subject in depth, to formulate research questions and develop curiosities that go beyond the basic facts of a topic. By breaking the research paper process into a series of steps with individual, specific due dates, the teacher has been able to stress the importance of time management and developing effective work habits. These skill, in addition to the research skills involved, are critical for seniors as they prepare to make the transition to college. They also use the teacher librarian to help teach these skills. It’s like they took a “Bird Unit” and turned it into a “Big Think”!

Learning 21st Century Skills Requires 21st Century Teaching

Learning 21stCentury Skills Requires 21st Century Teaching
Lisa Gatzen
IL-Integrated or Separate
IL-Reflection and Big Think

<!–[if supportFields]> BIBLIOGRAPHY  \l 1033 <![endif]–>Saacedra, Anna Rosefsky and Darleen Opfer. “Learning 21st Century Skills Requires 21st Century Teaching.” October 2012.


<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>Students need to learn 21st century skills in order to be career ready. Our current form of teaching (transmission model of education) is not the most effective way to teach these 21st century skills. Saavedra and Opfer suggest nine lessons that are relevant to teaching 21st Century skills. They go on to say that instruction needs to be relevant to student in order for them to really understand. Students need to know the value of what they are learning. Learning needs to occur through the disciplines while also developing thinking skills with higher-order thinking. They then need to take that knowledge and apply it to other areas of their lives. While also understanding the truth about the real world and moving beyond their misconceptions about how the world really works. Collaboration, the use of technology and fostering creativity are also essential in the 21stcentury classroom.

I really found this article useful in helping me to understand how classroom instruction needs to be changed. While transmission of facts is the model that we currently use in the classroom, that is changing with the Common Core.  Saavedra and Opfer explain the types of changes that need to take place and how they will be possible using 21st century skills.