January 17, 2008

Movie Day

Turns out, movies can be a really good teaching tool. I went through the courtroom scenes in Legally Blonde, A Few Good Men, and My Cousin Vinny today for my students. I didn't have time for more. The best choice, I think, was Legally Blonde -- not for the opportunity to point out what the lawyers were doing right or wrong, but because the climactic cross-examination (every courtroom movie has to have a climactic cross-examination, you know) included the transformation of a nervous young woman into a strong, confident lawyer. Particularly the girls in the class seemed to respond to that.

I wasn't looking for it, really -- I was looking for courtroom scenes to point out what was being done well and what should not be done in the competition. For that, A Few Good Men provided much more fodder for analysis than the other two combined. But the emotional impact of the Legally Blonde scene was something that the girls on the team visibly responded to. In retrospect, I'm very glad I used that one because the team needs confidence more than anything else at this point. And we all have some good laughs at the funny lines. One kid had never seen A Few Good Men all the way through before, so I lent it to him. The other movies are not mine so I have to give them back tomorrow.

I've got some bright kids on this team. When I paused the movies and asked, "What objection could be made here?" they tended to get the right answers. They seemed to catch on and really "get it." I can help them with their confidence a little more, but mainly now what they need is some coaching with their examinations. Next week, I'll see what kinds of tricks they have up their sleeves -- hopefully, everyone will have learned their parts all the way through, which seems to be a challenge for the less-advanced members of the team.

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