Ireland Reflections 2020 — Famine and Emigration

At the end of our first day in Dublin, we spent some time learning about the impact of the potato famine on Ireland and on the world.  We visited the Jeanie Johnston, an authentic replica of a transport ship commonly used during the Great Famine/Great Hunger that is docked in Dublin and serves as a memorial to those who lost their lives in their voyages to North America.

3L student Hayden Knight remarked, “The conditions were a bit jarring, but what affected me more was the knowledge that traveling the original Jeanie Johnston was actually a carefully designed operation and the conditions were far better than on most’coffin ships’ of the time. Touring the ship impressed upon me the sheer will and desperation of the Irish people to find a better life, even if that meant sailing across the ocean and being worked to the bone upon arrival to pay for the journey.”

Let me note that the Jeanie Johnston was also the site of one of the funniest moments of the trip.  In the ship, they have mannequins on the bunks and at the table to simulate how crowded it was.  Our wonderful colleague Nadelle Grossman tried to include one of the mannequins in the conversation by handing him a piece of paper to read–we were all so tired and bleary-eyed–but it was just the pick up that the students needed!  They laughed all day about it.

The day ended with a visit to the EPIC museum. This museum blew me out of the water the first time I saw it several years ago.  As opposed to most local history museums which celebrate the heritage of those who live in an area, this museum celebrates the departure of the Irish for the rest of the world.  It talks first about why that has happened over the years–so it’s a good review of Irish history–and then focuses on the impact of the Irish around the world–in politics, art, music, literature, and science.  Micaela Haggenjos describes the tour as “an interactive museum that gave us a look at a broad overview of Irish culture, particularly through the eyes of Irish emigrants.” Hayden added, “The museum was brilliantly designed and had some of really intriguing and interactive exhibits that walked us from the period of the Great Famine/Hunger through to current day.”

Interior of the museum

I also wanted to include a picture of the Samuel Beckett (aka Harp) Bridge in Dublin–if you’ve seen the Milwaukee Art Museum, you will recognize the architect–Santiago Calatrava.  Just beautiful!

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Ireland Reflections 2020

Ireland trip group prior to flight In what seems to be the theme for this Spring 2020 Semester, we made a change in this year’s spring break trip. Instead of heading to Israel, our traditional trip for the last decade, a group of 30 students two faculty, and myself headed to Ireland and Northern Ireland for a look at Comparative Conflict Resolution. For about 10 of the students, the trip was a compliment to last year’s Israel / Palestine experience, while for many others, this was a trip of firsts.

I should note off the bat that this was a first for all of us to come home to this uncertainty and new normal. We left in early March worried about small outbreaks and came home to quarantines, home isolation and remote classes. In the vein of keeping us thinking about interesting things, though, I wanted to get the blogs going and share reflections from the students.

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Team Based Learning in ADR

Black and white photo of a group of men in gymnast uniforms in a formation where some stand on the shoulders of others.Hi all–I talked about this at the ABA meeting resource share but also wanted to blog about this in a little more detail.  Apologies for the length–do reach out if you are interested in learning more and I’d be happy to walk you through what I did.  In short, this was totally worth it and I felt like the class organization and teamwork reflected exactly what we are trying to achieve.  Let me explain:

Team-Based Learning, or TBL, is a concept that I first learned that about in an article by Melissa Weresh applying TBL in the legal writing classroom. After reading Weresh’s article, I thought it would be an interesting concept to incorporate in my Alternative Dispute Resolution course. The ability for students to work together in groups is something that I have done for years, but this added a different flavor to it as the groups were for the entire semester—allowing for developing chemistry and comfort with working with the same group members for an extended period of time (much like they will once they graduate.)

Up to this last year, I would teach the ADR course in three sections (1) negotiation, (2) mediation, and (3) arbitration. Three quizzes for each section acted as “mini-capstones” to end a section. This both allowed for a more focused assessment on the content area and a clear division between the material for the students.  But, I felt like students crammed for the one-time quiz as opposed to reading throughout the semester. Additionally, taking a whole class period to quiz the students and then time to review the quiz in the next class felt like too much time devoted to assessment versus learning.

So, I decided to try the TBL ideology.

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