A University of Birmingham legal Fellow has been named the 2020 winner of the prestigious Oxford University Press Law Teacher of the Year.
The judges selected Emma Flint who is a Fellow in Learning and Teaching at the Birmingham Law School for displaying exceptional teaching and educational research/legal pedagogy, plus the positive feedback she received from her students and academic colleagues.
She was also praised for ‘Connecting Legal Education’, for the international legal education community of practice, that she co-created in March 2020 at the height of the pandemic to support academic colleagues with the pivot online and other aspects of legal pedagogy.
Emma was nominated by her law students, recognising her “humour, personality, and approachability”, and her “passion for learning and teaching that is infectious”. Her law students especially felt that Emma is “a one of a kind lecturer that deserves recognition for her work”. Emma’s Birmingham Law School colleagues praised her educational expertise, legal pedagogical research and mentoring skills. Emma’s teaching (both live via Zoom and asynchronous via Canvas, the University’s virtual learning environment) was observed during a rigorous judging process, which also involved interviewing Emma’s students and peers.
Emma Flint, Learning and Teaching Fellow, said: "I am delighted to be recognised by Oxford University Press as Law Teacher of the Year 2020. I genuinely love teaching law and feel incredibly lucky to be able to do so. I get the opportunity to be creative, innovative and learn from some of the best brains in the legal academy, particularly from my students”.
Professor Lisa Webley, Head of Birmingham Law School, said: “Birmingham Law School is very proud that Emma Flint has been recognised as the Oxford University Press Law Teacher of the Year 2020, all the more so knowing that she was nominated by our students.”
Emma’s nomination highlighted the various teaching methods Emma uses to engage the classroom, including her use of technology, such as Padlet, Poll Everywhere, Zoom and Twitter. “Just by being herself”, Emma’s students are “always motivated to actively listen and ask questions”, creating an environment where there is “no barrier or feeling of ‘inferiority’”. Students described Emma’s ability to encourage them to “think for themselves”, and “learn to make informed choices”, whilst also providing “a mechanism for her students to be assessed in areas of law that they have a passion for and using innovative and creative formats (such as blogs, videos, posters, Legal Design project work) beyond the traditional essay/problem question format.”
Emma is also part of the law school’s CEPLER employability team and has hosted events with lawyers from practice and worked with the Careers Network to help support her students improve their employability skills. She has also developed the Law Talker community of practice for students, an initiative where she works with her students in collaboration as ‘co-partners’, so they can act as peer mentors and credited in the nomination as “perhaps Emma’s biggest achievement”.
Further to this Emma has also published articles and book chapters on the use of social media, case-based learning, and e-portfolios within law schools. In 2021, she has forthcoming journal articles and a book chapter in an edited collection on how creative pedagogies, authentic assessment and legal design can improve legal education. She currently works with the Higher Education Futures institute (HEFi) at the University in conjunction with their Beacon UKPSF professional recognition scheme and contributing to teaching on the PGCert/professional development programmes.
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- To find out more about Connecting Legal Education, which is open to all legal academics (from the UK and internationally) to join, please do contact Emma Flint or one of the other CLE co-leads.