Raising the Bar: Maximizing Engaged Student Learning Using the American Mock Trial Association Case State of Midlands v. Dylan Hendricks

Kyla K. Stepp, Jeremiah J. Castle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This short review demonstrates how the use of American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) case materials, both throughout intercollegiate competitions and in academic courses, can engage and invigorate students while teaching them crucial skills in a way that few other programs or activities can do. The AMTA case provided for the 2017–2018 academic year, State of Midlands v. Dylan Hendricks, offers a comprehensive introduction to the rules of evidence and crucial criminal law concepts while teaching students the importance of thorough preparation in a way that is difficult to do in a classroom setting. This case requires student attorneys to make difficult choices while preparing their case, witnesses, and evidence for trial. Arriving at an optimum strategy (or strategies) can only occur after critical and reasoned examination of each side of an often complex problem, thereby providing an excellent opportunity for students to use critical thinking skills and to analyze all sides of an issue and all potential outcomes of a strategy. Students must thoroughly study and understand the rules of evidence, rules of criminal procedure, and relevant statutory and case law, and be prepared to use all of these as part of a reasoned, logical argument at a moment’s notice. Overall, this is an exceptional case for skill-building and engaged learning, and can be a valuable tool for faculty and students alike.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-140
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Political Science Education
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2019

Keywords

  • Engaged learning
  • critical thinking
  • mock trial
  • rules of evidence
  • simulations

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