All the Smart Casual modules are now freely available whenever you need them
The Smart Casual modules have been designed by law teachers, for law teachers. We hope that they will support you to enjoy and thrive in your teaching roles.
Sessional teachers play a crucial role in legal education in Australia, bringing vital skills, experience and links to professional life and postgraduate research.
Teaching is demanding and rewarding work, and professional development is part of ensuring that we can all build on our skills, reflect on our experiences and expand our repertoire of teaching strategies.
If you have used the Smart Casual resources before and would like to skip directly to the modules, please click here. Otherwise, read on for an introduction to the Smart Casual approach.
Working with the Smart Casual professional development modules
Australian legal education is diverse, and so are the roles of sessional teachers within it. Sessional teachers’ roles include providing tutoring and feedback, running seminars, giving lectures and subject co-ordination. They teach in large and small class environments, to undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate cohorts.
The Smart Casual resources focus on teaching and providing feedback to students, rather than curriculum design.
University policies relevant to your teaching are institution-specific. Please take the time to locate these policies and become familiar with the institutional framework in which you teach.
As you read, you will need to exercise your judgment about what is appropriate in your teaching team and your specific teaching context, using the facilities available to you (space, furniture, IT and other resources).
You may not know whether you have the autonomy to implement some of the strategies in these modules. If you are uncertain, we encourage you to clarify your role and level of autonomy with your subject coordinator or supervisor.
Ideas in the modules that you don’t currently have the freedom to implement may inform your understanding of your current context and influence your work in future roles.
Engaging with key issues
Each of the Smart Casual professional development modules addresses the crucial themes of:
- Digital literacy
- Gender equity
Please click on the image below for a brief presentation about Smart Casual’s engagement with these issues (or download a PDF version here).
Good teaching is a reflective practice
Effective teachers reflect on their teaching to:
- identify areas that could be improved
- create possible responses
- find resources to support their responses
- learn from their peers
- try new ideas
- learn from successes and failures
- refine their ideas in the light of experience
- continue to reflect on their teaching.
As you reflect on the content of these modules, ask yourself:
- What am I doing well in this area?
- What do I find difficult?
- What would I like to focus on improving?
The cycle of reflection on teaching
Navigating the modules
The Smart Casual modules have been devised for online use. Icons and key phrases are hyperlinked to other parts of the module or external resources (where copyright permits). You can read slide-by-slide or jump to the content that interests you.
The modules are designed to be viewed online using your computer’s browser. For information about an app for viewing the modules on an iPad please click here.
The Smart Casual professional development modules
There are nine free professional development modules in the Smart Casual suite.
Click on the images to view each module.
Finding out more
There is a body of research on teaching and learning that can support your development as a teacher. For an introduction please view the presentation below.
Research on learning and teaching