I’d like to discuss one last concept that students can leverage to understand law more effectively. This concept is cognitive schema theory (CST). Like the other topics I’ve discussed in this series, CST is widely accepted in educational psychology.
Like self-regulated learning, CST is a subset of constructivism. Constructivism holds that real learning happens when students make a concept their own by actively discovering knowledge using their own reasoning processes. It embodies the old maxim that instructors should be the “guide on the side” instead of the “sage on the stage.” The problem, as I’ve noted before, is the misguided impression that instructors are indeed there to be the sage on the stage and that the sage is obliged to make doctrine and schema effortlessly obvious.
So, what is CST, and how can it help?