Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Movie Night

Now that our son is going to bed around 7pm, hubby and I have time to watch TV or movies in the evening, so we signed up for Netflix. They have a new plan that is only $5/month and you can get two movies per month. I think it will work out well for us. I don't think we can count on being able to watch more than two movies a month, but we should be able to watch two each month, so we should get our money's worth.

Anyway, the first movie we got was The Paper Chase because I had never seen it (well, neither had hubby, but he's not going to law school). I thought it was pretty good. It felt kind of abbreviated at times -- like there was a lot left out. I didn't really buy everybody freaking out about getting good grades so they could get jobs. I mean they're going to Harvard, surely they would all be able to find jobs when they graduate. From what I have heard students at the higher ranked schools tend to be more laid back than those at lower ranked schools. But maybe I'm wrong, or maybe it was different then. Also I didn't really get why Hart threw up after the first class. Kingsfield didn't seem particularly mean. Maybe Hart had just built up Kingsfield so much in his head before law school even started that it was just too much for him to be the first one called on and not prepared.

I'm not particularly afraid of the Socratic method. In my master's program I had a professor who called on people throughout class, but he never made a big deal of it if you didn't know the answer or looked in the book, and I actually like that he did that because it really kept me focused in class. I know the socratic method is not just calling on students, but as long as the professor isn't mean about it, I think it is a good thing. It will motivate me to be prepared and pay attention in class. Also, when the professor calls on you you are forced to actually process information rather than just passively receiving it as you would in a lecture, and that helps you learn and remember it. Just like creating your own outline rather than just reading someone elses helps you learn the material. When preparing for finals in my masters program I always liked to create a study sheet which was a single sheet of paper filled with little tables and definitions and other important points that I could study from. But the real benefit of the study sheet was that in creating it I had to go through all the information from class and pick out what was important and organize it -- doing that really helped me learn it.

The depiction of the study group in the movie was clearly not very positive, but that obviously would vary a lot depending on who you group up with. I tend to prefer to work alone, so I would probably not join a study group anyway, but I also think they were wrong to try to divide up the work the way they did. The main purpose of a study group, as I see it, is to give you the opportunity to discuss the material with eachother, which is another way of actively processing it and which can also help you learn and remember it. For example I have found that I remember things better after I have explained them to someone else.

So, as you can tell, I was mostly watching the movie for its depiction of law school. From what I had heard, I thought it was going to be more negative than it was, so actually I was pleasantly surprised. And now when people bring up The Paper Chase (e.g. at admitted students events), I will get the references.


Andrew Flusche said...

Honestly, I've never seen The Paper Chase. A couple people have mentioned it here and there, but I've never really felt left out. Maybe I'm an oddball.

A great way to get free movies is from redbox. They have new releases, and you rent them for $1/day, but you can get free promo codes to get the first day free. As long as you return it the next day, you pay nothing. I wrote about it a while back. We've gotten 3-4 movies this way, without paying a cent!

Finally, I think you're spot-on about the Socratic method. Calling on students helps the entire class be more lively and not just one person droning on. It may be scary on day 1 of law school, but it's no big deal.

Take care,

saramel said...

Thanks for your comment Andrew. I saw your post about the redbox and we have one at the grocery store we go to, but I didn't really see any movies in there that I wanted to see. It seems like they have a very limited selection.