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Integrated Learning: Developing a Thematic Course and Internship Program in Washington DC
Unformatted Document Text:  meant to suggest that such programs lack ample benefits for their students. However, what I do contend is that the integrated approach allows students to examine a topic and important questions on that topic in a way that allows for greater learning, and particularly allows students to think about the topic using higher-level thinking skills. My students interned in a variety locations during the fall 2006 semester. What each of the internships had in common was a basic connection to the legal process material the students would be learning about in class. As mentioned above, students held internships at the American Bar Association in their divisions on Government Affairs and Commission on Immigration, at the U.S. Department of Justice in the Office of Media Affairs and in the Office of Policy and Legislation, at the Heritage Foundation, in the offices of senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and in the White House. The diversity of experiences provided by these positions greatly enhanced our class discussions as well as the one-on-one discussions in which the students engaged in their weekly response papers. There are several examples of original research students’ conducted that nicely illustrates the advantages of the integrated approach and which I think is much less likely to occur absent the explicit integration of student internships with the semester’s theme. The first is the work that “Sam” completed. Sam is the student I previously referenced; he interned at the Washington DC Superior Court. In our courses, we discussed the Sixth Amendment requirement that indigent criminal defendants are guaranteed legal representation. We had also discussed the need for such representation when meeting with several practitioners including Federal Public Defender Mike Nachmanoff and 9

Authors: Nemacheck, Christine.
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meant to suggest that such programs lack ample benefits for their students. However,
what I do contend is that the integrated approach allows students to examine a topic and
important questions on that topic in a way that allows for greater learning, and
particularly allows students to think about the topic using higher-level thinking skills.
My students interned in a variety locations during the fall 2006 semester. What
each of the internships had in common was a basic connection to the legal process
material the students would be learning about in class. As mentioned above, students
held internships at the American Bar Association in their divisions on Government
Affairs and Commission on Immigration, at the U.S. Department of Justice in the Office
of Media Affairs and in the Office of Policy and Legislation, at the Heritage Foundation,
in the offices of senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and in the White House.
The diversity of experiences provided by these positions greatly enhanced our class
discussions as well as the one-on-one discussions in which the students engaged in their
weekly response papers.
There are several examples of original research students’ conducted that nicely
illustrates the advantages of the integrated approach and which I think is much less likely
to occur absent the explicit integration of student internships with the semester’s theme.
The first is the work that “Sam” completed. Sam is the student I previously referenced;
he interned at the Washington DC Superior Court. In our courses, we discussed the Sixth
Amendment requirement that indigent criminal defendants are guaranteed legal
representation. We had also discussed the need for such representation when meeting
with several practitioners including Federal Public Defender Mike Nachmanoff and
9


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