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Rosen's article touted by Institute for Law Teaching and Learning


March 02, 2012

Professor Corie Rosen’s article titled, “Creating the Optimistic Classroom: What Law Schools Can Learn From Attribution Style Effects,” was named the article of the month by the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning.

Rosen’s article focused on giving both written and oral feedback to students using the lens of cognizant optimism in order to promote maximum potential. She argues that teachers can use language to shape classrooms, making them less about the grades and more about finding the answer.

“I am very passionate about helping students achieve the most they can,” said Rosen, who has been researching student learning since she was a law student.

While studying positive psychology and learned helplessness, Rosen found that the way people rationalize things to themselves can be very negative. They believe that things are permanent, pervasive and personal. For example, students who get a bad grade believe that they are poor students, they always have been, and that there is no hope or change.

However, Rosen proposes that teachers frame their feedback in the positive attribution style.

“We can encourage students not performing well in class through a lens that is temporary, hopeful and specific,” Rosen said.

This way, setbacks are temporary, students are given specific targets to work toward understanding material at a deeper level and they remain hopeful.

Rosen said that she hopes people reading the article will use it in interactions with students and in giving feedback. In doing so, students will have the skills to think about their failures and what they can do differently the next time to be successful.

She published a follow-up article in the Nevada Law Journal last fall titled, “The Method and The Message.”

Rosen spoke on the topic at a conference in Berlin last summer and has since been contacted by Flinders Law School in Australia about using her research in their mentor training.

To read the article click here.

Rosen, also professor of academic theory and lecturer in law, teaches courses in legal analysis and introductory legal reasoning. Her research interests include learning theory, cognitive psychology and media law.