In the rapidly changing policy environment of today's Uzbekistan, making legal topics accessible, relatable, and understandable to everyday people is critically important to the country's progress towards a more democratic and open society. Recognizing that need, Tashkent State University of Law (TSUL) has partnered with Street Law, Inc.—a US-based civic education NGO—to launch an innovative new public legal educational program known as "Street Law." Through this program, law students are trained to teach practical law-related lessons to secondary school students in their community.
The defining characteristic of this program is the interactive teaching methodology on which every lesson is built. Through learning techniques such as moot courts, mock legislative hearings, role plays, debates, and more, secondary school students not only learn legal content matter but also practice the skills they need to effectively interact with the democratic processes and institutions of their communities. Throughout the classes, the secondary school students are empowered to form and defend their opinions, challenge assumptions, and respectfully discuss and disagree with their fellow classmates. In the interactive environment of the classroom, the students create and experience democracy and civic participatory in action.
In this workshop session, we will demonstrate one of the interactive lessons being taught at the Street Law program at TSUL. Rather than simply learning about the TSUL program and its innovative teaching pedagogy, workshop participants will experience first-hand the interactive teaching style on which the TSUL Street Law program is built. Just like the school students in Tashkent, participants will be challenged to use their critical thinking, decision making, and persuasion skills to solve an interesting civic challenge.
After the lesson, we will lead a debriefing discussion on how the interactive teaching style and student-centered pedagogy builds not only knowledge of important civic and legal concepts but also the skills and confidence that students and community members need to practically put that knowledge to use. Finally, we will discuss the other ways in which these teaching methodologies are being used around Central Eurasia and the impact that they are having on students, schools, and communities.