All our Street Lawyers must attend a weekend training session held at our Edinburgh office. The weekend is intense, interactive and learner centred but mainly, it's lots of fun!
Training weekends are usually held twice per year and you should contact us for further information regarding our next training event.
Street Law has been a rewarding project for the organisers, pupils and particularly the trainers themselves. Some of the students who have been involved with Street Law agreed to feedback to us on their experience. We asked them to explain why they chose to participate, their experience of the programme and what they feel they have gained from it.
What made you sign up for Street Law?
Coming into law from a slightly different angle, already having a degree, I was very enthusiastic about getting involved in something which could improve my understanding of the law in a practical manner. Therefore, the idea of being able to use my own skills to teach young people about the law appealed to me a great deal. I thought it would be a great way to improve my people skills and make a contribution towards the younger generation by affording them to be more informed.
Did you enjoy the training?
The training was great! Up until that point, I had no exposure to what it would be like to teach or how people are taught. The training allowed me to see just that and, in fact, gave me an interest in teaching - it's now something I have my eyes open to for the future!The first thing you will notice when you arrive and meet your peers is that it is a very relaxed environment. Everyone was friendly and you find yourself making friends really easily, especially with all the team working activities the weekend has! The passion of Street Law trainers definitely came across and they were excellent at providing us with all the tools we would require to teach classes ourselves. The use of various scenarios and exercises was really effective at getting me to think about all the different modes of teaching and by the end of the weekend I felt very confident about delivering my own classes. My favourite part of the training was getting to plan our own mock mini-lessons and present them to our groups. I received very helpful feedback on the lesson I gave and it enabled me to polish up any aspect of my lesson that could have been better.
You've just finished delivering your first Street Law programme, how did it go?
I really enjoyed teaching! It was great and a very rewarding experience. the students really engaged with me which was great to see, considering it was the first time I had taught anyone anything! The students were very intrigued and asked a myriad of questions which even got me thinking. I felt that my first experience really let me see just how much I know about the law and how I transfer that knowledge to others. I also really appreciated the level of flexibility we were given to create our own lessons - it was a good challenge.I got along very well with my partner and we discussed our mode of approach before every lesson and created the lessons together. We came up with our own exercises to get the students interested and working with each other and they all paid off! Prior to the start of our first lesson, the teacher explained that the class we had been assigned did not like working together and did not engage. However, by the end of that first lesson, he told us that he saw a completely different class! Hearing this really encouraged us to work on providing better and more engaging lessons and I am looking forward to visitng my next school!
What would you say to those considering signing up?
I would say don't be frightened at the thought of creating your own lessons and teaching others. The Street Law trainers really go above and beyond at the training to make you feel as confident and as ready as you can be to confidently teach your own class! You will be surprised at how much you can learn over a weekend, believe me! Secondly, I'd say be yourself and bring your own personality to the lessons and that way you'll enjoy it far more and will make the most impact! I really do think that the programme is something that is suitable for all to be involved with.
What made you want to be involved with Street Law?
I think it was largely down to the fact that until day one of my university degree, I really was not in touch with how multifaceted and colourful the law can be. Therefore I was attracted to the idea of using the skills I've learned to bring to life legal issues and encourage young people to be more informed.
Did you enjoy the training?
Very much so! Any worries that you may have prior to attending the training are instantly dispelled on meeting the highly animated and supportive Street Law trainers. The training took place over a weekend and fostered an open, positive atmosphere designed to get the best out of everyone. I particularly enjoyed getting to plan and conduct our own mini-lessons in teams. We not only received helpful feedback from the trainers and our peers, but it also gave us some really good ideas for interactive lessons to then use in the schools.
How was your first experience of Street Law?
My experience has been a fantastic one that has left me with some great memories. I have been challenged (and believe me, there is nothing more testing than the inquisitive mind a young person), but also supported by the strong network of other Street Lawyers. Me and my partners were given free rein over what we wanted to teach the class and so decided on a mix of human rights based topics alongside topical issues such as cyber bullying and assisted suicide, which generated high quality discussions.After each lesson we would analyse what worked well and what didn't and carried this forward to improve our next lessons. Seeing the class genuinly engage with what you are teaching them is a very rewarding feeling and one that I am eager to repeat!
What would be your advice to someone thinking about signing up?
First of all, you need to be sure that you can commit the time to prepare the lesson plans and attend each class. Other than that, I would recommend Street Law to anyone! I have found that as well as consolidating my legal knowledge, the experience has taught me to challenge my perceptions of law and given me confidence in my own teaching abilities.
What made you sign up for Street Law?
At first, Street Law seemed like something I could just add to my CV to show future employers that I had taken the initiative to take part in something outside of my studies. As well as this, the concept of Street Law interested me - to encourage young people to take up a career in law. The motivation I received when I was in high school to study law wasn't great, so I believe any encouragment to study law is important for those who may not have thought about it.
Did you find working in schools enjoyable?
All of the schools that I have had the opportunity of working with have been amazing. At first it seemed daunting that I was heading to a completely new school, but after the initial introduction with the class and the teacher, everything was fine. The students in the class also really enjoyed having us. Each week there were smiles on their faces and they all actively engaged in what we were discussing. This made taking part in Street Law even better. The kids may seem at first unwilling to take part, but it's the determination that you bring that enables them to fully enjoy the lesson at hand.
What did you learn about teaching - What worked and what didn't?
That everyone needs a little encouragement. Sometimes when the class seemed a bit quiet we would ask the teacher to take part and once the teacher was involved the class seemed to find humour in it and would engage with the lesson a bit better. We also found that enabling the class to have debates about different opinions worked really well - the more they spoke the better the class was. The lessons also had to be very well prepared. That's the key to having a really fun class - the more you know, the more the kids will enjoy it. You also have to be willing to communicate with your teaching partner outside of the Street Law class. I would find myself talking over Facebook with my partner throughout the week, each taking turns to create a lesson and prepare any notes we wanted to discuss with each other.
What I learned does not work in class is where the pupils are forced to answer something they don't know. We rarely did this but on occasion, we would ask them something to spark discussion. This can make them quite uncomfortable so the best way to deal with this situation is to ask your Street Law partner the question instead and they can come up with a quirky answer! Or even better, ask the teacher and see what they say!
What would you say to someone thinking about signing up?
It is definitely an opportunity not to miss out on! I have taken part in Street Law for the past two years and I only regret not taking part sooner. It has helped me to become a confident public speaker, has enabled me to develop my communication skills with my peers and has also given me the tools to present my ideas in ways which everyone can understand. As well as giving back to the students, it really does help you develop as a person and goes so much further than just being an addition to your CV.
What drew you to the Street Law programme?
I signed up to be involved in Street Law because it’s the type of program I would have enjoyed at school. Before I went to university I had very little idea of what studying law would be like and just how vast the subject is. I certainly didn’t know anyone who was studying law. Had I known someone studying the subject and been able to ask them questions I would have been far better prepared when I started the course.
I was also interested in Street Law due to the type of schools which were being targeted. I attended a school where few people go on to higher education. I believe it is important to show pupils in such schools that they are just as capable as those in higher achieving schools and that studying law is an option for them.
What would you say to encourage other students to become a Street Law trainer?
I would encourage them to sign up. I’d love to be able to do it all over again. It is a great experience which allows you not only to feel that you have benefitted the pupils but also to develop your own knowledge and presentation skills.It need not take up all that much of your time due to the number of lesson plans available to you. The program only takes a couple of hours a week so it is not difficult to find the time for it.
How do you feel you have benefitted from the programme?
I feel I am now more confident about my knowledge of the law. As I am still early on in my studies I felt that I did not have much knowledge, but when planning lessons and answering the pupils’ questions it was obvious that I knew more than I thought.I am also more confident in my own presentation skills. In the first few weeks I was nervous before going to the classes but by the end I was looking forward to them more and more.
What made you want to become a Street Law trainer?
I signed up to Street law to dispel my knowledge of the law onto others. Being that they are of age where they will soon be entering employment, renting, and facing other contractual obligations for the first-time, it is vital that these pupils understand the nature of law and how much everyday life is effected and monitored by the law. Most people assume the law to be simply about crime and punishment but I wanted these pupils to understand that the law is more than that; it is the basis of a civilised society, which is present from family disputes to property ownership to wills and succession.
What do you feel you got out of it?
I built great relationships with the pupils and the class teacher and have expressed my absolute pleasure to work with them again. I am now helping out one of the pupils to establish a debate club at the school to benefit herself, as well as others with communication and group skills. A few pupils have expressed their desire to further their education of the law and so I have offered to help with personal statements in their applications for university.
What might you say to someone who is interested in Street Law?
I would definitely recommend taking part! It has been a thoroughly enjoyable and fulfilling experience. So much so that I have furthered my street law duties to work in another school. The pupils admire and respect your opinion, an experience I had considered rare.
What made you want to become involved?
Prior to university, I had no idea what to expect from a law degree and always felt that the decision to study law was a leap of faith. Law is not an obvious career choice for many school kids because it is something that they know very little about. So I felt it was important to get into schools and share my knowledge and experiences to encourage those who had never considered law as a career and also to better prepare and inform anyone interested in pursuing law.Street Law is targeted towards schools in which going on to higher education, particularly to study law, is uncommon. I felt it was important to show that going on to further education or pursuing a career in law is not something that is, or should be, reserved to people from certain schools or backgrounds and to encourage the pupils to explore these options.
What was your highlight?
The clear highlight for me was a mock trial which myself and my teaching partner Emily taught towards the end of our teaching time. We simulated four mini courtrooms in the class and provided court robes. The pupils really got into their roles and all argued excellent cases. In particular, those who were Judges came up with excellent reasoning for their decisions and proposed ‘sentences’ that neither myself nor Emily would have dreamt they would have come up with.
In our first week, we asked the class who was interested in studying law and there was only one pupil who showed an interest. In our last class we gave a short presentation on studying law and offered leaflets which six students decided to take. It was fantastic to see that at least a handful of students had been encouraged to consider studying law in a school in which only two people went to University the previous year.
Did you enjoy being involved with Street Law?
I thoroughly enjoyed Street Law for several reasons. Firstly, working with students of all abilities in a variety of schools provided a challenge on top of the daily University routine. The process was also a very rewarding one in which the students that I worked with progressively became more and more involved in a legal way of thinking, to the extent that one of the schools I worked in enjoyed the programme so much that they integrated it into their curriculum. Lastly, working with various people across several locations allowed me to develop my professional connections, and have a greater appreciation for the teaching of law.
What do you feel you got out of your involvement?
On a personal level, I got a lot out of seeing the students I taught becoming more legally conscious than they were at the beginning of the course, as well as the progression of my understanding for handling the law in non-legal circles. On a more professional note, Street Law enhanced my proficiency with analysis and problem-solving in real life working environments, allowing me to spot critical issues in the lessons I taught and provide logical responses to questions in the classroom. The experience helped to develop my professional responsibility in teaching classes of up to 40 pupils, using a selection of IT equipment and sharing responsibility with my colleagues.
What would you say to someone interested in becoming involved?
If you’re thinking of signing up to Street Law, you might be surprised at how much you can get out of Street Law. I had a fixed placement in one Glasgow school, but branched out further to schools in Edinburgh which allowed me to compare these experiences, as well as further develop my teaching style. On the whole, the Street Law experience is a great one which can open doors for anybody with a legal background. I would thoroughly recommend the programme!