This chapter discusses the problems Langdell faced as a teacher teaching his own courses. In addition to pursuing scholarship in the original sources, Langdell provided the faculty with new models of pedagogy while responding to several problems at Harvard Law School during the 1870s. One problem was that classroom teaching remained stultifying, even though the mind-numbing recitation had virtually disappeared by 1868 when Nathaniel Holmes replaced Joel Parker on the faculty. During the 1860s the lecture had become “the principal means of instruction as the recitation was abandoned; however, it was the unaided lecture in the least commendable forms,” observed President Eliot. “The professors gave a series of lectures which constituted treatises on the several branches of the law, and gave the same lectures year after year.” Langdell responded to these problems by making three fundamental innovations implied by his vision of the law professor who cultivates academic achievement in students.
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