Canadian law faculties 'like psychotic kindergartens'

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Le1bn1z
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Canadian law faculties 'like psychotic kindergartens'

Postby Le1bn1z » Tue May 18, 2010 1:36 pm UTC

From the Guardian, in the U.K., citing a prof. emeritus of law at Western Ontario, a very reputable Canadian law school:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/201 ... -education

Spoiler:
Improbable research: Canadian law faculties 'like psychotic kindergartens'

A professor of law in Canada likens his own country's law faculties to 'psychotic kindergartens'

A mighty steam organ of an article, adorned with the title University Legal Education in Canada is Corrupt Beyond Repair, blasts forth in the October 2009 issue of the scholarly journal Interchange. It's the handiwork of Robert Martin, professor of law, emeritus, at the University of Western Ontario.

Martin warms up with a little tune about university students: "Each fall, a horde of illiterate, ignorant cretins enters Canada's universities. A few years later, they all move on, just as illiterate, just as ignorant and rather more cretinous, but now armed with bits of paper, which most of them are probably not able to read, called degrees."

Then, in deeper tones, Martin sounds off about universities: "Canadian universities are closed and fearful institutions, which actively enforce uniformity on their members."

Queen's University, he writes, in 2008 "announced that it would establish a cadre of students to spy on other students. These weasels, to be given the chilling and vacuous title 'dialogue facilitators', would eavesdrop on the conversations of other students and, were anything blasphemous or heretical to be said, intervene to steer the conversation in an acceptable direction."

With the mood now established, Martin lets loose with his central theme – legal education: "When one observes a dismal current reality, there is a tendency to assume that there once existed a golden age. The best that can be said is that there was, in the 1950s and 1960s, a bronze age. During this period, some Canadian law faculties managed to reach the level of second-rate American law schools."

Here, as in the rest of his article, Martin sprinkles in a few specific examples. One, especially, provokes thought:

"In 2001, the Dean of the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law decided to transform it into a 'truly great global law school'. As part of achieving this goal, annual tuition fees were to be raised to $20,000 and beyond. The decision of the Law Faculty to pattern itself after a Wal-Mart outlet had certain, predictable consequences."

(Martin's point here is more complex than I could quite follow. He undoubtedly knows that we know that the whole point of shopping at a Wal-Mart store is the fantastically low – not high – prices.)

"The other Ontario law faculties," Martin continues, "brought their fees into line with those at the University of Toronto. Given the wretched quality of the 'education' being offered, fees at this level are both extortionate and fraudulent. If tuition fees were to bear any resemblance to the inherent quality of what was being purchased, they would likely be set at the level of $12 per year."

Martin brings everything to a rousing conclusion that, one way or another, pretty much explains everything:

"There are two phrases that can be used to describe every law faculty in Canada. The phrases are: 'feminist seminary' and 'psychotic kindergarten'."

(Thanks to Martin Gardiner for bringing Professor Martin to my attention.)

• Marc Abrahams is editor of the bimonthly Annals of Improbable Research and organiser of the Ig Nobel prize


Outstanding article. My Grandmother, in particular, felt very vindicated.

While overstated, I can attest to illiterate and semi-litterate students in Canadian universities. Then again, since universities are so unsuited to teach the ABC's, why are they allowed out of high school to begin with?
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Re: Canadian law faculties 'like psychotic kindergartens'

Postby The Reaper » Tue May 18, 2010 6:52 pm UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:Then again, since universities are so unsuited to teach the ABC's, why are they allowed out of high school to begin with?
Welcome to America.

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Re: Canadian law faculties 'like psychotic kindergartens'

Postby Vieto » Tue May 18, 2010 9:00 pm UTC

All the smart ones go into Science, Engineering, and Mathematics. :P
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Re: Canadian law faculties 'like psychotic kindergartens'

Postby sje46 » Fri May 21, 2010 11:03 pm UTC

Vieto wrote:All the smart ones go into Science, Engineering, and Mathematics. :P

No, the mindless, soulless calculators go into Science, Englineering, and Mathematics. These people can't write an essay worth a damn.

Oh, sorry, that was a baseless stereotype used to disregard millions of people's interests and careers.
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Re: Canadian law faculties 'like psychotic kindergartens'

Postby netcrusher88 » Sat May 22, 2010 6:34 am UTC

sje46 wrote:
Vieto wrote:All the smart ones go into Science, Engineering, and Mathematics. :P

No, the mindless, soulless calculators go into Science, Englineering, and Mathematics. These people can't write an essay worth a damn.

Oh, sorry, that was a baseless stereotype used to disregard millions of people's interests and careers.

I see what you did there. I wonder if Martin would.

Speaking of, his derision of law schools as "feminist seminaries" speaks volumes about his motives. Or maybe it doesn't and it instead speaks volumes about his intelligence. I certainly think it's significant.
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Re: Canadian law faculties 'like psychotic kindergartens'

Postby Woopate » Sat May 22, 2010 7:09 am UTC

I'd like to attest to Canadian student illiteracy. Just for kicks, I wrote an essay for a friend in university (not law, but still second year university, and I was fresh out of high school.). Given only the topic of the essay, zero research, and little forethought, my score was 30% higher than her average mark(she thanked me profusely). The writer of this article uses a lot of hyperbole, but the message he's trying to get across is a valid one. I like this quote:

Rob Martin wrote:For many years I taught a course called "Media Law" ; the central concept in this course was freedom of expression. Students were hostile towards freedom of expression. Whenever I argued in favour of it, the students’ reaction was exactly what I would have expected had I been advocating sexual relations between adults and children.

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Re: Canadian law faculties 'like psychotic kindergartens'

Postby elrooto » Sat May 22, 2010 7:50 pm UTC

Woopate wrote:I'd like to attest to Canadian student illiteracy. Just for kicks, I wrote an essay for a friend in university (not law, but still second year university, and I was fresh out of high school.). Given only the topic of the essay, zero research, and little forethought, my score was 30% higher than her average mark(she thanked me profusely). The writer of this article uses a lot of hyperbole, but the message he's trying to get across is a valid one. I like this quote:

Rob Martin wrote:For many years I taught a course called "Media Law" ; the central concept in this course was freedom of expression. Students were hostile towards freedom of expression. Whenever I argued in favour of it, the students’ reaction was exactly what I would have expected had I been advocating sexual relations between adults and children.
An isolated example does not a pattern make.

There could very well be problems with the level of literacy students possess at Canadian universities, but you'll need a bit more evidence than that to convince me.

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Re: Canadian law faculties 'like psychotic kindergartens'

Postby G.v.K » Sat May 22, 2010 10:43 pm UTC

People arrive at university after completing lengthy processes, which we call education, of idiotisation and moronification.


i'm gonna remember that one. :)

this article is playing up to my biases though cos i suspect the whole project of modern mass education has been a shambles. did the good professor suggest any solutions in his paper?

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Re: Canadian law faculties 'like psychotic kindergartens'

Postby 4=5 » Sun May 23, 2010 12:50 am UTC

Rob Martin wrote:For many years I taught a course called "Media Law" ; the central concept in this course was freedom of expression. Students were hostile towards freedom of expression. Whenever I argued in favour of it, the students’ reaction was exactly what I would have expected had I been advocating sexual relations between adults and children.

This is a vacuous anecdote. Without giving the specific examples that the students decided differently than the teacher on, "freedom of expression" can mean many different things.

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Re: Canadian law faculties 'like psychotic kindergartens'

Postby Woopate » Sun May 23, 2010 4:26 am UTC

4=5 wrote:
Rob Martin wrote:For many years I taught a course called "Media Law" ; the central concept in this course was freedom of expression. Students were hostile towards freedom of expression. Whenever I argued in favour of it, the students’ reaction was exactly what I would have expected had I been advocating sexual relations between adults and children.

This is a vacuous anecdote. Without giving the specific examples that the students decided differently than the teacher on, "freedom of expression" can mean many different things.


Yeah, I suppose your right. For all we know he could have been advocating people using 4chan language.

As for evidence beyond my single anecdote, I'll get back to you in a year.

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Re: Canadian law faculties 'like psychotic kindergartens'

Postby Le1bn1z » Fri May 28, 2010 7:14 pm UTC

The actual article writen by the author is even funnier.

You can read it, here

In it, he comes out swinging at feminist legal thought, law-school reform, America, Americanism, government non-regulation, the Liberals, the Conservatives, the Communists and the legal profession.

I am now fairly certain that if this guy is not, in fact, Sir John A. MacDonald reincarnated, he was at least a member of the original Old Tory caucus. Hilarious.
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Re: Canadian law faculties 'like psychotic kindergartens'

Postby Azrael001 » Fri May 28, 2010 7:21 pm UTC

I don't have time to read these right now, but I want to later.
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Re: Canadian law faculties 'like psychotic kindergartens'

Postby aleflamedyud » Fri May 28, 2010 11:43 pm UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:The actual article writen by the author is even funnier.

You can read it, here

In it, he comes out swinging at feminist legal thought, law-school reform, America, Americanism, government non-regulation, the Liberals, the Conservatives, the Communists and the legal profession.

I am now fairly certain that if this guy is not, in fact, Sir John A. MacDonald reincarnated, he was at least a member of the original Old Tory caucus. Hilarious.

I'm quite disappointed. The article was rather light on evidence and had nothing to say about Communists.
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Re: Canadian law faculties 'like psychotic kindergartens'

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Sun May 30, 2010 6:36 pm UTC

Whilst the article is Hilariously hyperbolic, and the guy sounds like an angry old coot (which he quite possibly is); He does have some very good points, not least that moving legal eduation out of the hands of the legal profession probably wasn't a bright idea.
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