The Fundamentals of Our Profession

by Christal Keegan, NJC Program Attorney

On Sunday, August 2, 2014, a handful of eager judicial educators and several judges attended the day-long preconference session The Fundamentals of Our Profession. Most participants were newer to the field and/or this was their first time attending the annual National Association of State Judicial Educators Conference (NASJE), while a few were experienced and were attending the preconference session as a refresher.

The participants were greeted by NASJE president, Jill Goski, and NASJE president-elect, Kelly Tait, who discussed the foundation and benefits of belonging to NASJE, to include regional and national trainings, education resources, access to the curriculum guide, and national networking opportunities.

Mid-morning, NASJE members Ileen Gerstenberger, Manager of the Education Department at the Idaho Supreme Court in Boise, and Jeff Schrade, Director of the Education Services Division at the Arizona Supreme Court Administrative Office of the Courts in Phoenix, took the floor and introduced concepts to create quality adult-centered educational programming using the NASJE model curriculum and introduced instructional design. Before delving into their presentation, they asked the participants what they hoped to achieve at the end of the day. The participants came up with an extensive list that ranged from crafting measurable learning objectives to effectively incorporating the Kolb Experiential Learning Model in their work. The learning objectives the participants came up with were displayed throughout the class and checked off as the session proceeded.

After lunch, the participants got moving and engaged in various dynamic learning exercises involving the instructional design model to include: (i) completing the Instructional Design: The Backbone of Effective Education Course Development worksheet, and (ii) self-identifying which Kolb Experiential Learning Model we tended to associate with and then grouping ourselves by that learning model for a group discussion exercise.

The day wrapped up on an inspiring note with The Art & Science of Judicial Branch Education. The atmosphere fostered sharing of ideas and stories, which was an invaluable aspect of the program.

In conclusion, the Fundamentals session created opportunities for connecting with other judicial branch educators and provided valuable resources to be an effective judicial branch educator.