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Bentley Professor Mystica Alexander Named 2017 Charles M. Hewitt Master Teacher by the Academy of Legal Studies in Business
Bentley University Associate Professor of Law, Taxation, and Financial Planning Mystica Alexander has been named the 2017 Charles M. Hewitt Master Teacher by the Academy of Legal Studies in Business, the international organization of professors who teach law in business schools.
“It’s difficult to put into words the range of emotions that I felt the moment I heard my name announced as the winner of the Master Teacher competition,” says Alexander. “To have my peers award me the most illustrious teaching award in our discipline was a humbling and incredibly gratifying experience.”
The competitive process for this award involves the submission of a proposed “master class” to a group of accomplished business law professors, who then invite four finalists to compete in a live “Teach-Off” at the academy’s annual conference.
Alexander’s master class involved the use of a “flipped classroom,” which removes the lecture from the class and requires that all student preparation be done before class so that class time is spent allowing students to show their knowledge. Alexander used the flipped classroom model to teach product liability law in a "Legal Environment of Business" course. Her presentation effectively illustrated the use of technology and interactive student teamwork. Using props and colleagues who role-played students, Professor Alexander showed how her techniques help students understand how to apply U.S. law to real business situations.
Alexander says she uses the flipped classroom approach for a variety of topics. “It enables me to use 50 minutes of class time for student debate on five separate product liability fact patterns,” she says. “This gives students an interesting and fun approach to critically analyzing the legal aspects of product liability. It pushes them to focus on their critical thinking skills because for the majority of students, engaging in a debate inspires them to give their best to ‘win’ their side of the case.”
According to the academy, the international competition “highlights the best classroom teaching as it incorporates new or evolving course subject matter, cultural shifts, advances in pedagogy, or advances in teaching technology.” The competition and award honor those teachers who “strive to encourage students to become engaged in the learning process and learn from their own efforts and from each other.”
“Because students’ learning styles change over time, I believe that as educators it is essential that we continually assess our approach to reaching them so that we always bring our best into the classroom,” says Alexander.
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