A mock trial in the classroom is an effective learning tool to help students develop useful knowledge about the law, questioning techniques, critical thinking, and oral advocacy skills. Good mock trials will also leave student participants with an appreciation of the difficulties that judges, lawyers and juries face in attempting to present all relevant facts and legal arguments and insure the just resolution of the issues involved. This strategy can be used with students at all ability levels and with students at multiple grade levels. Mock trials can also be used in disciplines such as social science, health, science, literature, history, ethics, religion, philosophy, and world languages.
There are three goals for using mock trials:
1. To promote increased confidence, poise, oral skills, critical thinking skills and teamwork skills, plus increase proficiency in basic skills such as reading, writing, speaking, analyzing and reasoning, and interpersonal skills such as listening and cooperating.
2. To give students a better understanding of the legal system – from the rules of evidence to proper court decorum. This increases their awareness of the importance of law in a democratic society and strengthens understanding of their fundamental rights under the U.S. and Croatian constitutions.
3. Provide a hands-on experience outside (or inside) the classroom from which students can learn about law, society, and themselves. To offer students an opportunity to think about how society resolves its disputes and to measure the fairness of those decisions.
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