The Question of the Problem-Based Learning Role in Legal Education

Author Name(s): Elena M. Ibragimova, Liliya T. Bakulina, M arat G. Ibragimov
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It is justified in the work that at the present stage of social and economic development, problematicity becomes the norm of professional activity. The basic requirements for the modern model of education in higher school are highlighted, based on the analysis of the main expectations of employers from graduates of the higher law school, and also based on the framework laws of pedagogy. Studying modern models of teaching (problematic, project-based, developing, contextual, modular-based, concentrated) made it possible to reveal that they are united by the idea of problematicity. In this connection, the thesis on the prevailing role of the problematicity principle in the system of legal education as an objectively necessary condition for the implementation of the requirements of the competence approach is substantiated.

It is proved that in the modern system of legal education, problem-oriented learning should be considered as a system basis, the basic type of education, within which it is possible to integrate pedagogical capabilities and other learning technologies. The main links of problem-oriented learning with the requirements of practical orientation of training are revealed, as well as the strengthening of the role and place of independent work of students. It is shown that the latter can act as a means of developing the creative potential of a learner while observing certain organizational and pedagogical conditions: integration of the factors of independent work, problems and multimedia presentations; step-by-step (depending on the degree of the teacher’s participation, on the one hand, and on the ratio of reproducing and creative processes in the activity of the learner on the other) formation of the experience of the independent creative activity of the students.


Employers report on an insufficient level of general cultural and professional competencies among graduates of the higher legal education system, which does not allow them to effectively carry out professional activities without a long period of adaptation. According to the Levada Center, “experts, including employers, recognize that Russian students lack skills of a higher order, they need to be taught not to retell profile theories, but to reason, independently find solutions in difficult, non-routine circumstances, to master a new infor

mation – it is these skills that form the potential for adaptation, transformation of a professional employee’s capital in the conditions of a changing technological and organizational environment “[1, p. 166]. Researchers of higher legal education problems emphasize the fact that the formation of readiness for students to see and solve problems today is put on the list of priority tasks [2; 3, p. 8-9]. Today, the work of a lawyer requires not so much adaptation to the professional tradition, but the ability to respond to new situations, analyze and solve problems; the research approach to a problem situation becomes dominant, and the problematicity itself becomes the norm of professional activity. . . “[4, p. 15].

As we see, both employers and researchers in the field of higher legal education note the need for specialists with competencies which composition and level would allow them to see and identify problems and find solutions in their professional activities. Due to the high speed of changes occurring in the professional and social environment, problematic situations are increasingly emerging in the activity of a lawyer, so that the ratio of standard and non-standard situations tends to increase the proportion of problem situations.

From the point of view of the requirements for the system of legal education, this means that it should be oriented towards developing the creative potential of students and graduates, developing their skills to solve problems arising in professional and social activities. The key element of the experience gained by the students in the system of legal education is not only and not so much a system of legal knowledge, but the well-formed problem thinking which is understood as the process of discovering new knowledge by posing problems and solving them [5].

However, analysis shows that, despite the introduction of a competence approach that requires the use of active and interactive forms and methods of teaching, in the real mass practice of the higher law school, teaching technologies focused on the formation of students’ experience in executing and reproductive activities continue to dominate. This is manifested in the fact that content of the majority of textbooks and teaching aids also focused on the implementation, mainly, of the information function of education. Didactic mechanisms aimed at implementing the developmental function of education are reflected in them either partially or completely absent.

As a result, the system of legal education has faced a contradiction between the new requirements for future specialists, that are proposed by the Federal State Educational Standard of Higher Education introduced and the knowledge economy (strengthening the pragmatist orientation of the educational process, ensuring motivational involvement of students in the educational process, and formation at learners the competences allowing to see, identify and solve problems in professional and social activities) and lack of readiness of high school teachers for the implementation of these requirements.

One of the pedagogical ways to resolve this contradiction is a broader and more targeted use of problem-oriented learning in the system of education of future lawyers. The purpose of this study is to provide a rationale for the role and place of problem-oriented learning in the system of legal education.


The creation of problem-oriented situations in the process of teaching in order to form various competences becomes one of the main didactic means in modern education. Moreover, we draw attention to the fact that this takes place in learning, regardless of which learning technology is implemented in a particular case. So, if it is realized as the main personal-oriented technology of learning, then problem situations are created that actualize personal aspects in learning; in the technology of contextual learning, situations are created that set the professional and social contexts and require students to be active in the development of new knowledge (cognitive activity), a new way of communicating (communicative activity), etc.

Problem-oriented learning creates favorable opportunities for integration: the forms of organization of learning (slide lecture, computer workshop, lecture-discussion, seminar-discussion, etc.), general scientific and professional training, knowledge, skills and attitudes, theory and practice, learning content and process.

In modern pedagogy the tendency of integration of problem-oriented learning with other technologies is very clearly traced. It manifests itself in the development of such areas as: problem-situational-based, problem-activity-based, problem-module-based, problem-project-based, problem-targeted, problem-play-based, problem-integrative, problem-training, problem-model-based learning, etc.


The results of the research show that problem-oriented learning contributes to the effective formation of the creative experience of a future lawyer, teaches the complex art of solving problems, raises the level of readiness for successful behavior in a highly competitive professional environment. Therefore, we believe that problem-oriented learning at this stage in development of the higher education system acts as a basic type of learning and an adequate didactic means of implementing a competence approach in the system of legal education.


The work is carried out according to the Russian Government Program of Competitive Growth of Kazan Federal University.


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