Involving High School Students in AIU Law Studies

Since 2022, Prof. Tetsuya Toyoda has been inviting high school students to take part in his international law and other law courses by way of online workshops. These workshops expose high school students to important legal topics to help them see the importance of discussing them in English while also giving AIU students an opportunity to solidify their understanding of the subject matter through communication.

Prof. Toyoda has already organized and conducted four online workshops with high school students:

  1. “Law in International Society” on December 7, 2022
  2. “International Organizations Today” on July 14, 2023
  3. “Japanese Constitutionalism in Global Contexts” on December 7 and 12, 2023
  4. “International Law in Crisis” on Monday, December 11, 2023
Screenshot of “International Law in Crisis” (workshop)

Background: the importance of communication skills in law education today

The Internet has shifted the focus of higher education from the accumulation of knowledge to the development of communication skills. For example, in the last century, law students struggled to memorize key articles of the UN Charter or other legal texts. Today, these articles are readily available on the Internet. After mastering the specialized vocabulary, today’s law students should spend most of their energy using the legal texts in oral and written arguments rather than simply memorizing them. The priority for law students in their undergraduate years has become the acquisition of academic and professional communication skills.

Why extend the academic conversation to high school students?

In the international law course at AIU, students follow four steps in their learning: 

  1. acquiring the basic concepts and logic of international law, 
  2. applying the basic logic of international law to concrete cases (studies of case law in international trade and other international legal disputes), 
  3. critically analyzing recent articles published in academic journals such as the Asian Journal of International Law, and 
  4. sharing their learning with a wider audience, e.g. high school students!

The involvement of high school students has become part of AIU students’ learning of international law. It gives them the opportunity to practice their academic and professional communication by conveying concepts from the course to a less-experienced audience in a way they can understand.

Sub-committee system of discussion

Each of these workshops adopts the sub-committee system of discussion. Participants are divided into small groups (“sub-committees”) and assigned to work on a more specific topic within the overall topic of the workshop. After group discussions, each group submits a written report to the plenary meeting and all members take part in the discussion there.

Join the workshops 

The following future workshops are scheduled:

  1. “International Institutions and Sustainable Development” on November 29, 2024 at 16:15-18:00
  2. “Beyond International Law” on February 26, 2025 at 16:15-18:00

Calls for participation will be posted on the AIU website. For questions, please contact Prof. Toyoda.