Legal Students Use Interactive Debates to Engage High School Students

Posted by on January 3, 2014

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Legal Terminology students prepare for their visit to the high school

One of the best ways to learn the material in a class is to reteach it to others. This past quarter, students in the Legal Terminology class at Minnesota School of Business-Brooklyn Center (MSB) campus visited a group of high school students at Highview Alternative High School to discuss both the criminal justice field and the paralegal field.

The visit to the high school began with the legal students sharing what inspired each of them to begin studying their particular field. Kofi Montzka, executive program chair for the paralegal program and instructor for the class, said, “The messages that my students shared were vulnerable, powerful and encouraging. I was really proud of them.”

Following introductions, the high school students learned about the criminal justice field and the paralegal field. Information about what each field is, how much school is required to obtain a degree, the types of jobs that a graduate might be interested in, and the duties that could come with those newly acquired jobs was explained. The MSB students also discussed the various types of law and how it might apply to certain situations, including self-defense and murder.

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Katie Schroeder, paralegal student

To add in an element of excitement for the young students, an interactive debate came next. The Highview students were split into groups and assigned an MSB student to act as a coach. The first debate was about a shooting that took place at a pharmacy. Everyone watched a surveillance video, and one small group put together an argument to represent the shooter while another group represented the pharmacist and argued that he killed in self-defense. The second debate dealt with a woman who shot at intruders who broke into her home. A newscast video was watched and arguments were again formed. According to Montzka, “The high school students worked really hard to come up with their arguments, and a lot of the information presented made for a great case.”

To end the visit, MSB students did a question and answer session in addition to a short quiz. Katie Schroeder, a paralegal student, said, “I really liked going to the high school because it made me challenge myself by teaching the information to other people. It helped me to realize how much I am learning in my classes.”


For more information on either the paralegal program or the criminal justice program at the Brooklyn Center campus, call 763-566-7777.

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