Derrick Bell’s Community-Based Classroom

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Professor Radice argues that Derrick Bell enhanced his participatory pedagogical approach to teaching constitutional law by intentionally creating community within the law school classroom—a community that humanized the students’ educational experience.  This essay explores three ways in which he created community: through his participatory, student-centered course structure; his social classroom environment; and his interactive self-assessments.  Over the past year, legal education has come under indictment in the media for not adequately training lawyers for practice.  Bell’s community-based classroom responds to this indictment, fusing both theory and practice in teaching doctrinal constitutional law courses that aim to transform students into competent, caring professionals.

Professor Radice’s scholarship explores how criminal law overlaps with the administrative state in regulating people with criminal convictions.  Before teaching lawyering at NYU, she taught constitutional law with Professor Derrick Bell as the 2008-2009 Derrick Bell Fellow.  Professor Radice also received a Skadden Fellowship to begin the Harlem Reentry Advocacy Project, which developed a model for representing and educating people with criminal convictions who faced legal barriers to housing, family reunification, and employment.  She graduated from Harvard Law School in 2003 and Princeton University in 1997.