Since Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia Community Legal Education Initiative (BABSEACLE) began assisting universities in the strengthening of their legal education in 2013 much support has been given, including organizing workshops related to many justice and clinical legal education (CLE) issues. A number of these workshop have been organized with the oldest university in Myanmar, Yangon University. However 2016 marked a milestone and during 27th-30th January 2016 an incredibly valuable CLE English workshop was delivered by Australian students from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with a target focus being primarily being us. We are law students from Yangon University. The four day workshop was an incredible experience for us.
During this workshop, we practiced CLE English and learnt how to apply interactive teaching methods. Through lessons which improved our English we learned much more about CLE and through learning about CLE we greatly improved our English capacity. This was all done through student centered, reflective learning practices which had a core focus on access to justice, legal ethics and lawyering skills. These methods are really effective, and we enjoyed them a lot. We acquired a lot of information on how to apply those teaching methods in our university classes and communities. The opportunity to give feedback to QUT students, by drawing lesson plans, also gave us knowledge, because we were able to measure the ability of Myanmar students to communicate with Australian students.
The teaching was not only one way but was very reciprocal. The workshop also included our teaching the QUT students Myanmar language. During this class we taught QUT students some useful words by using some CLE teaching methods, and we hope that the class was instructive for them, as well.
This workshop showed us ways to improve our skills and critical thinking. We learned about Australian culture, and shared our traditions, through a “Culture Class”, which also created a friendly atmosphere between all students. Moreover, we discovered what the life of an Australian law student is all about.
Although there were of course some language barriers and culture differences between us we got along well with each other. We hope that the QUT students also consider this as much a positive experience as we have.
Finally, we shared a delicious dinner, on the day before the QUT students went to Taungoo University and Mawlamyine University. Although those four days passed quickly, we spent a great and memorable time together, and in the end, we were sad to say goodbye. We are looking forward to participate in future CLE workshops that will continue our development, as future legal practitioners.
By Students of Yangon University Law Department