For more than 20 years, the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) has engaged with a variety of justice sector actors on rule of law reform in Tajikistan, including recent efforts to raise the standards of legal education. The Legal Education Reform Program connects Tajik educators with their colleagues in the U.S. In June 2017, ABA ROLI Pro Bono Legal Specialist and Canyon County, Idaho Prosecutor, Bryan Taylor, shared his expertise and experience with Tajik educators from the Ministry of Interior (MOI) Academy in Dushanbe. The Academy plays a critical role in legal education by providing a comprehensive four-year legal education to future investigators and law enforcement professionals.
Taylor has been a frequent and important contributor to ABA ROLI’s Legal Education Reform program. By combining his legal knowledge as Canyon County prosecutor with his background in adult learning theory as an adjunct professor at Concordia University School of Law in Boise, Idaho, Taylor helped to provide a comprehensive training course.
The training course provided instruction to professors on adult learning theory and on teaching and providing feedback to students using innovative strategies and methods. The training was also intended to prepare the professors to train their colleagues in the MOI Academy on these strategies. Ultimately, the program aimed to provide participants with a foundation in adult education principles, creating effective learning environments, promoting participation and interaction and delivering effective feedback.
Taylor was recently honored for his pro bono contributions at ABA ROLI’s Annual Rule of Law Luncheon in New York City on August 14, where he received a 2016-17 International Rule of Law Pro Bono Award, along with one other individual and a law firm.
A central theme of Taylor’s training is the “cycle of instruction,” which aims to create and implement an effective learning environment. The cycle posits that learning is best promoted when participants can acquire skills in the context of real-world problems, incorporate prior knowledge as a foundation for new skills and then demonstrate and reflect on their newly acquired skills. Participants put this into action when they designed and delivered a presentation to their fellow trainees where they applied the learning techniques taught throughout the course.
Training participants remained engaged throughout the three-day session and are eager to use these new skills during the upcoming academic year. Participants such as Tojinisso Khabirova said, “I very much liked the diversified approach of the training. Taylor provided us with both practical approaches and professional advice, as well as with information for the future, which can be used while improving myself as a teacher. The blurring of (the) distinction between teacher (Bryan) and students (participants) really helps a lot to learn and apply knowledge at same time.”
Newer professors, such as Evgeniya Sotnikova, said the training also provided significant value to their work. “I have very little teaching experience, therefore this training was an important discovery for myself. These three days were full of practical knowledge on how to conduct classes to attract my students’ attention. This training proves that teaching is always about looking for new approaches (to) self-perfection of both teacher and student.”
ABA ROLI’s Legal Education Reform program is supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement.
To learn more about our work in Tajikistan, please contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at firstname.lastname@example.org.