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Hands-on training for teachers

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The Indiana Supreme Court and Indiana Bar Foundation have partnered to offer teachers a way to learn more about the state’s judicial system. Now in its fourth year, the 10-day program, “From the Inside Out: How Indiana’s Courts Work,” allows teachers to visit trial and appellate courts and talk with judges and attorneys about the inner workings of Indiana courts.
 

training2-15col.jpg During the mock oral argument, workshop participants argued their side of the case in front of three “judges,” while being timed and questioned, as is standard in real oral arguments. (Photos submitted)

Andy Ohmer, an 8th grade U.S. history teacher at Lincoln Middle School in Indianapolis, participated in the program two summers ago. He said that through the workshop, he learned about the Indiana Judges Speakers Bureau and subsequently invited Marion County Superior Court Judges Robert Altice and Jose Salinas to speak to a few of his classes.

Peggy Lehman, also an 8th grade history teacher, said she attended the workshop because she wanted to learn more about Indiana history and government. She said that she was able to integrate into the classroom information she learned about courts and civil rights.

“It was also fun to shock students when I told them I went to the women’s prison,” she said.


training-15col.jpg Two teachers work with a law clerk in the Supreme Court Conference Room to prepare for their mock oral argument.

Lehman said she appreciated learning more about the people who make some of Indiana’s most important decisions. “This program allowed me to see that the judges and courts are made up of real people, just trying to do the best they can for our state.”

The program, which runs June 13 through 24, accepts 20 teachers each summer and offers a $50 stipend to participants. For more information, contact Elizabeth Osborn at eosborn@courts.state.in.gov, or at 317-233-8682.•

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