Гузеева Светлана Васильевна

старший преподаватель кафедры английского языка № 2 Университета О.Е. Кутафина (МГЮА)

The article explores forming of students' communicative culture and integration of art in the process of their professional development and self-determination. The author justifies the need for using the thematic feature films which aim to impart basic principles and values of future profession.

Major challenges facing  the system of higher education today deal with its shift away from historic educational approach to cultural humanistic paradigm, from "a man of learning" to "a person of culture". The current situation can be considered as a turning point due to the fact that the theory and practice of education incorporate both the transfer of experience and personality development. Thus the reform of higher education demands solving a number of important problems such as changes in its organization and content as well as forming one's personal identity.

Following these principles students acquire key values and skills of a high-class specialist, manager or public figure. Consequently, despite improving the educational process, colleges and universities are to create conditions for students'  self-development and self-determination. The main purpose of higher education is providing the enabling developing environment which would contribute to forming a person's active position towards his/her profession.

Communication lies at the core of any activity, that is why it is crucial to develop communicative culture as one of the main skills of future specialists in any sphere. The concept of communicative culture has been determined and researched by many scientists including O. Stukalova, L. Savenkova, L. Pechko, B. Ananiev, A. Bondarevskaya and others. This article determines communicative culture as a complex characteristic of an individual including the ability to apply obtained knowledge and social skills while addressing personal and professional needs, reflecting advanced training of future specialists in different spheres.

Being a complex notion, communicative culture implies several elements and the main of them are: ability to think, ability to listen, ability to speak. All these abilities should be cultivated and improved  in certain educational environment that helps students turn the fundamental shared values into their profound personal meanings.

There exist many means and methods to develop communicative culture. In this research there will be considered  film art as an important aspect of forming communicative culture of law school students.

There are made plenty of films dedicated to legal profession. This research distinguishes a number of the most appropriate ones, allowing students to incorporate linguistic skills, reflect on global concerns of jurisprudence and moral decision of this or that character.

"The Lincoln lawyer". This film provides a better understanding between American and Russian advocacy, explains what a plea bargain is. Moreover, it makes the audience think of attorney's priorities: determining the facts of the case or just giving legal advice  and leaving it to the investigation to establish the guilt. The main character, a successful attorney doesn't believe in the innocence of the defendant because he doesn't want to examine a case in greater depth and believes only in evidence provided. His shallowness leads to the sentence for an innocent man. Thus students can notice that there violated the main principle of any professional attorney - doing everything to prevent the conviction of a person who is not guilty.

The film "Fracture" shows the struggle between a talented District Attorney and an engineer who has intentionally killed his wife. It allows to reflect on the idea that due to the existence of the loopholes in the law, people can deceive any judicial system getting acquittal in court although  they are guilty. Thus, the criminal uses the presumption of innocence to escape justice.

"12 angry men" - a classic American film depicts the work of a jury considering a criminal case. The deliberation with a foreman in charge reveals all the detail of reaching a verdict as well as problems and contradictions arising during the process.

"The judge" describes unusual for the Russian judicial system practice - a plea bargain and summary trials. It becomes clear that sometimes the sentence is determined not only by the evidence of the case but by an agreement of both parties - the prosecution and the defense. The film also makes it clear how the personality of the judge, his personal qualities and responsibility can affect the judgement. 

"Boston legal" is interesting in terms of different approaches to contentious situations and trials.

"Bridge of spies" tells about an American attorney defending a Russian spy during the Cold War. The assumption is that everybody deserves defense and this is one of the inalienable rights of an individual despite the fact that this person is convicted of a crime. Furthermore, the film not only reflects the essence of legal work, but also shows that legal skills can be of great importance even beyond the professional practice.

"Better call Saul" shows the inner conflict between law and morality, the other side of being a lawyer, including searching one's professional path.

"The People vs. Larry Flynt" makes to think whether the true legal ideals can defend utterly immoral behavior.

"Philadelphia" tells the story of an attorney who should make a choice between "personal" and "professional": can the rejection of his client as a personality become an insurmountable obstacle in the process of his defence?

"A time to kill". The film deals with a problem of bias, racial discrimination, equality before the court. It considers the possibility of using the death penalty as the capital punishment and the necessity of individual approach to each case, taking into consideration all the circumstances and intents of an accused.

"Miracle on 34th Street" depicts how the presumption of innocence should work in any state. An attorney successfully defends a client who is about to be declared insane only because of the fact that he represents himself as Santa Claus.

"The escape artist" explains the difference between two types of lawyers in Great Britain - barristers and solicitors, describes English and Scottish systems of justice, consideration of a criminal case in the Crown Court. The film refers to such important issues as imperfection of the system of justice and legal ethics.

Using the example of the film "The escape artist" there can be offered a number of exercises worked out and aimed at improving language and communicative skills as well as reflective thinking of law students. These skills, as it has been mentioned before, constitute the main components of communicative culture:

Describe the following characters. Give as much information as you can.

William Burton
Kate Burton
Margaret Gardiner
Liam Foyle
Eileen Morris
Mr. Harris

Study the words and provide proper Russian equivalents. Make your own sentences with them.

To prove the case beyond reasonable doubt
Warrant for arrest
To confirm the statement under oath
To file a complaint against a barrister
Bar Standard Board
To file an application for a silk
To defend somebody
To deserve a defence
To present a case
To have an alibi
To match the DNA with that of the suspect
Compelling evidence
Insufficient evidence
To release the defendant
To leave the dock
Cause of death
Forensic report
Double jeopardy
To give expert testimony
To convict of a crime

Answer the following questions.

What crime was Liam Foyle accused of? Why did this crime arise public interest?
Who was assigned to defend Liam Foyle? What kind of barrister was he?
Did Liam Foyle plead guilty of the crime?
Did Mr. Burton believe that Liam Foyle was innocent? Prove your point of view?
What evidence was presented by the prosecution?
What evidence was presented by the defence? How did Mr. Burton manage to make the court release the defendant?
Why did Liam Foyle decide to revenge on Mr. Burton? How did he do it?
What was the second crime Liam Foyle was accused of?
Who was assigned to defend Liam Foyle? What kind of lawyer was she? Did she hesitate before taking this case? Why do you think so?
What evidence was the defence going to present in court?
Who was assigned to prosecute Liam Foyle? What kind of lawyer was he?
Why was it so difficult for the prosecution to prove Foyle's guilt? What evidence did they have?
What arguments did Margaret Gardiner use to make the jury find Liam Foyle not guilty?
What relationships did Foyle have with Eileen Morris?
Why did Mr. Burton decide to leave for Scotland?
Who did he meet in one of the pubs? Why did he decide to follow him?
What happened in the cottage?
Why was Mr. Burton arrested? What was he charged with?
Why did Mr. Burton decide to protect his own interests in court himself?
What was his defence built upon?
What was the jury’s verdict?
Why did Margaret come to Scotland? What did she want to discuss with Mr. Burton?

Over to you section.

Would you defend a person if you knew' for sure that he/she is guilty of the crime he/she is charged with?
Why do you think Liam Foyle was following Jamie on his way back from school?
Could you justify William Burton’s own administration Of justice?
Who is the escape artist in the movie?
Which scene do you find the most thrilling?
Which actor is worthy of a reward for his/her role in the movie?

Choose one of the topics and write an essay.

Everybody deserves defence.
The escape artist. Comment on the title.
Mob law can never be justified.

In conclusion it is necessary to underline that communicative culture lies at the core of any professional activity. It can be considerably developed by integration of art in the educational process. Watching the thematic feature films and doing corresponding sets of carefully prepared exercises will contribute to students’ self-determination and proficiency.        



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Pechko L.P. Culture of a human and its development in phylogeny and ontogeny // Pedagogical education. № 2. 2009. - P. 62-72
Savenkova L.P. Humanitarization of education and innovative teaching techniques // Vestnik MGUKI. № 3 (65). 2015. - P.203.
Stukalova O.V. Models of development of the cultural-educational environment in modern higher education // Vestnik MGUKI. № 3 (65). 2015. - P. 217
Yasvin, V.A. The educational environment: from modeling to designing. M., 2001. – P. 365.