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80 Lectures Give You a Different Side of the Class | Peking University Law School Teaching Reform (2) Stepping-Up Lecture Part

At the Peking University Law School, there is a series of lectures in which the whole faculty is engaged to lead the students up the steps and into the halls of law, and the teachers are also deeply impressed by the glory of standing on the podium, feel from students, colleges, schools and even the whole society’s respect, this is the “Stepping-Up” law lecture series.  

Lectures are the most common form of academic activities held in universities. Usually mentioned lectures are those held outside the classroom to the academic frontier as the theme of academic lectures. However, in recent years, PKULS launched “Stepping-Up” law lecture series rooted in the classroom, serve in the course of “teaching lectures”. This kind of unique lecture form obtains teachers’ vigorous support and students’ welcome. Each lecture, will be published on the wechat account posters with a comprehensive review, widely praised in and outside the school. These lectures have not only been produced into a fine audio-visual, but also as a new type of lectures teaching materials to be published in the law press.



This is an important attempt by PKULS to improve the quality of courses in the context of teaching reform -- by turning closed classes into open lectures, by grasping the main breakthrough points in classes, and by focusing on improving the quality of courses. This reflects the respect for educators and attract audience inside and outside the school countlessly, realizing the flow of quality educational resources.

01 Where are the steps come from

“She” is a trilogy consisting of the Introductory Lecture, Advanced Lecture and Outstanding Lecture. By the end of 2020, PKULS has successfully held 80 lectures. Among them, 18 Introductory Lectures are designed to lead the freshmen of law and master of law to open up the academic field of law, and provide students with a leading and instructive course overview at the beginning of the semester. 22 Advanced Lectures aim to understand students’ learning status and related problems timely and efficiently and provide students with answers and methodological solutions during the semester. 40 Outstanding Lectures aim to provide advanced and speculative in-depth research for Phd students who already have an academic foundation, so as to cultivate their problem consciousness, critical spirit and keen intelligence.


This trilogy lecture series, which are just like a step-by-step process, lead the students up the steps, from the superficial to the deep, to the interior, and from the outside to the inside, to appreciate the scenery of law education. These lectures not only contain the expectation for the students to climb up the peak of knowledge, but also full of teachers’ stepping spirits in cultivating moral people silently.

02 Stepping up 

Introductory Lecture: journey of a thousand miles begins with an introduction

The initial idea for the Introductory Lecture came from careful observation of the teaching practice. PKULS has long invested heavily in undergraduate and graduate education, particularly in required courses and core courses. Teachers attach great importance to the students’ learning attitude and have achieved good teaching results. However, in practice, there are also some problems. For example, at the beginning of the course, students lack a general understanding of the course, and have some confusion about the learning method. During the process of the courses, they basically could only rely on individual, sporadic questions after the course, to realize the interactive answer of the teacher.



In order to improve the quality of teaching and in order to lay a good start for the education, PKULS offers Introductory Lectures. During the first week of school, teachers are invited to teach the basic courses of each semester, the basic methods, basic concepts and basic principles of the relevant courses. In the form of teaching, the first class will be taught from the inside closed class to an open lecture. In the course content, different from the first class only briefing the introduction to this semester’s curriculum and schedule, Introductory Lectures provide do a whole, comprehensive presentation and interpretation among relevant legal professional subject so as to guide the new law students in methodology.


September 17, 2018, Peking University “Stepping-Up” Introductory Lecture series, the first “How to learn civil law” opened

The fifth lecture of the “Stepping-Up” Introductory Lecture was conducted by Professor Qiang Shigong. The topic of the lecture is “How to learn jurisprudence”.

The tenth lecture of the “Stepping-Up” Introductory Lecture was conducted by Professor Li Qicheng. The topic of the lecture was “Learning for oneself and independent thinking”.


Advanced Lecture: answering questions, connecting the past with the future

Unlike the Introductory Lectures, which focus on the first week of school, Advanced Lectures focus on the mid-season. The purpose of this lecture is to change the past situation of insufficient, unsystematic situation, and to clear up the problems accumulated in the early stage of learning, to indicate the direction and focus of the next step, to help students overcome obstacles, so named “Advanced Lecture”.



In particular, the curriculum and the selection of topics for the advanced lectures are highly targeted. Through the preparation of questionnaires by the academic administration, students’ questions and suggestions are widely collected and classified and summarized to the teachers. Teacher will then select a representative of the problem, systematic solving the problem through public lectures.


In the Advanced Lecture, by focusing on the problem and responding to the problem, teachers have deeply and vividly completed the knowledge consolidation and confidence cultivation of the students.

The second lecture of the “Stepping-Up” Advanced Lecture was conducted by Professor Ge Yunsong. The topic of the lecture was “Three problems of studying Property Law”.

The seventh lecture of the “Stepping-Up” Advanced Lecture was conducted by Professor Deng Feng. The topic of the lecture was “Three ways to learn Economic Law”.

The eighth lecture of the “Stepping-Up” Advanced Lecture was conducted by Professor Peng Bing. The topic of the lecture was “Four key issues in studying Financial Law”.

Outstanding Lecture: keep up with the latest trends and stimulate the interest

The Advanced Lecture is a high-level lecture based on the original “Law Frontier” course. The former “Law Frontier” course is a comprehensive course for first-year doctoral students, taught by senior professor in turn. The teaching effect is good. However, in the process of the implementation of the “Law Frontier” course, the following new situations and new needs also appear. First of all, concerning the first-year doctoral students, the former “Law frontier” course is an internal course, which lacks the opportunity to exchange and discuss with the students of other grades, teachers and students of other schools and practitioners. Secondly, concerning the curriculum itself, the excellent teaching resources have not been fully developed and utilized, and the scope of benefit is narrow. For those who are eager to acquire relevant knowledge in the society, there is no effective way to obtain course information and course content.



The “Stepping-Up” Outstanding Lecture series, which was upgraded under the above initiative, has become the first time for a number of academic leaders to publish their latest and cutting-edge research results and share them with students and the community. The Outstanding Lecture series of “Stepping-Up” has played an important role in cultivating high-level academic talents, spreading academic thoughts and contributing to the rule of law.


The first lecture of the “Stepping-Up” Outstanding Lecture was conducted by Professor Zhu Suli. The topic of the lecture was “Institutional response to problems”.

The second lecture of the “Stepping-Up” Outstanding Lecture was conducted by by Professor Chen Ruihua. The topic of the second lecture is “From experience to theory of law research methods”.

The twenty-fourth lecture of the “Stepping-Up” Outstanding Lecture was conducted by professor He Weifang. The topic of the second lecture is “The rhetoric of Justice”.

The thirty-ninth lecture of the “Stepping-Up” Outstanding Lecture was conducted by Professor Chen Xingliang. The topic of the lecture is “The influence of the civil code on the criminal law and the response of the criminal law to the Civil Code”.


03 Overall enhancement of curriculum quality

Enlivening the stock: teach each course well

At the level of law education, the “Stepping-Up” lecture series is an innovative exploration of the curriculum model, aiming at the existing curriculum system, encouraging teachers to teach each class, “enliven the stock”.

As the Vice Dean of Teaching in law school, Professor Che Hao believes that the leading role and brand effect of a few reform courses are needed to promote the teaching quality of a college as a whole and to benefit students from teaching in all aspects, it requires the joint efforts of most teachers and the general improvement of the quality of most courses. A complete law education needs to cover many teachers, many courses and only through teaching each course finely can we fully train a law student. Therefore, on the basis of the success of the incremental reform, the law school further initiated the stock reform, that is, the strength point of the curriculum reform shall cover the entire existing curriculum system, “enlivening the stock” and find ways to further improve the quality of existing courses.

Based on the above considerations, along with the teaching reform, the college has designed a series of lectures on “Stepping-Up”, which combines classroom teaching with lectures, and propagandizes in advance by means of posters and website publication, making the information and content of the lectures open and transparent. In this way, not only can teachers stand on a broader and more open platform and experience their sense of honor as educators, but also students’ freedom in class can be enhanced, and everyone can make their own choices and carry out innovative learning according to their own needs, so that students generally benefit.

In the “Stepping-Up” law lectures series, the idea of setting the “step” of the course is very clear -- through the three-in-one lecture sequence of leading teaching, answering questions teaching and thematic teaching, students are able to learn at every key stage, it breaks the fixed thinking of the existing curriculum, and greatly enhances the sense of cohesion and systematization of the curriculum.

04 Honor as an educator 

“Some teachers said they were more nervous and excited to give a lecture in school, while others said they hadn’t worn a tie in years and had to wear one in the lecture”.

Peking University teachers are the pioneers in their fields. Most of them may give lectures in society, but may have never given lectures in school until their retirement since the teachers are modest and low-key and the school organization also lacks specifically for the school teachers to build a platform. However, it is precisely these large number of dedicated teachers, which constitute the main force of the teaching team and take the largest percentage of the curriculum.

Now the “Stepping-Up” lecture series, is in the full strength of the college, all-round service for college to serve the teachers in the classroom teaching and for the teaching activities for teachers publicity. In the early stage, the public and students from other colleges and universities will be attracted to attend the lectures, which will be publicized through official wechat account and campus posters. In addition, there are cooperation institutions inside and outside the school to participate in the whole course of the video production work. A summary of the lectures will be published on the law school website, China Law Review, Peking University Fabao and other public platforms to publicize the achievements of the teachers in teaching and scientific research.


Assistant to the Dean, Teacher Yan Tian, participated in the promotion of the “Stepping-Up” lecture throughout. Looking back on his work over the past few years, he was particularly impressed, “it can be said that the “Stepping-Up” lecture has mobilized the enthusiasm of all aspects inside and outside the college most extensively. Whether it is teachers, students, academic affairs, or even the audience and the media, they have all contributed to the success of the lecture in their own way. This is the embodiment of the cohesion and action of the legal community of Peking University.”

The college has invested heavily in promoting these teachers and their courses to the public, in the hope that they will feel deeply the honor of standing on the podium and being an educator, not just a scholar, feel the respect of students, colleges, schools and even the whole society, which further encourage teachers to be enthusiastic about teaching.

05 Complement each other, teaching each other

The “Stepping-Up” lecture series is distinguished from other lectures by its positioning as a teaching lecture rather than an academic lecture. In other words, it is essentially an open class for the whole school, the whole school and even the public. Such lectures require the teacher to present the best parts of each subject, not only the results of a particular study or paper, but also the teacher’s achievements in the entire subject, the content of the intensive study. If without enough academic research ability, then the teacher will also be restricted when giving such an introduction or question-and-answer lectures. At this point, teaching and research are not conflict, and can even play a complementary effect.   

Just as Professor Pan Jianfeng, Dean of the law school, pointed out, “Stepping-Up lectures are designed for students at different levels, and can be more targeted to solve students’ problems”. For students, in the “Stepping-Up” classes, the subject that the teachers teach is full of pertinence and speculative. The learning experience is refreshing, the learning pain point is well solved, and the academic feast is enjoyed one after another. At the same time, after each lecture, the content of the course is presented again in the form of a summary, which is convenient for timely review and solid mastery, and provides detailed written materials for further reflection and further improvement of the teaching effect. In addition, the writing task of the lecture summary is undertaken by the doctoral students, which provides the students with a good opportunity to practice writing and also provides a platform for them to show sharp edges.

06 Provides templates, share experiences

In addition to the honor of teachers, the quality of college courses, and the ultimate benefits of students, “Stepping-Up” lectures are also of great social significance.

At the level of teaching reform, such a model for different courses, different institutions are replicable. Each course can be structured in such a way that each teacher can provide a systematic introduction and a comprehensive mid-course answer, so every law school can rely on its stock to do the same. In this sense, “Stepping-Up” lecture series is also a bit of PKULS’s attempt to explore and contribute to the national law education.

At the same time, with the help of open lectures, the “Stepping-Up” lecture series itself is also open to sister colleges and all sectors of society. The contents of each lecture are reviewed in details, enabling an orderly flow of high-quality intellectual resources. During the outbreak, PKULS also united China Law Review editorial office and “Youzhang” reading platform to freely open the “Stepping-Up” Introductory Lecture videos to the public, in order to transfer spiritual food to the nation’s students and people from all walks of life, to contribute intellectual strength for conquering the epidemic.


Translated by Wang Jiaqi

Edited by Renee