Sukhninder Panesar: Teaching Equity and Trusts in the 21st Century

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Pearson’s author webinar series “Memorable Teaching Moments”.

One of the most prominent academics in law with over 30 years of experience teaching equity and trusts, Sukhninder Panesar, Senior Lecturer at Worcester Law School, talks about his own challenges as a student and how these shaped his teaching of the subject, as well as the features of the latest fifth Revel edition of his textbook, Equity and Trusts. 

Panesar: Teaching Equity and Trusts in the 21st Century
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Like many colleagues of his generation, Sukhninder was the first person in his family to attend university. As part of this completely new experience, he was initially introduced to the different topics of the law during his first year in law school. It was not until his following student years, however, that he started experiencing the first challenges.

These challenges were not only in regard to his understanding of the progressively complex concepts; it was also about the expectations for an advanced level of technical understanding, despite the little amount of context shared in class.

This lack of contextual knowledge made it harder for Sukhninder to understand the direction of the law; he felt he was not included in the learning process.


The modern tutor challenges teaching equity and trusts

As a result of his personal experience, he marks contextual understanding as one of the biggest challenges facing tutors today who teach complex subjects – especially core modules such as property law or equity and trusts.

“I think one of the things we have to accept is that it is a notoriously difficult area of English law, and students are often filled with trepidation before they even start the module.”

- Sukhninder Panesar

One of the reasons equity and trusts is so complex is the lack of inclination students have towards it. Unlike other subjects such as criminal law, where its exposure on the news or social media builds a context that makes it easier to relate to, equity and property are subject matters almost alien to the average student starting law school.  

Therefore, students have little opportunity to understand even the most fundamental concepts: what a trust is, its diverse and versatile use, or why a person may want to enter into a trust situation.

Embracing the breadth and complexity of the subject, by bringing the context to the forefront as part of the teaching process, is key to helping students comprehend the nature of equity and ultimately enjoy their learning experience instead of feeling daunted by it. 

And this is where Sukhninder Panesar began his journey in writing his best-seller Equity and Trusts, which is now in its fifth Revel edition.


Introducing Equity and Trusts: elaborating the complex concepts of the subject via active learning

When he authored his textbook, Sukhninder did not want to limit its content to an outline of historical facts; instead, his intention was to focus specifically on modern equity and its context. That was one of his primary approaches to relating the essence of what is a trust to his students and addressing their uncertainty regarding the modern applications of the law. 

Once the students understand the substantive laws, they can then move on to further examining the context of modern equity and its contemporary position. With real cases embedded in their learning content, the students have the opportunity to examine why an individual may create a trust, why the case went to court, and familiarise themselves with the “hows” and “whys” of the module – even if it is not lived experience to them.

As an approach, Sukhninder tends to use the word “suppose” around the cases – encouraging the students to think critically about how the trust becomes an integral part and vehicle to achieve its purpose. He believes this contemporary inclusive approach offers a much richer experience of learning equity and trusts.

By introducing these particular cases as modern examples and setting the scene, Sukhninder engages his students and puts them at the heart of the learning process. The mini-simulations as part of Revel for this edition serve the purpose of building their confidence around the cases and prompting them to further test their learning of the law in real-life scenarios.


Teaching equity and trusts might be challenging but also rewarding – supporting a more inclusive learning experience and ensuring maximum impact

Drawing from his personal experience and with the student in mind, Sukhninder wrote Equity and Trusts, appreciating their diverse identity. Via Revel, he and his colleagues at Worcester Law School use formative assessment methods with the goal of providing an inclusive learning environment and enjoyable experience to their students.

With features and activities such as assigned chapters, followed by assessment questions with instant feedback, students can develop their critical thinking skills and practice for their exams. Due to the nature of Revel, students can also access particular exercises where physical attendance is not necessary, therefore supporting both in-class and hybrid teaching.

More importantly, Sukhninder encourages his students to raise questions and complete the assessments. This way, he can monitor their progress and identify those who have not completed the assignments and might need additional support. And he is always eager to offer it.

The Revel® edition for Equity and Trusts, 5th edition, is now available at our online store

Revel® is active learning reimagined

Sukhninder Panesar: Equity and Trusts, 5th edition Revel®

Equity and Trusts, 5th edition is now available at our online store in Revel® format.

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