Quinn-Leering & Hudson (1996) were able to report that the strategy "has been increasingly advocated for preparing prospective teachers" (p.26) (author's italics). They further observed that "dilemma-based pedagogy (is) intended to provide students of teaching with opportunities to recognize specific events as problematic, gain an understanding of them; reflect on them and on the consequences of action, and devise sensible, moral and educative ways of acting in doing so" (p.26). An outpouring of articles and books on case study methodology continued in the 1990's so that by the end of the period, Wineburg (1998) could call it "The decade of the case study." In listing the advantages of case study methodology, Kuntz and Hessler (1998) outline the following : 1. Utilizes higher order skills 2. Applies theoretical knowledge to classrooms, schools and the wider community while questioning the assumptions underlining theories 3. Uses self analysis skills 4. Enlightens students to the complex nature of teaching 5. Permits students to analyze educational and societal issues As we enter the new century, three studies are worthy of attention. In 2004, Kunselman and Johnson reported, "The case study method as an active learning tool provides students with a variety of important skills necessary for success both in and out of the classroom. Specifically, active learning helps students develop problem-solving, critical reasoning and analytical skills, all of which are valuable tools that prepare students to make better decisions and become better students and ultimately better employees" (p.92). In the same year Haley (2004) concluded, "If teacher education programs are truly seeking tools for filling the gaps and improving teacher education training, this project indicates that case based instruction and student portfolios are highly appropriate. Using case based instruction as the primary methodology ... allowed students to match specific theory ... and research" (p.297). Brooke (2006) shared results of an interesting and unique study. The author, working with online students, utilized the case method of instruction with success concluding that "the case method is a didactic, pedagogical approach for promoting learning in the virtual classroom" (p.146). Furthermore, the author noted "cases are highly motivating" (p. 146). This author would like to add that students relish participation in case studies. They enjoy the practicality and fun of the real world of teaching. This permits them to interact in a positive fashion to build their knowledge in the domain of school smarts. The Villanova Experience
At Villanova University, a highly selective institution located in the suburbs west of Philadelphia, students in the teacher education program have shown themselves to possess excellent content area knowledge, ethical values, decision making, critical thinking skills, a strong work ethic, and interpersonal skills--all important prerequisites to successful teaching. However, they often lacked "School Smarts." The latter defined by this author as the special
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- Spring '14
- The Land, Casebook method