Case Conferences
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Format for Case Conferences

In groups of four to six students, with one instructor facilitating, each author has about 25 minutes of discussion on her case:

  • 10 minutes--case author presents her case
  • 5 minutes--author's partner provides commentary
  • 10 minutes--peers discuss the case

The case conferences were really helpful. I had a bunch of ideas, it was a case of this and it was a case of that. It was about fourteen different cases! But for the conference I had to figure out what to say to people in ten minutes that got at the essence, which helped me figure out that talking about the unit as a whole wouldn't work. And I think also, one person said, "It seems like you are really focused upon these two Wednesdays; why don't you just write about that?" So I think that helped me narrow my case down.

Trying to figure out "what is this a case of?" was also really helpful. I had some ideas, but other people had concrete suggestions which was really helpful--was it a case of intellectual honesty, of good teaching, of organization of my subject matter, or what was it a case of? And then I really started to think about how Bruner related, as well as what other concepts of the course might relate.

Finally, having different voices, and different understandings of what we were learning in the course really helped. I had really latched on to Bruner, but other people had latched on to Perkins or other theories. So it was helpful to have them ask, how does this relate to this theory, or that theory?

--Sonya, STEP '00 student

Suggestions for Facilitators

In our guidelines for the first case conference, we suggested that students might concentrate upon asking clarifying questions, making connections to possible relevant readings or concepts, and helping the case authors develop theory-based interpretations of their experiences.

In our guidelines for the second case conference, we suggested that facilitators urge students to discuss the question "What is this a case of?" hence perhaps sharing alternative interpretations and "readings" of the presenting author's case. We also suggested the student audience keep in mind and consider discussing three kinds of connections:  to other cases (their own, others in the course, cases they'd read);  to practice; and to the theory and concepts in our course.

Copyright 2000, Karen Hammerness, Stanford University. All the material contained on this site has been produced by Karen Hammerness, Lee Shulman, Linda Darling-Hammond, Kay Moffett, and Misty Sato. These materials can be downloaded, printed and used with proper acknowledgement, including the name and affiliation of the authors and the web-site addess.

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