Guidelines for First Case Conference
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We recruited additional facilitators beyond our own group of instructors to help facilitate the case conferences, which allowed us to create smaller, more intimate groups of four to six students. Below is the one-page handout we provided ahead of time for our volunteer facilitators. We also provided copies of the rubric we were using, and a copy of the case assignment.   


 What a case is

Cases are not simply stories that a teacher might tell. They are crafted into compelling narratives, with a beginning, middle and end, and situated in an event or series of events that unfold over time. They have a plot that is problem-focused with some dramatic tension that must be relieved. They are embedded with many problems that can be framed and analyzed from various perspectives, and they include the thoughts and feelings of the teacher-writers as they describe the accounts. In our course, students are being asked to write a case that focuses upon a moment of teaching and learning. Their cases address challenging dilemmas, questions, or issues that have been raised in the teaching—and learning—of a key concept in their subject matter.

Purpose of Case Conference

The students have just completed their first draft of their cases. At this point, they are just beginning to identify and articulate some of the issues, dilemmas and questions at play in their cases. In this first case conference, we want the participating students to share different perspectives and insights regarding some of what might be going on in the author's case. We also want to help authors begin to identify some of the concepts, readings and ideas from the course that may help them analyze their dilemma. 

 Format of Case Conference
With groups of four students, each student has approximately 25 minutes for his/her case. This allows time for a five-minute break after two case presentations. We suggest the following timing:

5 minutes: author presents his/her case

20 minutes: author gets feedback, other participants

Please note that each author has a "case partner" whom you should ask to serve as a scribe—to take notes on the discussion for the author.

 Suggestions for Facilitating the Discussion

Often students have a great deal to say and suggest about one another's cases—and it's hard to move on to the next case! However, if students need some prompting (or need support in focusing upon teaching and learning) you could also suggest they think about particular concepts from the reading that might apply to the case. You might ask students to think of other cases they've read in the course so far that seem to be addressing similar issues.

 We have also found that sometimes case authors concentrate more upon their actions and experiences as teachers (how they felt and what they did) and tend to overlook student learning. You might find it helpful to them to ask them what their students did in response—what they said in class, what the work looked like, what evidence they have/had of student learning or not learning. You might also ask the author about the evidence of learning (student work or even interviews with students) he/she has or might gather in order to really understand what's going on in his/her case. 



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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