Guidelines for Final Case Conference
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We recruited additional facilitators beyond our own group of instructors to help facilitate the final 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 again 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 the Final Case Conference

The students have now completed their final draft of their cases, after writing at least two rough drafts. At this point, they have been able to identify and articulate some of the issues, dilemmas and questions at play in their cases. In this final case conference, we want participating students to have a rich discussion of the teaching and learning in these cases, informed by theory from the course. We hope students will share different perspectives and insights regarding some of what might be going on in the author's case. We also hope students will begin to talk about connections they make to the cases presented (connections to their own practice; to other cases they've read, and/or to the readings in the course).

 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, questions like, What really grabbed you about this case? What did you personally relate to? What makes this a particularly good illustration of the dilemma the author is describing? What did you learn from this case that might inform your own teaching?  You might also urge students to offer an alternative interpretation of the case—a competing analysis of "what this is a case of." Finally, another important thing the discussion group can do is to make connections to their own practice (Does this case remind you of any experiences you have had as a teacher? What links does this suggest to your own practice, or to what you know about teaching); connections to other cases (What cases does this case remind you of?); and connections to theories and concepts in the course (Does this case bring any particular theories, issues, or concepts from the course to mind? Could using different concepts or theories lead to a different interpretation of this 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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