April 1, 2006
There is much discussion in the literature on teacher education about the need for active approaches in which teachers engage in problem solving and reflective discussion around concrete instances of teaching and learning (e.g., Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2005; Loucks-Horsley, Hewson, Love, & Stiles, 1998). The case study method is one example of such an approach. It usually entails carefully designed case materials of classroom episodes along with facilitated discussions or experiences created around the case (e.g., Miller & Kantrov, 1998). There now exist a growing literature that highlights the promise of this approach (e.g., Shulman & Mesa-Bains, 1993: Barnett, 1991; Shifter, 1996; Miller & Kantrov, 1998). However, so far the research base that will lend empirical support to these claims is still in its infancy.
The purpose of this session is to present and share recent empirical work on the use of case studies in mathematics teacher education. The session brings together three teams of teacher educators and researchers who have developed video case-based materials for mathematics teacher education and are conducting research to assess how the video case materials have helped them accomplish their goals for mathematics teachers. The presenters bring a variety of perspectives, as each team works with video case materials for somewhat different purposes (inclusion, professional development), works in different contexts (elementary, middle and high school teachers, math leadership), and uses multiple research methods (qualitative and quantitative). The discussant will synthesize the emergent findings, relate them to the claims for the efficacy of this approach, and propose questions for future research.