This issue of Into Practice is adapted fromInstructional Movescontent produced by the Teaching and Learning Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Barbara Cockrill, Harold Amos Academy Associate Professor of Medicine, uses case-based collaborative learning (CBCL) in her Homeostasis I course to help medical students explore real-life clinical scenarios they may face as practitioners. Case discussions start in cohorts of four students, formed at the beginning of the course, and focus on a series of questions. Discussion continues with the full class of 40 students, facilitated by Cockrill and other medical school faculty.
Joshua Margolis, James Dinan and Elizabeth Miller Professor of Business Administration,demands of himself intensive listening while teaching, and asks the same from students: “When I listen really carefully it allows me to push students hard and help them see what they have within themselves.” While students speak, he makes direct eye contact and maintains it even when he moves in the classroom so they’re addressing the rest of the class, not just him. Margolis asks a series of follow-up questions and then summarizes after every three to five interactions.
The benefits: This active engagement is understood by students to be a sign of respect not just for their knowledge and insight, but also for their capacity to teach one another. It reinforces the value of coming prepared, thinking independently, listening carefully, and working as a team... Read more about Cultivating the skill and the orientation to listen
A study tested the use of case studies with and without follow-up discussion, finding that the discussion group’s social interaction and sharing of conflicting ideas were the source of changes in thinking.
One mixed-method, exploratory study identified seven factors that enhance individuals’ motivation to take the perspective of others, defined as social perspective taking (SPT), including the desire to relate to others and to understand what others think of them.
Meira Levinson, Professor of Education, develops case studies about difficult questions in educational ethics—for example, grade inflation, charter schools, and policies that disproportionately impact low-income students of color—for A203 Educational Justice students to debate and discuss the ethical dimensions of educational practice and policy.
Ronald Heifetz, Co-Founder of the Center for Public Leadership and King Hussein bin Talal Senior Lecturer of Public Leadership, uses experiential teaching methods like student case analysis—where students collaboratively develop and analyze cases drawn from their own work experiences—to promote deeper engagement and stronger retention of leadership concepts.
David Garvin, C. Roland Christensen Professor of Business Administration, utilizes guest speakers in General Management: Processes and Action in order to promote deeper understanding of managerial and organizational realities. He has experimented with and refined three approaches—Q&A with a case study protagonist, themed presentations and small group conversations with executives, and open-ended conversations with a guest lecturer (often an alum) about their career.
The benefits: Carefully selected, well-prepared guests provide depth and granularity. For many students, discussion with the actual decision-maker or case protagonist gives a truer sense of their authenticity: “We describe them on paper, now you get to see them in real life, interacting with others, and facing hard questions. Often a guest will share something in class that they would not commit to in writing.”... Read more about From the source: Guest speakers in the classroom
José A. (Tony) Gómez-Ibáñez, Derek C. Bok Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy, who holds appointments at the GSD and HKS,defines the learning objectives of his course prior to the start of the semester and references them to frame each individual class session: “I use the first five minutes to place each class in the course – ‘The last class we talked about X and today we want to see how those ideas might apply to Y.’”
The benefits: Deliberately and specifically identifying what students should come away with each class places the focus on the learning process, rather than the specifics of a particular unit topic or case – Gómez-Ibáñez teaches economics, infrastructure, and transportation policy, primarily employing the case method.... Read more about Defining learning objectives: Pre-semester, and all semester