Case Studies for Teaching Technology: Contexts for Case Content - Companion Note

  • Mark E Walls


There is growing interest in using problems from the ?real worlds? of work and community experience to improve learning. Various institutions and educational initiatives, centers, and projects now model problem-oriented learning approaches that develop content knowledge, critical thinking skills, and ?personal qualities [like] responsibility, sociability, self-management, and integrity/honesty? (SCANS 2000) in authentic contexts. The growth of such programs attests to a frustration with the results of traditional pedagogy. It also marks a growing conviction that replicating the chaotic terms of work-world thinking for students prepares them more honestly and more fruitfully for careers and for life. Increasingly, then, teaching practice is assuming the challenge of unfolding the intrinsic disorder of real problems. Problem-oriented approaches like case-based instruction embrace the intellectual fogs that settle around dilemmas with genuine layers of circumstance and consequence. Practitioners of case-based or problem-oriented instruction value not so much the solutions or products of thought, but the processes of critical inquiry that engage the ambiguities, instabilities, inconsistencies, and confusions of real-world problems.