A Preliminary Investigation of Prospective Teachers' Reasoning About Case Studies with Expert Commentary

Winter 2008

Source: Teacher Education and Special Education, Volume 31, No. 1 (Winter 2008), p. 21-35
(Reviewed by The Portal Team)

Case methods have emerged as a popular technique in teacher education, proposed as an important means of promoting conceptual change in preservice teachers. This article presents the results of a research study that used a mixed design methodology to investigate the effect of expert commentaries on prospective teachers' reasoning about inclusion case studies.

Two primary research questions framed this study:
1. How do prospective teachers reason about inclusion case studies?
2. Does case study with expert commentary promote conceptual change regarding in-clusive education issues? Do prospective teachers integrate new ideas as a result of expert commentary, or do their initial conceptions become ingrained?



Participants in this study were 75 undergraduate students (56 females, 19 males) enrolled in an Introduction to Educational Psychology course at a large public university in the Northeast.
Most of the participants were juniors, and all were enrolled in an educational psychology course required for a bachelor's degree in education and teacher certification.
All participants had previously taken a course entitled Individual and Cultural Diversity which presented introductory information about students with disabilities and special education law.


This study utilized a mixed design methodology in which both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. Initially, participants were randomly assigned to an experimental or a control group. All participants in the experimental group completed a seven-step procedure.
Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to analyze the data.

Results indicate that prospective teachers are reluctant to accept theoretical and pedagogical information that conflicts with their own previously held conceptions, even when it is presented through case methods.

Updated: Nov. 17, 2008