The Clearinghouse for Special Education Teaching Cases is an excellent, easy-to-use resource for instructors who wish to expose their students to complex but realistic teaching cases. These cases can be selected by topic or CEC standard. There is also a clarification of the difference between teaching cases and case studies.
The Clearinghouse for Special Education Teaching Cases is a federally-funded project designed to develop, field test, evaluate, and nationally disseminate teaching cases that will aide in the attainment of knowledge around the knowledge areas/competencies that the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) has identified as necessary for teachers who work with children and youth with disabilities and their families.
Target Student Population:
Preservice and inservice teachers who will be working with students with disabilities are the target student population. This site would be very applicable, however, to both general and special education teacher candidates, as well as those individuals pursuing credentials in administration, counseling, and school psychology.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
The cases are designed to stimulate discussion, reflection, and the integration of skills and knowledge already learned (or being gained) in a teacher preparation program. It would help if students are familiar with the CEC standards and Code of Ethics,
but these could be provided to students as they participate in the teaching cases.
Type of Material:
Teacher educators are recommended to use these materials early on to get teacher candidates thinking about particular issues, and as they become familiar with the CEC standards, as well as at the end of their preparatory careers, as they can then apply the standards more professionally as they reflect on the cases and their dilemmas.
Evaluation and Observation
The content is clear and concise. The cases are easy to read, practical, and very realistic. There are a variety of different situations, grade levels, and disability areas addressed.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The value of this Center is in its potential effectiveness as a teaching tool. The Center cites the Carnegie Report, A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century as calling for teacher training institutions to use "cases illustrating a great variety of teaching problems" as a "major focus of instruction." It is up to the instructor as to which cases to use and how to use them. However, the Center provides discussion questions and links to relevant sites (e.g., a Behavior Site), as well as identifying the main CEC standards that are addressed within the case.
Instructors who are themselves not thoroughly aware of the Standards, or who are new to the profession, may find themselves overwhelmed by the complexity involved in a teaching case. Perhaps there could be one or two cases for those individuals new to teaching cases, and a mock lesson plan related to how an instructor could faciliate such a teaching tool more effectively.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
This site is incredibly easy to navigate. Teaching cases are arranged alphabetically, as well as by CEC standards, and by topics. Faculty and students should find this site easily accessible.
Other Issues and Comments:
Overall, a very useful site for teacher educators and others!