A teaching case study is defined as a narrative that describes a specific event within the school environment that allows professionals to investigate critical issues that impact the learning of students. Creating a case study can be seen as a form of professional development, educators learning from real examples. A case study is a powerful way for educators to reflect on the actions of other professionals. “Case studies force individuals and groups to think somewhat differently then they have before (Taylor & Whittaker, pg. 70).” The case study of Jim Peterson is multifaceted. Different teaching philosophies and beliefs in student expectations are critical issues which are discussed in this teaching case study.
Recognizing the Problem
The trigger of this particular case happened on a Thursday morning, when Mr. Peterson and his students were beginning to read a story about an African American athlete. The single white student jumped out of his seat, threw the reading material on the ground and shouted “I ain’t reading this no more, I’m sick of niggers!” Two of the African American students responded with. “We’ll whip your ass”. This prompted the White student to run from the room, with Mr. Peterson running after him. Mrs. Fitzgerald shouted at Mr. Peterson for creating the chaotic situation and told him to put away his teaching material and to never use the material again.
Jim Peterson was beginning his student teaching experience. He is teaching in an eight week summer program for students with disabilities. Jim has limited teaching experience and is excited about the possibility of getting his first teaching job. He has had experience working with a diverse population, specifically with students with emotional disabilities as a residential counselor and teacher’s aide. Jim considers himself to be “laid back” and easy to get along with. Jim’s believes that the key to effective classroom management is a relevant curriculum that addresses his student’s interests and needs. Jim is flexible when it comes to classroom management. As a sergeant in the military, he feels that he does not have a problem addressing discipline issues. Jim is confident about his student teaching placement because of his experience with the student population and the courses he has taken in multicultural education.
Mrs. Fitzgerald is Jim’s cooperating teacher. She is a veteran teacher who is married to the principal.