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Teachers functioning in new roles/ The cases open dialogue and...

Issue Addressed:

Teachers functioning in new roles/ The cases open dialogue and promote discussion from a variety of perspectives.


We used cases to prompt in-depth discussion of teacher leadership. The cases depict typical situations that Leader Teachers encounter in promoting education reform. Facilitation of the cases provides opportunities for teachers to identify key issues of teacher leadership, explore the issues from a variety of perspectives, focus on specific roles portrayed in the case, and generate creative solutions to the problems posed by the case. The best way for me to describe the power of a case as a professional development tool is to quote from Ilene Kantrov and Barbara Miller's book, A Guide to Facilitating Cases in Education (Heinemann, 1998, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, page 5): "Cases can serve as a window into the experiences and ideas of the educators portrayed as they grapple with key issues and as a mirror of the beliefs and attitudes of those who read and discuss the case." Our experience with cases has affirmed this--the participants talk openly about the dilemmas of "Gina" and "Pat" and their principal, using their common experience to reflect on the circumstances and the characters' actions. At the same time, Leader Teachers discover how colleagues viewing the same circumstances often interpret the situation differently because of their personal experiences. The cases were developed by Deborah Bryant, Barbara Miller and myself. Deb and Barbara work at the Education Development Center in Newton, MA. The Merck Institute for Science Education holds the copyright for the cases and has granted permission to post a case and the accompanying Facilitators' Guide on the "Reports from the Field" area on LSC-Net. Exploring the Facilitator' Guide is critical to effective use of the case since meaningful reflection, discussion, and interaction are prompted by skillful facilitation.

Unresolved Issues:

I'm looking forward to hearing your feedback if you choose to use this case, and also hope to hear from other projects who have developed cases about their experiences. In addition I'm interested in how other projects open teacher leadership dialogue using different professional development tools.


Susan (Sinkinson) Elko, 12/18/1997


Professional Development



1. Have you tried having the teachers develop their own cases?...