Student-Authored Case Studies: The Case of an Educational Leadership Course in Kazakhstan

Student-Authored Case Studies: The Case of an Educational Leadership Course in Kazakhstan

Kathy Lea Malone (Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan), Janet Helmer (Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan) and Filiz Polat (Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9429-1.ch007

Abstract

This chapter discusses the use of pre-prepared as well as student-authored case studies within the context of a blended learning educational leadership course at an English-speaking university within Kazakhstan. The course was developed to focus on graduate student applications of educational leadership principles and skills, specifically for teacher leadership. The class required students to collect survey data and other information from their home schools prior to face-to-face sessions. The students were introduced to case studies via prepared case studies that focused on educational leadership issues in western schools. After student groups worked though the assigned case studies, they were tasked with developing their own case studies based on the Kazakhstani context. These student-authored case studies were then piloted with their peers. This chapter describes in detail the classroom pedagogy utilized as well as assesses the value of the approach using classroom artifacts such as student reflections.
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Introducton

There has been an increased need for higher education institutes to develop graduates in multiple fields that have the professional skills that allow them to apply theory to their practice (e.g., Darling-Hammond, LaPointe, Meyerson, Orr, & Cohen, 2007; Elam, & Spotts, 2004). This development of professional skills seems to necessitate a shift in higher education towards more active methods of learning as opposed to the traditional lecture/discussion model (e.g., Darling-Hammond, LaPointe, Meyerson, & Orr, 2009; Spanjaard, Hall, & Stegemann, 2018). Methods that actively engage learners include problem-based pedagogies such as action research, problem-based learning, portfolios and case study-based analysis (e.g., Dole, Bloom, & Kowalske, 2016; Hmelo-Silver, 2004; Prince, & Felder, 2006). These pedagogies have their roots in constructivist philosophy (Dewey, 1997). Constructivist pedagogies ask students to create questions, analyze data, and use theories to develop viable solutions. Thus, when using these pedagogies students are constructing their own knowledge (Sjoberg, 2010).

In order to address these needs in higher education the popularity of case studies has been increasing since its first use by Harvard Business School in the early 1900’s (Rebeiz, 2011). Case study pedagogy is most often implemented using instructor or researcher prepared case studies. In fact, case study pedagogy using pre-prepared cases (CSP-P) has been widely adopted internationally in business (Trejo-Pech, & White, 2017), marketing (Brennan, 2009), accounting (Healy, & McCutcheon, 2010), teacher education (Koehler, Ertmer, & Newby, 2015), engineering (Yadav, Vinh, Shaver, Meckl, & Firebaugh, 2014), educational leadership (Cranston, 2008), sciences (King-Heiden, & Litster, 2018), sports management (Johnson, Judge, & Wanless, 2013) and criminal justice (Kunselman, & Johnson, 2004) to name a few. The reasons why CSP-P has been widely adopted in a range of fields is multifaceted since CSP-P has been shown to improve critical thinking skills (Tiwari, Lai, So, & Yuen, 2006), the ability to connect theory to real world situations (Gravett, de Beer, Odendaal-Kroon, & Merseth, 2017; Johnson, et al., 2013), conceptual understanding (Yadav, et al., 2014) and problem solving skills (Koehler, et al., 2015). However, case study pedagogy using student-authored case studies (CSP-SA) has been researched to a lesser degree. In addition, the use of case studies has seldom been documented in educational leadership courses targeting not only educational administrators but also specifically teacher leadership. Finally, few articles have documented their use in Central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan that are undergoing the Bologna process of internationalization.

The objectives of this chapter are to describe the:

  • 1.

    Usage of different forms of case study pedagogy and their efficacy internationally

  • 2.

    Use of case studies in a blended graduate course focused on the application of educational leadership specifically teacher leadership in Kazakhstan

  • 3.

    Assessment of this approach by analyzing student reflections

Key Terms in this Chapter

Democratic Leadership: A type of shared leadership in which members of an organization take a greater participatory role.

Problem-Based Instruction: An instructional strategy in which students actively resolve realistic but complex problems.

Student-Authored Case Studies: A case study that is founded on real life situations that are constructed by students.

Case-Based Instruction: An instructional strategy in which students discuss, analyze and offer possible solutions to real life case studies which include a narrative that describes a problem situation.

Teacher Leadership: A leadership style in which teachers simultaneously take on administrative roles outside of their classroom.

Case Study Pedagogy: A pedagogy that focuses on students actively problem solving solutions to real life situations using case study narratives.

Distributive Leadership: A type of leadership that distributes decision making amongst a number of stakeholders in an organization.

Educational Leadership: The process of uniting multiple stakeholders towards improving the quality of education and/or educational systems.

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