Case Study Student In Early Childhood Special Education

A survey focusing on the use of the Case Method of Instruction (CMI) in special education teacher preparation programs was sent to 257 randomly selected members of the Teacher Education Division (TED) of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). Surveys from 141 individuals were returned, representing a 55.8% return rate. The survey was designed to obtain information regarding (a) subject characteristics, (b) characteristics of students and institutions, (c) teacher educators' perceptions of CMI, and (d) methods used to implement CMI in special education teacher preparation programs. More than 78% of respondents were using, or had used within two years, CMI and 90% felt positive about their ability to teach using cases. Greater than 17% were considering adopting CMI. Respondents reported using CMI most frequently in assessment and methods classes. Primary advantages of CMI cited by respondents were that this method allowed students to apply theory to practice and enabled students to develop problem-solving skills. Potential disadvantages included the amount of preparation and implementation time, difficulty finding appropriate cases, and the demands placed on the instructor (e.g., well-developed classroom management and group facilitation skills). Based upon results of this preliminary investigation, issues related to practical and research applications of CMI were discussed.

Remember your observation notes should provide the following detailed information about the child:

  • child’s age,
  • physical appearance,
  • the setting, and
  • any other important background information.

You should observe the child a minimum of 5 hours. Make sure you DO NOT use the child's real name in your observations. Always use a pseudo name for course assignments. 

You will use your observations to help write your narrative. When submitting your observations for the course please make sure they are typed so that they are legible for your instructor. This will help them provide feedback to you. 

Qualitative Observations

A qualitative observation is one in which you simply write down what you see using the anecdotal note format listed below. 

Quantitative Observations

A quantitative observation is one in which you will use some type of checklist to assess a child's skills. This can be a checklist that you create and/or one that you find on the web. A great choice of a checklist would be an Ounce Assessment and/or work sampling assessment depending on the age of the child. Below you will find some resources on finding checklists for this portion of the case study. If you are interested in using Ounce or Work Sampling, please see your program director for a copy. 

Remaining Objective 

For both qualitative and quantitative observations, you will only write down what your see and hear. Do not interpret your observation notes. Remain objective versus being subjective.

An example of an objective statement would be the following: "Johnny stacked three blocks vertically on top of a classroom table." or "When prompted by his teacher Johnny wrote his name but omitted the two N's in his name." 

An example of a subjective statement would be the following: "Johnny is happy because he was able to play with the block." or "Johnny omitted the two N's in his name on purpose." 

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