Introduction: Identify case study topic and list assertions (3-6) that can be verified with evidence (field notes, interviews, etc.)
1. Assertions and Evidence: Discuss each assertion separately (minimum one paragraph for each assertion) and include supportive evidence. Underline assertion statements as presented. 2. Implications/Effects: Conclude with an interpretive discussion of implications/effects. Inferences and conclusions based on evidence presented can be drawn.
SAMPLE CASE STUDY FOCUSING ON MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES:
Management Case Study Introduction
Throughout the study, Shelley’s class was well managed. Explanations and evidence to support the following six assertions regarding Shelley’s management style are presented: 1. Shelley did not focus extensively on behavior management; 2. Shelley monitored student behavior throughout lessons; 3. Shelley promptly dealt with potential disruptive behavior; 4. Shelley reinforced acceptable behavior;
5. Shelley was very tolerant of student interaction and discussion; and, 6. Shelley devoted a great deal of time to task management.
Assertions and Evidence
Throughout the study, Shelley did not focus extensively on behavior management. On most days, the students in Shelley’s class were very well behaved and seemed to be familiar with Shelley’s rules regarding classroom behavior. On occasions when Shelley considered student behavior to be inappropriate, she provided corrective feedback in the form of non-verbal gestures or short reprimands. Once the feedback was provided, Shelley continued with instruction and did not dwell on behavior. Examples of corrective feedback statements regarding the behavior of the whole class included, “Let’s get back into control, O.K.?,” “Let’s calm down. I like for you to answer the questions but I don’t like you to comment out loud unnecessarily,” “Let’s have all heads up please,” and “No one needs to be out of their seat.”
Shelley provided corrective feedback regarding unacceptable behavior to the whole class on three days and provided corrective feedback regarding the behavior of individual students on four days. On all of these occasions except one, the feedback consisted of one or two sentences. On one occasion, Shelley reprimanded a student for completing social studies homework during class. The reprimand consisted of the following statements: “Audra, put away your social studies work now. I’m very disappointed. This is science class, not social studies. If we can’t stop doing this, we’ll have to take some action.”
During a formal interview, I asked Shelley when she thought about management. “Mainly at the beginning of the year,” she said, “I put a list of rules up on the wall for a few weeks. After they know the rules I only think about management when misbehavior is seen. When I see something, I think about what to do about it. I don’t think about it much, I just do it.”
Although Shelley did not devote much class time to behavior management, she monitored student behavior throughout lessons. During every lesson, she scanned the class repeatedly and maintained eye contact with students. She also circulated around the room during lessons and often stood near students. Additional evidence for this assertion can be drawn from the daily TPAI data. Shelley received credit for the descriptor “Behavior of the entire class is monitored throughout the lesson” on 20 of the 21 days of implementation.
When Shelley detected unacceptable behavior, she promptly dealt with potential disruptions. On most occasions, the only student that could be considered potentially disruptive was Chuck. When dealing with a potential disruption, Shelley usually looked directly at Chuck, nodded “No”, and smiled. On three occasions she verbally dealt with the potential disruption. Examples of verbal statements included, “Chuck, turn around.” And “Chuck look over your notes again and see if you can find something you don’t already know.” On one occasion, Shelley went over to Chuck, hugged him, and said, “I would be so pleased if you would do what you were instructed to do.” During an interview, I asked Shelley how she managed her class. “The kids are very good really. There’s not much need for it. I try to correct misbehaviors right away.”
In addition to providing feedback regarding unacceptable or potentially disruptive behavior, Shelley also reinforced acceptable behavior. This positive reinforcement applied to whole-class behavior as well as individual acceptable behavior and included verbal and non-verbal reinforcement. For example, at the end of a lesson involving group work, Shelley said, “Thank you for following the rules and not disturbing other classes.”
On Day 15, students were assigned to work in pairs. Two students, Mark and Shawn arrived late and Shelley asked them to work together. All other groups consisted of two males or two females, and when Shelley asked them to work together, they looked uncomfortable. At the end of the lesson, Shelley walked over to the, and said, “Thank you for cooperating and working with each other. I know you each wanted to be with one of your friends.”
During lessons involving small group work, Shelley was very tolerant of student interaction and discussion. In fact, she even encouraged vocal interactions among student. For example, on Day 3, students worked with live crickets in pairs. Before beginning the activity, Shelley said, “Try to answer these questions as quickly as you can and have a good time. You may discuss with your partner and ask each other questions. You may work on the floor or at your desks.”
Regardless of the group format used during instruction, Shelley devoted a great deal of time to task management. Task management can be defined as
management of student performance on assigned activities during lessons. In all group formats, Shelley monitored individual student performance on assigned tasks. She received credit for the TPAI descriptor “Work or performance of individual learners is monitored as they engage in learning activities” on 16 out of 21 occasions. Whenever students were involved in individual or small group activities, Shelley always circulated around the room while students completed their work. During an interview, Shelley said, “When kids do individual work I always try to monitor and help them when they need it.”
During whole class activities, Shelley used several techniques, including frequent questions, to manage student performance. For example, on Day 18, Shelley presented the content in the form of a poem and follow-up questions. Each student was presented a written copy of the poem. Before reading the poem aloud to the class, Shelley said, “Today we’re gonna talk about water animals and their adaptations. To make sure you are following along I will pause. Then you all need to tell me what work I paused on.”
Shelley’s management style was congruent with the management style described in the intended curriculum. As a result, her management performance had positive effects on the curriculum implementation process. First, Shelley’s management activities ensured on-task behavior of most students most of the time. She received credit for the TPAI descriptor “The average on-task rate is at least 85%” on 19 out of 21 occasions. Because she consistently monitored student behavior and promptly dealt with potential disruptions, little instructional time was lost due to behavior management activities. As a result, more class time was devoted to instruction. Shelley’s practice of reinforcing acceptable behavior also appeared to encourage students to monitor their own behavior, and resulted in more active engagement on the part of students.
Finally, Shelley’s emphasis on task management ensured student completion of assigned tasks and probably positively influenced the quality of student performance on tasks. Students knew Shelley would most likely check their work. As a result, they appeared to focus on the quality of their work rather that just concentrating on getting the task finished.