The Role of Case Study in Teacher Education: An Attempt to Bridge the Gap between Action and Reflection


  • Ilse Schrittesser University of Vienna


effective teachers, expert teachers, case study, case method, teacher training, teacher professionalism


International studies provide evidence that effective teachers are essential to students’ learning success.  Research on teacher effectiveness in the United States began in the 1980’s, and valid and reliable methods for assessing teacher effectiveness have been developed in its context, research on this topic is still relatively new in German-speaking countries.  While effective teaching is a highly complex construct which includes a whole repertoire of skills, there seems evidence that some of these skills play a particularly significant role for effective teaching.  The present article will take a close look at these skills from the perspective of two mostly separate discourses: expertise research and the qualities of expert teachers, which are usually discussed in the Anglo-American context, and theories of teacher professionalism which is highly influential in the German speaking countries.  The two concepts are explained and it is argued that–interestingly enough–research results of both discourses converge in the proposition that diagnostic and interpretative skills and an intuitive feel for situations –situation awareness–are decisive when it comes to successfully fostering students’ learning processes.  These skills do not grow automatically with growing experience but need to be fostered by deliberate practice.  Consequences for teacher education are drawn by suggesting that focusing on case study in teacher education as a particularly useful type of deliberate practice, is a promising approach to develop the above mentioned key skills.

Author Biography

Ilse Schrittesser, University of Vienna

Faculty of Philosophy and Education & Center of Teacher Education