Introduction Legal education is a multi- disciplined and multi ± purpose education which helps in the development of the human
resources and idealism needed to strengthen the legal system. The role of a lawyer is regarded as very important as he contributes to national development and social change in a constructive manner. So the way in which the legal education is imparted to a law student plays a vital role in making him a good and successful lawyer. Today a new breed of lawyers is demanded who can resolve disputes and dispense justice to the aggrieved party and can play different roles i.e. the role of a policy planner, business advisor, negotiator among interest groups, expert in articulation and communication of ideas, mediator, lobbyist, law reformer, etc.1 So the basic purpose of laws schools should not be confined to black letter legal doctrines. Something is needed to be devised more that will aid the developing lawyer acquire and develop certain practical skills such as thought, goal thinking, scientific thinking and reasoning. The law institutes must provide a realistic and comprehensive picture of the structure and functions of the society and should also be oriented towards the implementing of a consistent and explicit set of democratic values.
Previously the method of teaching was traditional. It was a completely teacher oriented method of teaching. But now the case is not the same. The method of teaching has been redefined. It has moved from teacher oriented method of teaching to student oriented method of teaching. Case study method is one of such student oriented method of teaching. Unlike traditional lecture-based teaching where student participation in the classroom is minimal, the case method is an active learning method, which requires participation and involvement from the student in the classroom.2 The case study is a method for advancing knowledge and problem solving. The case study method applies known principles (e.g., laws) to specific situations. The case study method is effective at teaching leadership and persuasion skills. Case study method of teaching is an interactive learning approach, which changes the role of students from passive participants to active learners.
http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1001&context=dyutimoy_mukherjee assessed on 11.09.2009. 2 http://www.icmrindia.org/Case%20Study%20Method.htm assessed on 11.09.2009.
Case study method develops critical thinking and problem-solving skills. It teaches the students to accept ambiguity. Case study requires a person to isolate and think through the key issues involved. It helps in the identification of appropriate strategies for the resolution of the 'case'.3 It recommends and presents a rationale for the best resolution. The important merit of the case study is that it allows a problem to be studied in a complex form, including elements of real-life events which it might be impossible to reproduce in the classroom. Case studies are records of innovative or good practice. They record specific problems or issues experienced by a person or a group and the actions taken to overcome the problems.4 Their purpose is to promote these actions to others. They are often used where there have been limited solutions found to a particular problem. Case studies generally report factual information as well as opinions.
Different Methods of Teaching ± An Overview
Lecture Method of Teaching The lecture method of teaching presents factual material in direct, logical manner. It stimulates thinking to open discussion and is useful for large groups. This method of teaching needs clear introduction and summary. It should include examples, anecdotes.5 But there are certain limitations also. The experts are not always good teachers and the audience is passive. Sometimes the learning is difficult to gauge it involves communication in one way which does not generate any ideas in the class.
Lecture with discussion method of teaching This method involves audience immediately after the lecture. Here the audience can question, clarify and challenge the lecture in their own way. But the questions should be prepared prior to discussion.6 This method also has certain lacuna. Sometimes time may limit the discussion period and the quality is limited to quality of questions and discussion.
Supra note 1. http://www.ciilogistics.com/indianlegacy.pdf assessed on 11.09.2009. 5 http://honolulu.hawaii.edu/intranet/committees/FacDevCom/guidebk/teachtip/comteach.htm assessed on 11.09.2009.
Supra note 5.
Panel of Experts method of teaching This method allows experts to present different opinions. It provokes better discussion than a one person discussion. There is a frequent change of speaker which keeps attention from lagging. 7 But it is not necessary that experts may not be good speakers. Sometimes the personalities may overshadow content and the subject may not be in logical order.
Brainstorming method of teaching It involves listening exercise that allows creative thinking for new ideas and encourages full participation because all ideas are equally recorded. It focuses on group's knowledge and experience. This method leads to the creation of spirit of congeniality.8 This method has certain limitations also. It can be unfocused and people may have difficulty getting away from known reality. This method has to be limited to 5 ± 7 minutes. Moreover if this method is not well facilitated it may lead to criticism.
Videotapes/slides method of teaching This method of teaching is the most entertaining way of teaching content and raising issues. It keeps the group's attention in a firm manner and stimulates discussion. It is effective only if facilitator prepares questions to discuss after the show.9 But at the same time it can raise too many issues to have a focused discussion. Also the discussion may not have full participation.
Discussion method of teaching This method of teaching pools ideas and experiences from a group and is effective after a presentation, film or experience that needs to be analyzed. It allows everyone to participate in an active process. It requires careful planning by facilitator to guide discussion. This method also has certain limitations. It is not possible and practicable with more that 20 people.10 Only few people can dominate and others may not participate. It is a time consuming and sometimes can get off the track.
Small group discussion method of teaching
Ibid. Ibid. 9 Ibid. 10 Supra note 5
This method of teaching encourages participation of everyone in a classroom. People are often more comfortable in small groups.11 But sometimes the groups may get side tracked.
Case study method of teaching Case study method is an innovative and active learning method which requires participation and involvement from the student in the classroom. It develops analytical and problem solving skills. It allows for exploration of solutions for complex issues and encourages the student to apply new knowledge and skills. This method has certain limitations also. Sometimes insufficient information can lead to inappropriate results
Role Play method of teaching This method of teaching introduces problem situation dramatically and provides opportunity for people to assume roles of others and thus appreciate another point of view. It allows for exploration of solutions and provides opportunity to practice skills. The instructor has to define the problem situation and roles clearly and at the same time must give very clear instructions. 12 This method also has certain drawbacks. People may be too self-conscious and not appropriate for large groups. They may feel threatened.
Report ± back ± session method of teaching This method of teaching is suitable for large group discussion of role plays, case studies and small group exercise. It gives people a chance to reflect on experience. Here the teacher has to prepare questions for the groups to discuss.13 But sometimes this method can be repetitive if each small group says the same thing.
Worksheet/ surveys method of teaching This method allows people to thing for themselves without being influences by others. Here individual thoughts can be shared in large group.14 The instructor has to prepare handouts. But this method can be used only for a short period of time.
Index Card exercise method of teaching
Ibid. Ibid. Supra note 5. Ibid.
This method of teaching provides an opportunity to explore difficult and complex issues. Here the instructor must prepare questions. But sometimes people may not do exercise this method.
Guest speaker method of teaching This method personalizes the topic and breaks down audience's stereotypes.15 But it is not necessary that the speaker will be a good speaker every time.
Values clarification exercise method of teaching This method provides an opportunity to explore values and beliefs and allows people to discuss values in a safe environment. It gives a proper structure to discussion. The instructor must prepare discussion questions. 16 But this method also has certain limitations. People may not be honest every time. They may be too self conscious.
Concept of Case Study
A case can be defined as a "description of an actual situation, commonly involving a decision, a challenge, an opportunity, a problem or an issue faced by a person or a group of persons. Case study is defined as an empirical inquiry that investigates a phenomenon within its real-life context. Case study research means single and multiple case studies which can include quantitative evidence and rely on multiple sources of evidence and benefits from the prior development of theoretical propositions. Case study method is a scientific socio ± legal research which is suitable for the study of fewer persons and which is used to find out the root cause of a particular problem.
Various definitions are given by different eminent persons which are as follows:
According to P.V Young, ³Case Study is a method of exploring and analysing of life of a social unit, be that of a person, a family, an institution, cultural group or even entire community´.17 According to Goode and Hatt, ³case study is a way of organizing social data so as to preserve the utility character of the social object being studied.18
Case studies require the person to isolate and think through the key issues involved against both theory and the larger comparative environment. Case studies are written summaries or syntheses of real-life cases that require the students to extract the key issues involved and to identify appropriate strategies for the resolution of the 'case'.19 Case study is an interactive method of learning and helps in exploration of realistic and specific ideas that provide grist for interactive learning. It is a method which is not limited to social sciences and is used in business. Case study helps in the encouraging responsibility in a student for learning and also helps in the development of collaboration skills.
History of Case Study Method
Professor Christopher Columbus Langdell is known to have introduced the case study method of teaching. In 1800s, the lecture method was prevalent among the law school classes. The professors self interpreted the meaning of court decisions and never gave the students an opportunity to do on their own. In 1870, Professor Langdell felt that law students learn more from analysis of a case rather than from simply reading it. He wanted the students to apply law in different situations rather than to simply memorize it.20 His admirable belief was that properly trained law students should acquire the skill of generalizing from singular cases to other analogues legal applications. Though his ideas were innovative but they were criticized both by students and professors. But later on Charles W. Eliot, president of Harvard University supported his case study method. He backed Lang dell to prove the success of case methods and Langdell was
S.R Myneni ³Legal Research Methodology´ 1997. Ibid. 19 Boehrer, J. and M. Linsky. ³Teaching with Cases: Learning to Question.´ In M.D. Svinicki (ed.), The Changing Face of College Teaching. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, no. 42. San Francisco,: JosseyBass, 1990.
Steven M,Shagun, ³Save Research-Abandon the case method of teaching´, vol 25 no.2 March- April 2006 p109-115.
successful in achieving it. As a result the law school led the way in reversing a long history of lecture and drill and introducing the case study method of teaching.
In 1919 the business school at Harvard had a new dean known as Wallace P. Donham who was a lawyer and a graduate of Harvard Law School. Donham had experience in the case study method of teaching. So he promoted this method at the Harvard business school.21 Other U.S law schools also adopted the case methods and it became the primary method of legal instruction in the twentieth century. The Medical School began using cases only in 1985. All were designed to cement students¶ understanding of basic science by linking it immediately to practical problems²typically, the case histories of individual patients. These cases formed the foundation of the school¶s revolutionary ³New Pathway´ curriculum that shifted students¶ pre-clinical years away from lectures toward tutorials and active Learning.22 So the Harvard faculty became evangelists for the case method, spreading this educational innovation around the world.
Constitution of a Good Case S tudy
A case study has to be interesting otherwise it may not generate student¶s excitement in the classroom. For it to be interesting it must have certain features which are as follows:
1. It should describe a story and must contain a beginning, middle and end. It is not necessary that it should have an end as it is open to the students for discussion. 2. The case study should deal with the current issues. The students should not feel that the problem has less importance as it may result in loss of interest of the student. There must be an effective problem which should engage students' interest, and motivate them to probe for deeper understanding of the concepts being introduced. It should relate the subject of the real world, so that students have a stake in solving the problem.
Ibid. David A. Garvin,´ Making the Case professional education for the world of practice´, Harvard Magazine, September- October 2003, Vol 106, no. 1, p 56.
3. The case study must create empathy with central character and should enlighten contemporary issues. 4. It must be relevant to the leader and it must relate to such situations that the student is likely to face. 5. Good case studies require students to make decisions or judgements based on facts, information, logic and rationalization.23 Students should be required to justify all decisions and reasoning based on the principles being learned. 6. It must have a pedagogic utility which is to be considered by the educator. What is the function of the case study and in what it will beneficial to the course and students have to be considered by the educator.
Teaching with the aid of cases The case method is an active learning method which requires participation and involvement from the student in the classroom. It leads to a change in the approach of the students who are exposed only to traditional method of teaching. Case discussion is also seen as an exercise in building analytic bridges between theory and data.24 Cases assess the application of the concepts to complex real world situations. Case discussions help the students to work in groups, make them learn to work as a team and helps in enhancing their analy tical and interpretation skills.
The use of case study is used in the field of business, management, medicine etc. In the field of medicine the work of a physician is compiled with a number of cases. The profession teaches him to work with cases only. Similar in the field of law the lawyer deals with a lot of cases. Thus in both law and medicine, cases are real stories dealing with people in trouble. Students attempt to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. By reading and analyzing cases, students get an experience of practical application of the textbook principles in the real world.
http://www.nscc.edu/seatec/pages_resources/forum_papers_pdf/smith.pdf assessed on 12.09.2009. Supra note 2.
Case studies expose students to a wide range of industries, organizations, functions and responsibility levels. This provides students the flexibility and confidence to deal with a variety of tasks and responsibilities in their careers. It also helps students to make more informed decisions about their career choices.25 The case study method usually involves three stages: individual preparation, small group discussion, and large group or class discussion.26 While both the teacher and the student start with the same information, their roles are clearly different in each of these stages. Case Studies give the students a chance to ask any questions of factual clarification they might have. A case study allows for exploration of solutions for complex and helps the student to apply new knowledge and skills. issues
Procedure of the case study method
Working of the case study method
Case studies are usually discussed in a large group in the classroom. Sometimes instructors may require students to provide a written analysis of a case study, or make an oral presentation on the case study in the classroom. Students will need clear instructions on what their responsibilities are in preparing to discuss a case in class. Some instructors prepare a set of questions ahead of time, and pass these out in order to give students a general sense of the major issues to be discussed. In addition, students are often asked to prepare a brief statement outlining their sense of the central problem and their plans for resolving it. Some instructors find it useful to have students form study groups to analyze and prepare comments before the class discussion takes place. In the same way that students prepare a case, it¶s important that the instructor knows the directions the discussion might take. 27
In a case discussion the students become active and animated. The case discussions generate a lot of ideas in the minds of students. It helps them in constructing a collective analysis, reframing the discussion, challenging the teacher, learning with and from each other as much
Ibid. Ibid. Supra note 19.
as, or more than, from him or her.28 It develops the decision making skills in the student. It helps the students in looking for and finding solutions geared to the unique circumstances of each cases.
Wrapping up of the case
Before the summarizing the whole case, the instructor should make sure that there is a complete assessment of the case. If there are certain unresolved issues it can be reserved for the next class. The students can be asked to make research on the unresolved issues for the next class. The instructor should also give a feedback regarding the discussion of the case study. Case discussion leads to the achievement of the following objectives29:
y y y y y y y y
Foster Critical Thinking Encourage Student Responsibility for Learning Transfer Information, Concept, and Technique Develop Command of a Body of Material Blend Affective and Cognitive Learning Enliven the Classroom Dynamic Develop Collaboration Skills Teach Questioning and Self-Directed Learning
Effective strategies for teaching case studies
The use of the case study method is probably the most common and effective strategy for teaching Supreme Court issues and decisions. To be successful with this strategy, the teacher must be well informed on the legal issues and facts of the case. It leads to the active involvement of students in analyzing a legal case by participating in class discussions that identify a particular legal issue, stating points of view, and formulating and evaluating decisions. Case study is an innovative and student oriented activity which concentrates more on students. The students are engaged in reading the cases, analyzing and finding the
Ibid. Supra note 19.
application of principle. This makes them understand the doctrine or principle of law in a better way.
If a case study is given to the students they should divide the class into three parts: First the whole class should review the background information and the facts in the case. Second they should determine the main issue in the case. Third, divide students into three groups30: (1) Judges, who review the facts in the case, clarify the issue, and prepare questions that will be asked of the attorneys during the simulation. (2) Petitioners, who prepare two or three written and oral arguments for the simulation. (3) Respondents, who prepare two or three written and oral arguments for the simulation.
Advantages and pitfalls Advantages 1. Case study provides a great amount of description and detail. It helps the students to learn a lot from their case. It develops the analytical and problem solving skills of a student. 2. Case Study allows for exploration of solutions for complex issues.
It helps the student to apply new knowledge and skills. 3. An intensive study is possible in case study. The case is studied from all aspects for deep probing into it which is very essential for research work.
4. Case study leads to comparative study of various aspects and helps in increasing
knowledge. It helps in developing values and worldviews. It can be regarded as a tool for enriched learning and insight.
http://www.ericdigest.com/ assessed on 14.09.2009.
5. It generates discussion and enthusiasm among the students and illuminates contemporary/ future issues. It also improves students understanding of the dynamics of the course practically and briefly. This yields a high level of student self-confidence.
6. Case studies strengthen the student's grasping power by providing real-life examples of the underlying theoretical concepts. Cases provide students with an exposure to the real world.
7. When working on a case study in a group, students must also be able to understand and deal with the different viewpoints and perspectives of the other members in their team. This serves to improve their communication and interpersonal skills.
8. In a case study method, the students engage in the intellectual and emotional exercise of facing complex problems and making critical decisions within the constraints imposed by reality, e.g. limited time and information and pervasive uncertainty.31
8. Case studies open up opportunities for role play where it becomes necessary to shed light on particular encounters rather than general issues.
9. The main virtue of case studies is the way in which they efficiently integrate a wide diversity of subject matter. Case study requires a student to extract legal rules from primary materials, precedents, and statutes and apply in the practical legal field.
10. Case studies require the students to position themselves amidst the given situation and demand their wisdom to come out.32
The case study method has certain pitfalls 33: 1. Sometimes it becomes hard for the learner to engage with an abstraction of a real problem.
Supra note 30. Supra note 4. 33 Ibid.
2. It may be confusing for some learners. 3. The case method weakens the link between research and classroom, removing critical incentives for relevant research. 4. Sometimes insufficient information can lead to inappropriate results. 5. It may not be appropriate for elementary level. 6. Case study method requires serious involvement both from the teacher as well as the students; unless everyone takes it seriously, the outcome cannot be productive. At times, it may turn counter-productive. 7. Every case is unique and more so the solutions. It is dangerous to generalize and apply them universally. 8. Optimal solutions are always dependant on resources available at that point of time. Decisions may need to be modified at a later date because there is bound to be some change in the resources which are dynamic. 9. Cases should not be over used since the students might have already known the best answers. Giving them new cases will be possible only if we have storage of good cases which are updated. 10. Serious problems in real life situations need serious attention and enormous thinking;
solutions may not be that much simple, which can be arrived at by theoretical analysis.
Conclusions and Suggestions It is widely accepted that the case study method of teaching is the most innovative and effective method of learning. Discussing case studies is an effective way to get students involved in the issues. Case studies are basically stories which are narrative in nature. They are a fundamental human tool for organizing, understanding, and explaining experience. The case study method is a problem based set of teaching materials which is seen in the law school courses. The modification in the law school from traditional lecture-based teaching to an active learning method is the need of an hour. A surprisingly wide range of professional schools, including Harvard¶s law, business, and medical schools, have concluded that the best way to teach these skills is by the case method.
In every profession i.e. business, law, engineering and medicine it can be made out that case study method had spread an educational innovation around the world. Previously in a
traditional classroom, only the voice of professor was heard but now through this innovative method of learning various minds interact and enter into rapid fire discussions analysing and synthesising the situation. Cases allow the course to "simulate" real-life situations and experience how material learned in class is applied in the real world.
Case study is an interactive approach of teaching and can help students take much more responsibility for their own learning in class. But cases are not necessarily the best way to communicate large amounts of new information. And in this sense they are probably not always appropriate for introductory level classes, since students usually need a good deal of background knowledge to be able to adequately interpret and resolve a case. A case study engages students' interest, and motivates them to probe for deeper understanding of the concepts being introduced. It relates the subject to the real world, so that students have a stake in solving the problem. Case study method of learning is very important because it helps students to develop skills and confidence for formulating problems they have never seen before.34 Case studies force students to connect their knowledge of facts with the need for evaluative skills by putting them in the real scenario. Case study method of teaching will not be abandoned likely as it is a method since 1870 and has been widely accepted by both students and teachers. Case study method compliments the
academic delivery and adds value to the text book teaching. Text books and other teaching methods help to acquire more knowledge in the subjects while case studies provide for application of that knowledge. Therefore, in spite of arguments against its usage, the case study method makes the subject to come alive.
Supra note 4.
List of books
S.R Myneni, LEGAL RESEARCH METHODOLOGY´ 1997, Pioneer Books Publications, New Delhi. Hans Raj, THEORY AND PRACTISE IN SOCIAL RESEARCH, 3rd ed. 1984, S.S Chabbra for Surjeet publications
Wilkinson and Bhandarkar, METHODOLOGY AND TECHNIQUES OF SOCIAL RESEARCH, 1996, Himalaya Publishing House, New Delhi Devendra Thakur, RESEARCH METHODOLOGY IN SOCIAL SCIENCES, 1st ed.1994, 1st reprint 2005, Deep and Deep Publications Pvt.Ltd.
List of Articles
Boehrer, J. and M. Linsky. ³Teaching with Cases: Learning to Question.´ In M.D. Svinicki (ed.), The Changing Face of College Teaching. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, no. 42. San Francisco,: Jossey-Bass, 1990.
Steven M,Shagun, ³Save Research-Abandon the case method of teaching´, Vol 25 no.2 March- April 2006.
David A. Garvin,´ Making the Case professional education for the world of practice´, Harvard Magazine, September- October 2003, Vol 106, no. 1.
List of websites http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.