case teaching

The theory behind a case-oriented class (including in Law and Business Schools) is to be able to see the world through a set of facts, because that is how we encounter real life anyway–first through experience, then through thinking about that experience.  The cases in class represent “stakes in the ground” around which you can begin to accumulate broader issues and understanding.  In my own reading, it’s easy to see countless connections that the news stories suggest to the framework of cases.  In today’s Times, for example, a story about the GOP intraparty feud in New York reminds me of the McCain 2000 primary case.  The gay rights referendum in Maine suggests the case of Alan Rogers and “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”  So, at least that’s the theory for how the course is intended, and I hope you are making some connections for yourself.  Also important is the critical thinking link between claims and evidence, so for an excellent example of the kinds of unsupported claims at the heart of the first assignment, see Nick Kristoff’s column today on “The best health care system in the world” (at least not by a number of standards one could look to for evidence, as reviewed by the columnist).ts-kristof-190

That self-aggrandizing delusion may be the single greatest myth in the health care debate. In fact, America’s health care system is worse than Slov—er, oops, more on that later.

The United States ranks 31st in life expectancy (tied with Kuwait and Chile), according to the latest World Health Organization figures. We rank 37th in infant mortality (partly because of many premature births) and 34th in maternal mortality. A child in the United States is two-and-a-half times as likely to die by age 5 as in Singapore or Sweden, and an American woman is 11 times as likely to die in childbirth as a woman in Ireland.

One Response to “case teaching”

  1. Carson Chavana Says:

    I’ve actually subconsciously found myself finding comparisons with the stories I read in the Times and past case studies as well. However, instead of just merely realizing that the topics of the stories relate, such as the aforementioned connection with the 2000 election with McCain and today’s first page story about Mayor Bloomberg’s election, I try to imagine how the reporters are strategizing and formatting their stories. Though the case studies obviously offer us the advantage of going “behind the scenes,” I have find that I have formed a new habit of imaging what the story behind the actual reported story is.

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