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Case Studies: Developing Critical Thinking in New Teachers

Mark A Hamilton*

Abstract

Critical thinking is increasingly depicted as a crucial component of teaching and learning programmes worldwide, including teacher education. Reflecting the trend toward inquiry-based, constructivist teacher professional development of the past twenty years, definitions and approaches to teaching critical thinking nevertheless vary quite widely. The present article thus discusses the use of case studies as an adaptable, flexible tool for developing critical thinking in student teachers, in ways
that reflect their experiences and needs. The article includes sample cases of ‘realworld’ situations of practice to show how case-study method can be employed to simulate the kinds of problems, issues and challenges new teachers may face in their
professional work. The author argues for the use of the case-study method as an authentic, experiential approach to developing new teachers’ ability to think in multiple, complex ways about teaching practice.

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