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Teaching with the Case Method

#Teaching #Case #Method

While the case method should optimally be adopted for MBA studies, its use is not limited to management sciences nor to the business domain. This teaching method is also widely employed in the social sciences, including psychology, sociology, and political science. Despite its worldwide recognition, there are still only a few educational institutions in Japan that use the case method with a full understanding of its value, purpose, and correct methodology. Why is this true?

Although there are few educational institutions here where the entire organization is committed to the use of the case study teaching method, with proper efforts, prepared individual professors can utilize case study methodology. Yet as there is a wide variety of individual interpretations of the case method, students and other concerned persons may question its efficacy in individual cases. It is easy to mouth a slogan such as “we must change our educational culture,” yet in the over 130 years of educational history in Japan since the promulgation of the Gakko Rei (Imperial Edict) in 1886, one senses that few changes have been made in graduate school educational methods.

The reason is simple: doctorate courses at Japanese graduate schools place little emphasis on lecture-type teaching. In North America and Europe, some doctorate programs even regard courses on teaching methods as mandatory. In Japan, education and guidance are largely concentrated on research methods, and little regard is paid to educational methods. It is also a fact that there are virtually no professors who are prepared to teach pedagogy. At some point along this chain, a breakthrough will be required.