Topic 2: Teaching with cases


Teaching in which students learn and obtain skills through practical real-life examples that involve multiple stakeholders.


  • Students get prepared for real-life challenges.
  • Learning through practical examples may improve understanding of the lesson‘s content and improve practical skills of students.
  • A well presented case can stimulate students for engaging and meaningful debate.


  • Preparing a case (through which students would learn/gain skills and through which students would feel inspired to debate) can be quite time-consuming.
  • A class might end with a summary of the debate that include different perspectives („on one hand … on the other hand …“), which can end up with students leaving the class confused or irritated, not recognizing what they have learnt.
  • be based on real-life situations
  • be believable
  • consists of several parts that conclude with the basis for discussion.
  • include enough information that the class can deal and discuss with the issues presented
  • cover the questions: WHO? WHEN AND WHERE? WHAT? WHY?
  • Who are the important stakeholders involved in the case? How do they interact with each other? What is the relation of power between them?
  • What are the issues that need to be resolved?
  • How do stakeholeds act regarding the issue? How is the issue being managed? What are the effects?
  • What is the broader context of the case?
  • What are possible barriers and challenges to resolving the case?
  • What is the aim of presenting the case? What do you want students to learn though the case?
  • What are the limitations of the case?

Activity 1 : Experiencing cases through role play

A) Prepare a real-life case you want to present in the class.

B) Specify several stakeholders that are playing a role in the case.

C) After theoretically presenting the case in the class, invite students to „transform“ into various stakeholders. If nobody voluntary takes the role, invite the whole class to vote for somebody to take the role. The students with the most votes are invited to take the roles.

D) Choose and present a setting (or more settings) in which these stakeholders meet.

E) Ask students who were chosen play stakeholders to meet in this setting.

F) You decide when the „scene“ ends. After that, invite the whole class to reflect on what they observed from the interaction of the stakeholders. The „stakeholders“ (students who were playing) are the last ones who share their reflection.