Herman, W.E. (1998). Promoting pedagogical reasoning as preservice teachers analyze case vignettes. Journal of Teacher Education , 49, 391-397
P.H.D. = pedagogical heuristics device
The amount of class time to explore the detail of the P.H.D. dictated the need for brevity in the classroom stimulus. Written case vignettes were brief (1-2 pages) and offered critical incidents that could lead to depth of analysis and teacher interventions. Many excellent sources of case studies exist (e.g., Kowalski, Weaver, & Henson, 1990; Silverman et al., 1994).
This heuristic device is a general set of questions and tasks guiding future teachers in the process of solving educational problems. Shavelson and Stern (1981) defined heuristics as implicit rules that people are unaware of and use in complex tasks in order to select information, classify objects or persons, or revise their knowledge (p.469). Students learned to use this P.H.D. to interpret case vignettes depicting classroom situations, link theory to the educational context, and develop teacher action plans.
They began by analyzing the situation in terms of such elements as historical time period, emotional states, quality of the relationships, verbal/nonverbal messages, motivations, defenses, and social/multicultural elements.
Next, students were asked to link five theoretical constructs to the scene on the basis of their potential to add understanding to the teaching and learning aspects of the situation.
Students then were asked to describe each selected construct, then generate 10 possible teacher responses along with possible student reactions to these responses.
Finally, students generated and evaluated a five-point action plan based upon internal/external criteria, why it might work or fail, and moral/ethical/ political considerations.