In relation to the “holiday-economized” Ninoy Aquino day today, I was able to contemplate few things about my childhood. Being born in the era of People Power, I remember frequently asking my parents, “Ma, Pa, sino mas matalino, si Ninoy ba o si Marcos?” Then, my parents would readily answer, “Si Ninoy, kasi si Marcos bad yon.” I am sure I asked that question to them more than once, but they still gave me the same answer. As I grew up, I learned to answer that question myself and I thought, my parents used the question as a tool to teach me values. Although they could have answered otherwise because Marcos was able to develop the Philippines to its peak economy, they used a constructivist approach in teaching me values. As I was aware of the killings done by Marcos, they used my question to emphasize the difference between good acts and bad acts, and that intelligence is best with virtue. Constructivist learning approach is defined by Yost, et al. in 2000 (as cited in Densten & Gray, 2001) as a way to learn by relating one’s past and familiar events to new concepts that would, in turn, imbibe new understandings to the learner. According to the article, the case method approach follows this constructivist principle. Coming straight from high school, first year nursing students will benefit from using the case study method because of two important reasons, namely: they already have science background from high school and they have high cognitive ability.
Having science background can trigger interest. A good instructor will be aware of the existing knowledge to tap in order to introduce new concepts to the learners. For instance, in introducing the concept of stem cells, the instructor may ask the students to identify the parts of a plant studied back in high school. Stem cells, according to Saladin in 2003, are cells that can develop into several different kinds of functional cells depending on the genetic trigger. The stem of a plant, in the same sense, may grow different fruits depending on the seed. With assessing prior knowledge or alternative conceptions, students have a bridge to relate the new concept to prior knowledge and thus facilitating learning.
Also, college students in general are in the formal operation stage (Videbeck, 2003). This means they have the ability to reason from abstract concepts. In a case approach, learners are expected to imagine what is happening in the given case. Although the article claims this to be the closest experience to reality, it is still abstract. Therefore, the case method may be an effective approach to nursing students because the level of teaching style corresponds to the level of learner cognition.
Given the current preparation of faculty and the requirement to have a Masters Degree, I believe nursing instructors in the Philippines are equipped to use this kind of learning style. In UERM, for example, a subject called Instructional Design can be taken as a cognate in the MSN curriculum to pave the way for instructors to enhance their teaching. In conclusion, seeing the big picture is needed in order to understand the intricacies and rationale of the nursing standards and practice. In this sense, the case method will facilitate learning in the nursing field.
Densten, I. L., & Gray, J. H. (2001). Leadership development and reflection: What is the connection? The International Journal of Educational Management, 15
(3), 119-124. Retrieved July 4, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Global database.
Saladin, K. (2003). Anatomy & physiology: The unity of form and function
(3rd ed.). The McGraw−Hill
Videbeck, S. L. (2003). Psychiatric mental health nursing
(2nd ed.). Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
How applicable are the three principles (alternative conceptions, conceptual framework, metacognitive approaches) to the present practice of presenting cases in our nursing schools? Or do you think that it is already being applied?
Considering what we’ve learned in instructional design, will the backward nature of the case study method hinder rather than facilitate learning in nursing schools?
How ready is our nursing faculty in facilitating the case study method using the given principles?