My case-studies are so different!

Well, here’s a thing. Not that I didn’t expect this, but I am finding that my cases are all intrinsically completely different. And this is a challenge. Why? Because the first case I looked at was quite easy to delineate the areas to analyse, and there is plenty there within the particular transcripts I’ve selected that will contribute to the narrative and the discussion chapter.

In the current case there is so much else to look at other than episodes, that I am wondering how I am to create a narrative out of my data. Which parts do I analyse? What do I analyse? This case is very difficult.

There is so much struggle in this second case. I worry about how I might sensitively represent the issues surrounding this case that, at heart, spring from a problematic student, in a regional town. I need to talk about the repetition of the learning elements, that the teacher patiently refers to again and again and again, throughout the semester. I need to talk about the student’s “incapacity” to learn and develop and what may be contributing to this incapacity. I need to talk about some of the different approaches the teachers employs to try and help the student’s understanding. I perhaps need to talk about why the student was admitted in the first instance. Because all of these contribute to a frustrating semester for both teacher and student.

It’s so different to the other case, where the student’s understanding was quick, intuitive and impressive, and where a continual dialogue about understanding concepts was evident between teacher and student. Do I have issues with the current teacher’s approach? I have to think about this. I suspect the teacher has worked so hard with the student already, and I notice that in the last few lessons some voice building and specific, targeted exercises were attempted that showed good feedback from the teacher and a deeply impressive show of patience. I am aware that my own feelings about this case study are compounded by my attitudes toward the student (basically, get with the program kiddo and do some bloody work, use your noggin, think, do some research, practise, and stop wasting everyone’s time). I am heartened by comments made by the student that refers to an open, collegial relationship with the teacher, but the struggle the teacher has with this student: is it worth it? Is the student motivated enough to try, to practise consistently, and to not be so darn afraid? Has the teacher tried to use other pedagogical approaches? Has the teacher openly said that if the student does not have the music learnt by week 3 that there will be no lesson until all the notes and words are memorised? I think I would have. This is more about me, though, and not the teacher. Maybe the teacher has already tried this approach. Maybe the teacher has found that the best way for this student is the current way. Luckily, these are questions I can ask the teacher AND the student, because I have yet to organise my final interviews.

Something I intend to do this week.


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