Global Scholars take their learning to a new level with the Harvard Case Method


Ms. Judy Scinto

The Harvard Case Method Civics Project introduces Global Scholars to a college-level learning style.

For the second year in a row, Sacred Heart Greenwich Global Scholars 2022 Cohort (GSP) participated in a Harvard Case Method Community Discussion via Zoom Wednesday, November 10.  GSP senior candidates, Leah Allen, Joi Almonacy, Charlotte Fallon, Mimi Lee, Kayla Malcolm-Joseph, Diana McIntire, Claire Miller, Claire Moore, Elisa Taylor, and Maddie Wise, represented Sacred Heart at the annual forum along with over 200 participants from neighboring schools such as Greenwich High School, Greenwich Academy, and Brunswick, as well as teachers from across the United States.  GSP students collaborated with Ms. Judy Scinto, Global Scholars Coordinator and Upper School Spanish Teacher, to prepare their case.  Dr. David A. Moss, Harvard Business School Professor, directed the case discussion. 

Ten Sacred Heart Global Scholars participated in the Harvard Case Method.  Courtesy of Ms. Judy Scinto

The Harvard Case Method Project is an ongoing initiative to increase civic engagement in high schools in the United States.  The case method is a best-in-class teaching pedagogy at the university level, both in terms of methods and materials.  It encourages students to put history in the present tense to foster an active and engaging discussion and debate.  Instead of reading and taking notes from a textbook, the case method provides a narrative-style summary. 

Harvard University brought their case method to high schools through a United States history curriculum.  According to Ms. Scinto, the case method requires students to ask questions that are crucial to understanding a healthy society, such as what makes a strong constitution?  What are examples of countries with more centralized governments?  What are examples of decentralized governments?  Ms. Scinto considers the case method to be a fantastic teaching tool for high school civics, focusing on United States history, politics, and leadership.  She believes that the Harvard Case Method is a tremendous opportunity for students because it requires them to think critically as leaders rather than just students or historians.

Students participated in the James Madison Case, which focused on a pivotal moment in United States history and raised questions facing critical decision-makers at the time.  The case asks students to weigh choices and consequences, wrestle with momentous decisions, and come to their own conclusions.  It provokes students to rethink which factors make the difference between constructive and destructive conflict and provides an opportunity to re-engage the passionate debates that are crucial to a healthy society.

GSP candidates who attended the civic discussion were able to learn in a different and abstract way and gain experience with collegiate teaching styles.  Ms. Scinto explained that GSP students will now apply what they have learned from the Harvard Case Method to look around the world to see what other constitutional democracies exist and how they can compare and contrast them with the United States government.

Seniors Charlotte Fallon and Maddie Wise both attended the online event.  Charlotte is confident that her participation in the Harvard Case Method this year will benefit her in future academic and professional environments. 

Global Scholars seniors Mimi Lee ’22 and Charlotte Fallon ’22 contribute to the case method discussion.  Courtesy of Ms. Judy Scinto

“I definitely think that this experience will help me in the future, especially in college,” Charlotte said.  “It exposed me to a conversation with over 200 people, which will be similar to college classes.  The pace of the conversation allowed me to be engaged and stay focused on the topic while absorbing what everyone was saying.  There were so many people with many different opinions and ideas, so I was able to hear new perspectives while trying to form my opinion, which will be a useful skill in the future.” 

Discussion participants were able to collaborate with people across the country.  Maddie described the aspects of Wednesday night’s discussion that she enjoyed most.

“My favorite part of the Harvard Case Method was getting exposed to a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives since many of the participants came from places all across the country,” Maddie said.  “It was so interesting to see how geographical location affects certain individuals’ beliefs and opinions.  Additionally, I really enjoyed participating in a college-level learning method – it was very different from anything I have ever done in school so far. “

Ms. Scinto believes that the experience was highly positive for the 2022 GSP cohort.  She hopes that students can use the skills that they learned during the discussion in their future college endeavors. 

“It was exhilarating to be in an academic setting with so many intelligent minds and moderated by a Harvard professor,” Ms. Scinto said.  “While the discussion was certainly difficult, many Global Scholars raised their hands and made significant contributions on behalf of Sacred Heart Greenwich. Global Scholar students are curious and eager to learn at the college level, and I am confident that they will use the case method in the future.”

Featured Image by Madison Hart ’24