Sunday, June 21, 2015

Cooperative Learning Requires Working Together in a Classroom Learning Situation

Cooperative learning is defined as any classroom learning situation in which students of all levels of performance work together in structured groups toward a shared or common goal. Students pursue learning in groups of varying communicative activities, negotiating, initiating, planning and evaluating. They are given responsibilities where all participate in a significant and meaningful way. It requires for students to work together to achieve goals that they could not achieve individually. The following may give students benefit from working in Cooperative Learning:

  • Achieve social and academic benefits
  •  Accomplish cooperative tasks
  •  Increase time on task
  •  Build cross-ethnic friendships
  • Enhance self-esteem
  • Build life-long interaction and communication skills
  • Master the habits of mind (critical, creative and self-regulated)
Cooperative learning promotes learning. It results in greater retention of subject matter. It improves attitudes toward learning. It enhances interpersonal relations among group members. Teacher’s roles in cooperative learning are task setter and facilitator/coach. The teacher provides students with on-going feedback and assessment of the group's progress. Cooperative learning models are photo essay, co-op, learning together and group investigation. Its design is think, pair and share. Students (and teachers) learn to:
  •  LISTEN while a question is posed
  • THINK (without raising hands) of a response
  • PAIR with a neighbour to discuss responses
  • SHARE their responses
Students have an opportunity to talk. Students have opportunities to think and become involved in group discussion.

Three-step Interview

1.        A student interviews another about a topic using interview and listening techniques
2.       Students switch roles as interviewer and interviewee.
3.       Pairs then join to form groups of four.

Students take turns introducing their pair partners and sharing what the pair partners had to say.

  • Students sit in teams of 3 or more, with one piece of paper and one pencil.
  • The teacher asks a question which has multiple answers.
  • Students take turns writing one answer. 
  • Teams reflect on their strategies and consider ways they could improve.
Number Heads Together

·         The students in each team are numbered 
·         Students coach each other
·         Teachers pose a question and call a number
·         Only the students with that number are eligible to answer and earn points.

Pairs Check
  • Students work in teams of four with two sets of partners
  • The worksheet is set up with problems presented in pairs.
  • The first person in each partnership does the first problem with the pair partner serving as coach
  •  After the first problem is done, partners change roles
Send a Problem

  •  Each student on a team writes a review problem on a flash card.
  • Teams reach consensus on answers and write them on the backs of the cards.
  • Each group's stack of questions is passing on to another group, which attempts to answer them and checks to see if they agree with the sending group. They can write their alternative answers.
  • Stacks of cards can be sent to a third and fourth group. Stacks of cards are finally returned to the senders, who may discuss the alternative answers.

Face- to-Face Promotive Interaction

·         Learning is active rather than passive.
·         Teams encourage discussion of ideas.
·         Peer assistance
·         Students learn to value individual differences
·         Promote elaborate thinking.

Positive Interdependence
·         Feel that everyone need each other
·         “sink or swim together”
·         Having a single product
·         Built into a reward structure
·         Team improvement rather than outright grades

Individual Accountability – Personal Responsibility

·         Everyone in the group feels that they are each accountable to complete a task
·         No hitchhiking
·         Each must be able to summarize another’s ideas

Interpersonal and Collaborative Skills
·         Working together skills:  summarizing and recording
·         Maintenance skills:   encouraging each other
·         Foster skill development: modeling and brainstorming
·         Presses direct practice, process observing and reflection

Reflection/Group Processing of Interaction

·  Giving students the time and procedures to analyze how well their groups are functioning and how well they are using the collaborative skills.
·         Examples include:

ü   How well did I listen?
ü  Did we take turns and include everyone?
ü  How could we have coached each other better?   
ü  How can the class function more smoothly
Team Formation Issues

·         The smallest group is two. The largest recommended is six.


ü  It's hard to get left out of a pair
ü  Triads tend to surface issues and are good for process observing
ü  Teams of four allow multiple ways to pair.

  • Research favors groups which are heterogeneous with regard to academic achievement, gender, ethnicity, task orientation, ability, and learning style.

·      Promote more elaborate thinking and explanations
·      Provide opportunities for students to develop feelings of mutual concern


·      Groups that stay together for longer periods (4-6 weeks) form stronger bonds, develop more complex collaborative skills, and can tackle more complex tasks.
·        Group members should not be so long that bonds become counter-productive

Student Team Learning Techniques


·    Refer to any strategy in which each student on a team receives only a piece of the material that is to be learned.
·         Students must rely on the other members of their team to learn all of the material.

Using Role Cards

       Each member of the group is assigned a task and given a role.
       A set of role cards should be constructed for each team member.
       Teachers should explain and model the task
       Roles should be rotated on a regular basis

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