Today marks the fourth official installment on An Interesting Perspective. In this post, we will discuss cooperative learning and its importance within the classroom.
What is cooperative learning? When you think back to the good ole days, what do you remember about cooperation within the classroom? If you’re like most, you probably responded with group projects. Now, group projects aren’t necessarily the worst option ever, but I’m here to propose a new idea: Teamwork.
When talking about teamwork, things that usually come to mind would be things such as sports teams, work teams, or executive teams; however, classroom teams aren’t included in this list. Why is that?
Think for a second what components are necessary for a team. You need a coach and players. The number of players needed depends on the task. For example, in soccer you need 11 players on the field, but you also need several on the bench to substitute. However, in basketball you are only allowed to have five players on the court, plus a few substitutes. Why can’t these concepts be applied to the classroom? You have a coach (the teacher) and players (the students).
Now, think about how a team actually works. The common phrased used is “a team is only as strong as its weakest link.” Whether or not this phrase is entirely true is still up for debate, but it certainly holds some merit. If not everyone on the team is contributing, it is very difficult to succeed. Lets go back to the basketball example. If one of those players decides not to show up, it puts a strain on everyone else. This inhibits the teams ability to perform at their best, ultimately hindering their success.
However, teamwork is a two way street. Teamwork also allows team members to build up one another. What happens to each individual happens to the entire team. If one struggles, they all struggle. If one succeeds, they all succeed. The video below does an excellent job at describing how this works.
Incorporating this teamwork into the classroom allows for better learning. Here are five ways that teamwork can be implemented into the classroom:
- Students work together to complete project
- Take an individual quiz
- Individual assessment score
- Jigsaw II
- Break into teams and assign a topic for each member to master
- Team members report back their findings to their team
- Encourages discussion and diversity in learning
- Co-op Co-op
- Teacher introduces a topic
- Students brainstorm list of topics
- Teams assigned a topic and members select a sub-topic to master
- Present topic to class
- Group Investigation
- Students select topic
- Cooperative plan developed by class
- Implementation of the plan by students
- Students analyze and synthesize information
- Present analysis to class and evaaluate
- Guided Reciprocal Peer Questioning
- Introduce topic
- Students given question stems to help guide their thoughts
- Students come up with questions they have about the material and break into teams
- Teams discuss these questions
Cooperative learning w/chess in 9th grade math, Laurel HS. How can we use linear models in context of data graphed? pic.twitter.com/9EutO2fDcJ
— Dr. John D. Ewald (@John_D_Ewald) April 12, 2013
Cooperative learning allows students to work with one another and learn from one another. These strategies allow students to see different perspectives and allows for more diverse and creative solutions. It allows them to have a significant role in the learning and to be a part of something bigger than themselves. In summary, and in the words of Helen Keller, “alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”