An Interesting Perspective: Less Me, More We

Howdy bloggers,

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.

Image result for teamworkImage result for 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).

Image result for xavier basketball celebration

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:

  1. STAD
    • Students work together to complete project
    • Take an individual quiz
    • Individual assessment score
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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 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.”


  1. Katin,
    All parts of the team are essential to the success of a team. If one student doesn’t perform to the best of their ability, the results of the entire team suffer. However, as I said above, the team also can help to inspire its members to perform their best by supporting them throughout the process. Teamwork within the classroom is very useful in enhancing the lesson.

  2. Billy,

    I really enjoyed your blog post this week! I thought it was very creative. Your analogy with basketball was well done. I liked how you said that if one player does not pull their weight then the team suffers. I think this directly relates to teamwork in a classroom. I also though your video help solidify your point very well! Plus, I liked that you described the different types of teamwork that could be used in a classroom. Overall, you did a really nice job!


  3. Hayley,
    Teamwork is so important to cooperative learning. Everyone on the team needs to contribute to allow the team to have the greatest chance for success. However, teams also offer support for team members who may struggle at a particular aspect of the project. Working together in teams enhances the learning and allows a group of individuals to come up with an idea that they would have otherwise been unable to come up with on their own.

  4. Billy,
    I may have already said this on another one of your blogs but I absolutely love the way you are incorporating all of your blogs under “an interesting perspective” it shows how all of these ideas in the blogs can be useful in incorporating new perspectives in the world of education. The description you gave on teamwork and how it is a two wway street really showcases the difference between the idea of “groups” versus “teams” and shows how teams are a much more collaborative unit and must succeed and grow together. The video and tweet were great for showcasing real life examples of cooperative teams. I would love to hear about an example for your future science classroom as well. Well done!

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