In many classrooms, students sit in straight rows, face forward, and the teacher lectures at them for 45 to 55 minutes. The students take notes (or sleep) and then move on to their next class. This is not how students learn best. Humans are innately social beings and learning in this way can help.
Types of Cooperative Learning
- STAD (Student Teams Achievement Division)
- Class presentations by teacher
- Teams help each other study for the quiz
- Use a quiz to see what they learned. Students take it individually
- Individual improvement scores to show how students have improved
- Team recognition for improvement scores
- Jigsaw II
- Students will become experts on a part of the material in groups
- Students will be given an expert sheet to help guide them in their studies
- Expert groups are groups of people all becoming an expert on the same thing
- Teams are groups of people who are experts in different things
- Experts report back to their team and report back all of their findings
- A quiz can be used to test students comprehension
- Co-op Co-op
- Uses student centered discussion where students express their interests within the topic being discusses
- Students form teams based on interests, not friendships to research the topic of interest
- Teams will break their topic into minitopics and each member will research a minitopic
- Each team will give a presentation on their topic
- Students can be evaluated in any way with this style
- Group Investigation
- Students break into teams and pick a topic. The teams are in charge of coming up with their research strategy
- Within the teams, students pick smaller topics to focus on
- Teams and teacher meet and plan out procedures to help match the subtopics
- Students carry out their research by doing a wide range of activities both in and out of school
- This is to be completely student led, but the teacher is there if the teams need assistance
- Teams decide on a way to summarize their findings and present it to the class in an interesting way
- Guided peer reciprocal questions
- The teacher presents a little lecture on the topic
- The teacher gives students a set of questions stems to help guide students in writing their own questions
- Students do not need to be able to answer the question they write
- In teams, each student asks at least one of their questions to the team
— Ashley Faher (@an_faher) September 28, 2017
Well, now that we’re through the nitty gritty of different types of cooperative learning, lets get into the fun stuff!
Elements of a successful collaborative classroom:
Arrangement of the classroom
This video from YouTube shows a teacher wanting to rearrange his classroom to be more conducive to collaborative learning. I have included part one of the transformation above.
Positive interdependence among students
- Teachers need to encourage students to be interdependent on one another
- This also comes with a need for trust. Students need to trust each other in order to want to work together.
- Without trust, students will feel uneasy working in teams because they might feel they are going to end up with all the work
- Teachers can start building trust the first day by doing class activities where they all work together toward a common goal
Holding teams accountable
- I know in my educational career, group work meant my work with multiple names on it. One way to avoid students feeling like this is to keep every team accountable
- This can be done in a variety of ways
- Checkpoints: teachers can have checkpoints for different portions of the project to make sure teams are on track
- Peer evaluation forms: these forms will allow team members to rate the other members and their contribution to the project
So why implement cooperative learning in my classroom?
- Research has shown that group, hands on activities are best for learning
- Students will have more fun and will be more engaged in the topics!
- By having fun projects and getting to work together, students will find the learning more meaningful and will be more motivated to work on it
- Many of the styles have the students pick topics they are interested in to research. By letting them pick things they are interested in within a topic, they are more likely to want to put in the time to learn more about it
- It gives students real life experiences on working together. Nearly all jobs are cooperative in some way, and this will help students learn to work together
- It is more fun for you and the students! It gets you out from the front of the classroom and lets the kids be the teachers
Lets face it. Our students are going to get tired of us giving them the information and always being in front of the classroom. These methods get them learning, and also puts them in the center of the classroom.
— Kimberlee Hensley (@HensleyLLSD) October 5, 2017
TEAM not group
I have been a competitive swimmer for the past 14 years. I work hard for my TEAM. Group work has such a negative connotation in school today that many students freak out when they hear they are doing it. When they hear they are going to be in a team, many students step up to not let their team down.
Cooperative Lesson: Plate Tectonics Detective-Jigsaw
- Show the following video on the 2016 Fukushima earthquakehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMW8Rg2TTqs
- Have students break into teams
- Within each student will become an expert on one type of plate boundary. They will be given an expert sheet to help guide their research. This sheet will ask them to define the boundary, where it is most common, to draw a picture, explain what it does, and whether or not they they think it could have caused this earthquake
- The teams objective is to discover what type of plate boundary caused this earthquake
- Once they have decided on what boundary caused this earthquake, they are going to create a large poster that illustrates the different type of boundaries and explains them
- This lesson can be extended by having students look more into earthquakes and their effects.
When students work together, they will be firing ideas off of each other for every topic. Each student who walks through your door will have some prior experience with the topic you are teaching. Let them harness their experiences and build on it.