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Unit 11- Instructor's Notes-Cooperative Learning (2)

Unit 11:
Cooperative Learning
 Students love to socialize
 Learning is social
 What students learn through the interactions with others
forms the basis for complex thinking and understanding
 Group and cooperative learning is an approach where these
principles can be applied
 This model allows students to learn as they watch, listen, talk
to, and support others
 Uses Zone of Proximal Development
Introduction Cont.
 Many teachers are reluctant to use group work because they
have not seen it done successfully; they do not know how to
form effective groups
 When there is not genuine collaboration, group work is
frustrating and ineffective
 Just working in a group does not mean students are
collaborating meaningfully
 Cooperative learning is the process involving students working
structured teams with the goal of every student improving
Introduction Cont.
 Success in cooperative learning is determined by the learning
of each student in the group
 Benefits:
Consistent academic improvement
Longer retention of content
Improved critical reasoning abilities
Improved intrinsic motivation
Reduction of disruptive behaviors
Improved social relationships
Improved attitudes toward school, teachers, and the content
Introduction Cont.
 Students are more motivated when they can work
together and socialize
 Students do better through interaction; they are working
in their Zones of Proximal Development where they can
clarify, reflect, reformulate, and elaborate on the content
 Modeling involves learners observing how others take
action, seek solutions, or think about a situation
 Teachers are great and primary role-models for modeling
Introduction Cont.
 To make group work effective, you have to structure your
lessons to achieve collaboration
 Teachers can tell quickly if students are struggling and address
the misconceptions or re-teach
 Learning occurs when students become active participants in
 In traditional, large group lessons, some individuals do not get
 Small-group learning provides a context that encourages all
students to become actively engaged in the lessons
Introduction Cont.
 Increased student-to-student and student-to-teacher
interactions that collaborative learning experiences
provide helps to
 Develop students’ oral-language proficiencies
 Increase the probability they will acquire new content
 Adds to students’ sense of personal competence
Group Difficulties
 You may experience some difficulties when you initially
use small-group learning experiences
 Students may not know how to work together
 Students may argue or sit back and do nothing
 Some may not like small-group work—these students
may just be used to large-group instruction or have not
experience productive collaboration
Remedy the Issues
 Know students well
 Diagnose obstacles before they begin
 Plan lessons for small-groups carefully
Creating Conditions that
Facilitate Small-Group Learning
 Works best if students have been taught how to work in this
 One of the most important requirements is that your students
understand the purpose of the activity and what they are
going to learn from it
 Point out personal benefits
 Many teachers who are reluctant to use group and cooperative
learning express concerns about some students not working
productively in this setting
 Generally most students won’t have an issue if they are
provided appropriate structure and orientation
Creating Conditions that
Facilitate Small-Group Learning
 Give students clear guidelines regarding what they are to do
and what the expected outcome of the lesson should be—
what should they know and be able to do after the lesson
 Require group members to produce some sort of tangible
product of learning at the end of the lesson
 This shows you and the students something worthwhile has
been accomplished
 Require each group member to have a role or job that they are
responsible for
Teaching Prerequisite
 Begin by teaching students specific skills that will help them
work together
Active listening
Giving clear explanations
Resolving conflicts
Avoiding criticisms or put-downs
Asking for clarification
 Have students practice these skills by forming small groups
and giving them simple tasks
 When they become more comfortable with the skills, you can
use larger groups and more complex tasks
Understanding Peer
 These can be complex in adolescents
 They can change from year to year or even within different
 Some students may have been labeled in ways that diminish
their expectations of success and otherwise introduce tensions
into the overall classroom learning environment.
 Make students comfortable with each other before
 Help students who generally feel isolated from others in the
class and who may be reluctant to fully engage in
collaborative activities
Creating a Climate of Respect
and Trust
 Productive group work demands mutual respect and trust
 If students don’t respect one another, they will have difficulty
accepting contributions of all members of the class
 This can especially happen if students feel they are personally
doing more than their fair share of the work
 Ensure each student is doing an equal part of the work—
assigning tasks or roles can help with this as in Literature
Decreasing Risk Factors
 One of the greatest risk factors that interferes with student
involvement is fear of failure
 Take actions to lower risks of participation and increase active
 Students have to believe working together (in their ZPDs) will
benefit them
 They need to see real benefits of their participation in small-groups
 Students will be concerned about grading; they have grown up in a
competitive environment competing for grades
 Explain how students will be assessed fairly
Implementing Cooperative
Goal Structures
 Goal structure refers to the way individuals relate to each
other in accomplishing a particular goal
 There are 3 basic types of structures that will be
discussed in the following slides
 Competitive Goal Structure
 Individualistic Goal Structure
 Cooperative Goal Structure
Competitive Goal
 Students are placed in competition with each other
 This emphasis has long been a part of the school system
 Belief is that competition is motivating, which is true,
but only for those who think they can win
 Individuals who believe they cannot win, will not be
motivated by this structure—they are discouraged and
tend to drop out
 Most common type of goal used in schools
Competitive Goal
 Students are ranked according to scores on tests or being
graded on a curve
 Identification of winners and losers is based on narrow
range of abilities that can be easily assessed on
paper/pencil tests
 These types of tests favor students with specific abilities
over others who may have strengths in other areas
 Students may refuse to play the game if they feel the
cards are stacked against them
Individualistic Goal
 This structure does not require students to perform at
better levels than others
 Success is purely an individual endeavor unrelated to the
efforts of others
 An individual performance standard is set for each
 You judge based on how well the student does in relation
to the standard
 Decreases risk factors associated with competition
Individualistic Goal
 Can still have some negative consequences
 Does little to enhance group cohesion
 Research shows individuals fail at their jobs when they are
unable to work with others
 Individualistic goals overlook the fact that students do not
live their lives in isolation—part of interdependent culture
 Overlook human need for belonging and socialization
 This is also a negative structure for ELLs
Cooperative Goal
 To achieve success in this structure, students have to know how to
work productively together
 Recognizes that different individuals have unique skills and abilities
 When skills and abilities are joined together, greater
accomplishments are possible
 Cooperative settings in the classroom mirror the world outside the
 Potential difficulty is that some students tend not to do their part
 Cooperative goal structure requires that you make sure all members
of a team use their skills and abilities
Preparing Students for
Small-Group Work
Successful group work takes preparation
Frey, Fisher, Everlove (2009) suggest starting with two-student conversations
Provide students with prompts focusing on activities such as:
Explaining ideas
Checks for understanding
Responding to others’ ideas
Handling disagreements
Introduce group work systematically by presenting the goals and expectations of
group work by giving guided practice
Helps them to develop the much needed interpersonal and social skills they will
use as they continue this type of collaboration
 Good to break the ice
 Have each student find out something about another person in
the class
 Then have student form groups of 4 where each student
shares what they learned
 Then they have to remember something about all 4 group
members—as their task
 Follow the procedure till you get to groups of 16
 You will be amazed at how much they can remember
 Begins a focused dialogue between two students
 Start by giving your students a problem or question to think about
 Then students pair up to discuss what they thought
 Finally students share with the rest of the class what they discussed
as a pair
 This technique helps students learn how to share and discuss their
ideas—2 heads are better than one
 There is not single correct response; everyone contributes
 Encourage diversity of answers and opinions
 Helps students develop skills that assist them in
becoming more productive group members
 Organize students in 2 circles
 Outside circle observes behaviors of the inside circle
 Each outsider is given 1 insider to watch
 Give insiders a problem to discuss or a task to complete
 Outsiders watch how the insiders work
Inside-Out Cont.
 Then reverse positions and repeat process
 In the end, return to the whole class and have student
share observations of how they solved the problems that
were helpful
 Purpose: help students recognize and commit to kinds of
behaviors that facilitate completion of tasks
 Introduces students to the idea of group scoring and individual
 Organize students into groups of 4
 Give every person in the group a number 1-4
 Give each group a question or problem
 The group comes up with an answer and practices it, so all members
know it
 Call out a number to see if everyone can answer the question
 Expectation that everyone in the group needs to know the answer to
be able to speak for the group
Buzz Session
 Each group is given a focus topic
 1 student is the recorder
 This person has a paper with 3 columns to create a KWL
 Buzz sessions begins by group members generating
information related to the topic as the recorder writes it down
 Students hear other perspectives of what their peers already
know or want to know about the topic
 Opportunities to think about how to find needed information
Cooperative Learning
 Technique that emphasizes cooperative goal structures
 Follow certain guidelines that distinguish them from just
group work
 Positive interdependence—individuals must depend on
each other to accomplish a given task
 Might be accomplished through a division of labor,
resources, or different roles, or the establishment of goals
that cannot be reached unless everyone works together
Cooperative Learning
 Another requirement if face-to-face interactions
 An activity cannot be cooperative learning if students are
physically separated, students work independently, or the
result is pulling the individual parts together
 There has to be interconnectedness among the students
throughout the activity even if students have specialized
 Must have individual accountability—each member of the
group is held accountable for their contribution and overall
Cooperative Learning
 Requires students to use social and small-group skills
 Cooperative learning will not work if individuals who
lack social skills are placed in a group and asked to
 Students need some leadership, decision making,
communication, and conflict management skills to have
academic success in cooperative learning
 Cooperative learning teaches social skills
Cooperative Learning
 Includes group processing—members of the group are involved in
evaluating how the group functions and what behaviors or actions
helped them to be successful
 They should be involved in formative assessment of the group, so all
members receive feedback on social and academic skills
 Researchers have found that cooperative learning lessons result in
higher levels of student achievement
 Effective when the task involves complex learning and problem
solving—especially for lower-ability students
 Positive impact on social and personal outcomes: race relations, selfesteem, attitudes toward school, and acceptance of students with
Cooperative Learning
 Examples of widely used cooperative learning strategies:
 Student Teams-Achievement Divisions
 Teams-Games-Tournaments
 Jigsaw
 Learning Together
 Group Investigation
You may want to look these up if you are unfamiliar with
Cooperative Learning in
Diverse Classrooms
 Good pedagogy for all students
 The challenge for you as the teacher is to implement
cooperative learning in a thoughtful manner and differentiate
tasks in an effort to personalize learning for all students
 All students can learning something new and contribute to the
learning process
 Key to success is using a variety of teaching strategies
 Select the appropriate approach for the students and combine
with other strategies and techniques
 Small-group learning capitalizes on students’ interests in
working together
 Success in small-group work is not automatic—it has to
be taught
 Introduce small-group work gradually and build up to
more complex tasks
 Cooperative learning goes beyond working in groups
 Hold all students accountable for their parts in