Jigsaw technique is one of cooperative learning techniques.
Slavin (1995) mentions that cooperative learning refers to a variety of teaching
methods in which students work in small groups to help one another learn academic
content. Research over the last twenty years has identified cooperative learning
methods can be used effectively at every grade level to teach every type of content,
from math to reading to writing to science, from basic skills to complex problem
Neil Davidson (1990: pp. 8-9) defines cooperating learning involves some certain
things. They are a task for a group completion, discussion and (if possible) resolution,
face-to-face interaction in small groups, an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual
helpfulness within each group, individual accountability (everyone does their share),
heterogeneous grouping, explicit teaching of collaborative skills, structured mutual
Kagan and Kagan (1994: pp. 125-129) describe four principles which are key to the
structural approach to cooperative learning namely simultaneous interaction, equal
participation, positive interdependence and individual accountability.
Some students seem find it difficult to comprehend a text which is relatively long and
full of new words they come across.
It is more helpful for some students to negotiate the meaning of some new words and
to understand a paragraph in a team, and share the result of the negotiation to build
comprehension of the whole text with other teams.
A possible way to aid the students is by applying ‘jigsaw’ technique.
This article examines the use of ‘jigsaw’ technique as one of the strategies for
teaching reading. The article begins with the concept of ‘jigsaw’ technique, and
continues with various ways of using this technique for teaching reading in various
The concept of ‘jigsaw’ technique
Definition of ‘jigsaw’ technique
Jigsaw is a cooperative learning invented by social psychologist Elliot Aronson in 1970. Its
strategy enables each student of a “home” group to specialize in one aspect of a learning unit.
Students meet with members from other groups who are assigned the same aspect, and after
mastering the material, return to the “home” group and teach the material to their group
Just as in a jigsaw puzzle, each piece--each student's part--is essential for the completion and
full understanding of the final product. If each student's part is essential, then each student is
essential. That is what makes the Jigsaw instructional strategy so effective.
The Jigsaw method is a cooperative learning technique in which students work in small
groups. Jigsaw can be used in a variety of ways for a variety of goals, but it is primarily
used for the acquisition and presentation of new material, review, or informed debate.
Advantages/significance of this technique
 positive interdependence
collaborative skills
processing group interaction
heterogeneous grouping
individual accountability
In addition the technique has some other benefits, namely
Teacher is not the sole provider of knowledge
Efficient way to learn
Students take ownership in the work and achievement
Students are held accountable among their peers
Learning revolves around interaction with peers
Students are active participants in the learning process
Builds interpersonal and interactive skills
Steps of conducting this technique
teacher forms home teams
each home team member gets a different piece of the reading material: e.g. piece A, B, C,
or D.
students form expert teams to become experts on their own piece
they return home and teach their piece to their home team
home teams combine the information from their experts with their other knowledge to
perform a task
The use of ‘jigsaw’ technique in teaching reading
Teaching reading
To make materials for jigsaw, some steps need taking, namely:
- Select one or more chapters, stories, or other units
- Make an expert sheet for each unit
- Make a quiz, essay test, or other assessment for each unit
- Use discussion outlines (optional)
Assignment of Students to Teams
Assign students to four- or five-member heterogeneous team
Assignment of Students to Expert groups
Determination of Initial Base Scores
Assign students initial base scores. Use a quiz score sheet to record the scores.
Activities of Teaching Reading Using Jigsaw Reading
Students receive expert topics and read assigned material to locate information
Main Idea:
Materials needed:
Expert-group discussion
Main idea:
Materials needed:
Team report
Main Idea:
Main Idea:
Materials needed:
Team recognition
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