Cooperative Learning

Cooperative Learning by Julien Coci

Cooperative learning is an approach to organizing classroom activities into academic and social learning experiences. Students must work in groups to complete tasks collectively toward academic goals. Everyone succeeds when the group succeeds. Ross and Smyth (1995) describe successful cooperative learning tasks as intellectually demanding, creative, open-ended, and involve higher order thinking tasks.

According to Brown & Ciuffetelli Parker (2009) and Siltala (2010)

the 5 basic and essential elements to cooperative learning:

  1. Positive interdependence
    1. Students must fully participate and put forth effort within their group
    2. Each group member has a task/role/responsibility therefore must believe that they are responsible for their learning and that of their group
  2. Face-to-face promotive interaction
    1. Members promote each other’s success
    2. Students explain to one another what they have or are learning and assist one another with understanding and completion of assignments
  3. Individual and group accountability
    1. Each student must demonstrate mastery of the content being studied
    2. Each student is accountable for their learning and work, therefore eliminating work avoidance
  4. Social skills
    1. Social skills that must be taught in order for successful cooperative learning to occur
    2. Skills include effective communication, interpersonal and group skills
      1. Leadership
      2. Decision-making
      3. Trust-building
      4. Communication
      5. Conflict-management skills
  5. Group processing
    1. Every so often groups must assess their effectiveness and decide how it can be improved

In order for student achievement to improve considerably, two characteristics must be present

  1. When designing cooperative learning tasks and reward structures, individual responsibility and accountability must be identified. Individuals must know exactly what their responsibilities are and that they are accountable to the group in order to reach their goal.
  2. All group members must be involved in order for the group to complete the task. In order for this to occur each member must have a task that they are responsible for which cannot be completed by any other group member.

Cooperative Learning is embedded in every learning experience in my classroom. These instructional strategies are successful in increasing student engagement, participation as well as driving individual student responsibility, accountability and ownership of their learning. Encouraging them to be reflective and creative learners; by building interpersonal skills as well as developing important social dynamics in our cohort. Furthermore cooperative learning has had positive impact upon nurturing the education of all my students raising the achievement standards of all children in my class and ultimately fostering a culture of “a love of learning” in Hovea 10.

Julien Coci – Teacher

2009 Hawker & Brownlow Education Kagan Cooperative Learning Strategies

Timed Pair Share       (Kagan 2009)

In pairs students share with a partner for a predetermined time while the partner listens. Then partners switch roles.

1.     The teacher announces a topic, states how long each student will share and provides think time.

2.     In pairs, Partner A shares; Partner B listens.

3.     Partner B praises A.

4.     Partner switch roles.

Stand up – Hand up –Pair up (Kagan 2009)

Students stand up, put their hands up and quickly find a partner with whom to share or discuss.

  1. Teacher says, when I say go, you will “stand up, hand up and pair up!” Teacher pauses, then says, “Go!”
  2. Students stand up and keep one hand high in the air until they find the closest partner who’s not a team mate. Students do a “high five” and put their hands down.
  3. Teacher asks a question and provides think time.
  4. Partners interact using Rally Robin or Timed Pair Share.

Rally Coach (Kagan 2009)

Partners take turns solving a problem while the other coaches.

  1. Partner A solves the first problem.
  2. Partner B watches and listens, checks, coaches if necessary, then praises.
  3. Partner B solves the next problem.
  4. Partner A watches and listens, checks, coaches if necessary, then praises.
  5. Partners repeat taking turns solving successive problems.

Rally Robin & Round Robin  (Kagan 2009)

Students take turns responding orally. In Round Robin, students take turns in their teams. In Rally Robin, partners take turns.

  1. Teacher poses a problem to which there are multiple possible responses or solutions and provides think time.
  2. Students take turns stating responses or solutions.

Mix Pair Share (Kagan 2009)

The class “mixes” until the teacher calls, “pair”. Students find a new partner to discuss or answer the teacher’s question.

  1. Students mix around the room.
  2. Teacher calls “Pair”.
  3. Students pair up with the person closest to them and high five. Students who haven’t found a partner raise their hands to find each other.
  4. Teacher asks a question and gives think time.
  5. Students share with their partners using Timed Pair Share or Rally Robin

Quiz – Quiz – Trade (Kagan 2009)

Students quiz a partner, get quizzed by a partner and then trade cards to repeat the process with a new partner.

1.     Teacher instructs the students to “to stand up, put a hand up and pair up”.

2.     Partner A quizzes B.

3.     Partner B answers.

4.     Partner A praises or coaches.

5.     Partners Switch roles.

6.     Partner trade cards and thank each other.

7.     Repeat steps 1-6 a number of times

Fan n Pick  (Kagan 2009)

Teammates play a card game to respond to questions. Roles rotate with a new question.

  1. Student #1 holds question cards in a fan and says, “Pick a card!”
  2. Student #2 picks a card, reads the question aloud, and follows five seconds of think time.
  3. Student#3 answers the question.
  4. Student#4 responds to the answer: For right or wrong answers, student #4 praises or tutors.
  5. Students rotate roles, one person clockwise for each new round

2 thoughts on “Cooperative Learning

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  1. Please watch this space as in the coming weeks we will be uploading footage of cooperative learning in practice at Aveley Primary School.

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