Thursday, January 19, 2012

Methods of Cooperative Learning

There is a large variety of methods that can be used for a cooperative learning lesson. This large variety of methods has no doubt contributed a lot to the popularity of cooperative learning.

the widespread use of cooperative learning is the variety of cooperative learning methods available for teacher use, ranging from very concrete and prescribed to very conceptual and flexible ….  Almost any teacher can find a way to use cooperative learning that is congruent with his or her philosophies and practices.

(Johnson, D., et al., 2000)

Below is a list of some cooperative learning activities that can be carried out in a classroom.

Jigsaw: All groups receive the same unique task which is divided into small units. These units are distributed among group members in each group for personal study. Pupils from each group having the same unit join together to learn as a group and become experts. They, then, go back to their respective groups to teach other group members.

Think-Pair-Share: Students are invited to ponder personally over a question asked by the teacher. Then, they are invited to pair with another student to share their answer. After that, the pair of students is asked to share their answer with the whole class. This strategy encourages responses from the pupils.

Group Investigation: The work of the group is divided into different units and each group member takes a unit for personal study. All units worked are then put together to form the group’s work.

Numbered Heads Together: In groups of 4, each member is given a number from 1 to 4. When the teacher sets the question, all members work together but the only one who will answer for the group will be the one whose number the teacher calls at the end. This strategy promotes random individual accountability.

Team Pair Solo: Students are allowed to tackle a problem in a team. Then they move on to work as a pair after which they are required to work individually.  This follows what Vygotsky said: What children can do together today, they can do alone tomorrow (Johnson, D. et al., 1994).

Three Step Interview: This is done in three steps where each member of a team is paired up with another member. In step one, one member interviews his partner. The role is reversed in step two. In the last step, each member shares his partner’s response to the team.

Round Robin Brainstorming: Each team consist of 4 to 6 members with one of them being the recorder. The teacher puts the question and allows the students time to think. Then he allows them time to share their answer with their team. Each member, starting by the one next to the recorder, gives his answer in order. Meanwhile, the recorder records each one’s answer. This goes on in order until time ends.

Three minute review: Teacher stops lecture anytime for three minutes and asks a team to summarise what has been taught or puts a question.

Circle the sage: The teacher puts a difficult question about a topic. Through responses from pupils, the teacher identifies those pupils who have good knowledge of the topic, each of whom become a sage. Each sage is then surrounded by a group of pupils and explains what he knows to them. The pupils then go back to their respective team to discuss and compare what they have learnt since they have each been to a different sage. In case there is disagreement, they stand up as a team to resolve it.

Partners: Pupils pair up together as partners to work on a presentation. Then they share their work with the team.