Cooperative Learning Notes by pn641q


									                                           Cooperative Learning
                                                    Dr. Mary Ransdell

Definition – Cooperative learning is a method of organizing students into small,
heterogeneous groups for the explicit purpose of working toward a common goal, which
will result in increased learning and recognition. In other words, it is more than just
working in groups.            ((Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., & Holubec, E. J. (1990). Research on Cooperative
                                         Learning. In Circles of Learning. (3rd ed.). Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company.))

    The difference between cooperative learning and traditional learning groups

      Cooperative Learning Groups                                        Traditional Learning Groups
Positive interdependence                                           No interdependence
Individual accountability                                          No individual accountability
Heterogeneous                                                      Homogeneous
Shared leadership                                                  One appointed leader
Shared responsibility for each other                               Responsible only for self
Task/maintenance emphasized                                        Only task emphasized
Social skills directly taught                                      Social skills assumed and ignored
Teacher observes and intervenes                                    Teacher ignores group functioning
Group processes their effectiveness                                No group processing

Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., & Holubec, E. J. (1990). Research on Cooperative Learning. In Circles of Learning. (3rd ed.).
Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company.

The teacher’s Role in Cooperative Learning includes the following:
     1. Grouping students

     2. Planning lessons

     3. Emphasizing social skills

     4. Monitoring groups

     5. Facilitating student processing

     6. Evaluating progress

Cooperative Learning Tips and Tricks:
  1. Often cooperative learning groups stay together for an entire unit. The activities
     they do together may involve anywhere from 20% to 60% of class time. These
     activities are most effective when discussion is involved – especially when some
     academic disagreement is also involved.

  2. Heterogeneously balance the groups – personalities, abilities, sex, race,
     exhibited social skills, and other characteristics.

  3. Group sizes ranges from 2-5 members. Smaller sizes work better when the
     approach is new to students. Fewer group members means that participants
     must do more of the work and stay involved.

  4. Class work areas should foster cooperative learning activities (i.e., desks
     grouped, poster of cooperative learning guidelines, resource center).

  5. Provide materials for every student if possible – including worksheets. This
     encourages, and later reflects, individual learning.

  6. ONE APPROACH – Students learn HOW to do the task together – but may do
     something similar independently. Activities may be a one-time (brief 10 minutes)
     assignment or a lengthy (several weeks) project.

  7. Every group member has a responsibility. There are many possibilities – reader,
     recorder, researcher, checker, facilitator, reporter, monitor, evaluator,
     timekeeper, materials handler, etc.

     A themed project might have corresponding role titles. For instance, an activity
     might concern building bridges and testing for tensile strength. Sample titles and
     jobs might include the following. Architect- draws the design of the bridge:
     Foreman- asks questions the group has for the teacher (no one else may speak
     to the teacher or member of another group); Construction worker- conducts the
     experiments; Journeyman- records the results of the experiments and reports to
     the class.

  8. Provide some pre-set levels of achievement that will be the measure of
     accomplishment for the task. Such levels should be reasonably attainable to put
     success within reach while remaining challenging.

  9. Culminate the activity with class-wide, group, or individual recognition. Forms of
     recognition may include putting the students’ work on display, performing for
     others, taping the presentation, certificates of merit/accomplishment or
     participation, etc.

Keys to Cooperative Learning
  1. Be organized
        a. Have a lesson plan
        b. Have clearly defined expectations
        c. Have all materials at hand

  2. Clear assessments for groups and individuals
        a. Tell participants how you will assess them as groups
        b. Tell participants how you will assess them individually

  3. Assign roles or have a method of assuming roles
        a. Plan the groups
        b. Plan the roles
        c. Define the roles

  4. Monitor the groups as they work

  5. Keep the activity challenging and the participants motivated.

  6. Plan time accordingly

  7. Plan an activity for groups who finish early

  8. Establish expectations for behavior
        a. Provide a visual (poster) with behavioral guidelines
        b. Frequently remind the students of the expectations
        c. Teach and model cooperative behavior via stories and/or role play

Five Essential Components of Cooperative Learning
     1. Positive interdependence: Specific, and interdependent, roles for each participant
        that are necessary for the group to work toward the goal set by the teacher.
        Cooperative learning groups consist of heterogeneously grouped students. The
        grouping criteria might include academic ability, proficiency with English, gender,
        race, physical disabilities, and/or social skills displayed by particular students.

     2. Individual accountability: Teachers assess the academic learning or the
        attainment of social skills by formal or informal methods using subjective or
        objective measuring instruments. Generally, this is a test, homework, or
        observation of social skills demonstrated in a group setting.

     3. Social and Communication skills: This component’s focus is on the participants’
        ability to share materials and workspace and demonstrate consideration for
        others by keeping their voices at a reasonable level. Participants discuss topics,
        disagree constructively, and resolve conflicts peacefully.

     4. Promotive interactions: Participants’ verbal interactions are positive and offer
        encouragement to group members.

     5. Group processing: Johnson, Johnson, and Holubec (1990) add this to the above
        list. This oral or written procedure allows the students to tell the teacher how well
        the groups worked together or report any problems. The teacher might discuss
        the completed cooperative activity with the students to gain their input that way,
        or ask for the information in written format. Allowing students to write their
        comments permits confidentiality. Teachers might use information gained from
        group processing when forming groups for future projects, grading, or to address
        deficiencies in acceptable social skill demonstration.

Five Sample Group Processing Ideas
#1      Group Processing for college students after completing a Jigsaw activity

        Before leaving today, privately write several paragraphs answering the following:

     A. Who in your group was responsible for which questions?
     B. Did everyone share useful information? This is very important and no one,
        except your instructor, will see this information. Since your individual grade
        depends in part on everyone working together and some folks like to slack off, it
        is not fair to penalize those who completed their part of the activity as instructed.
     C. How well did your group worked together? Were there any problems?

#2     Group Processing Chart
(This chart coordinated with a science experiment asking students to design a bridge.)

                                        How well our group members performed:

Jobs / Names:                            Very well       OK        Poorly     Not at all
Construction worker

I liked the way our group:

I did not like:

I suggest:

#3         Group Processing Chart for Primary Grades

Names:                                                                 

I liked:

I did not like:

I wanted our group to:

#4      Group Processing and Assessment Chart

Group’s Name                                        Date
Your name                                           Class

Answer the following individually:

Rate your group members’ performances today according to the following scale. Be
sure to rate yourself – honestly. 1= Never, 2= Sometimes, 3= Always

Name:                                Comments:
Contributed to the group:
Performed his or her job:
Stayed positive:

Name:                                Comments:
Contributed to the group:
Performed his or her job:
Stayed positive:

Name:                                Comments:
Contributed to the group:
Performed his or her job:
Stayed positive:

Name:                                Comments:
Contributed to the group:
Performed his or her job:
Stayed positive:

Name:                                Comments:
Contributed to the group:
Performed his or her job:
Stayed positive:

Individual Accountability
       A. List and describe the five essential components of cooperative learning
          (according to Johnson, Johnson, and Holubec). Analyze the structures in
          terms of your own experience as students and/or teachers working in groups.
       B. Discuss issues surrounding grading. Paraphrase the opinion(s) expressed by
          members of your group.
       C. What is it cooperative learning and why, do K-12 teachers use it? Evaluate
          its use in your present or future classrooms.
       D. What is important to know about using cooperative learning with specific
          populations? Synthesize what you learned from these readings.
#5          Group Processing Chart

Group                                                                    Date

Your name                                                                Class

Fill in the names of the respective group members and rate their performance today according to the following scale.
Be sure to rate yourself – honestly.

                    1= Never        2=Rarely         3=Sometimes        4=Usually        5=Always

Role                   Contributed to the   Performed his/her      Maintained a         Score
Student name           group.               job.                   positive attitude.
Materials Supplier

Time Keeper

Writer / Reporter


                                                                Grand Total Points

I liked the way our group

I did not like the way our group

I observed

I learned

These are drafts for you to use as you see fit. Change the roles or short-answer
statements to fit the situation and the students. The bottom section could have
questions for the students to answer and serve as an individual accountability section
related to the experiment or project the students completed (sample # 3). The paper
would then serve dual functions since the top serves as a group-processing instrument.

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