Co-operative learning1) Definition: an approach and a strategy to teach and learn English, in whichstudents work together in small, heterogeneous groups to complete aproblem, project… => to improve their understanding of a subject2) HistoryColeman developed what he called a “climate of values” for the “adolescentsociety”. Based on his findings, Coleman suggests that instead ofencouraging competition in the academic setting, “which effectively impedesthe process of education,” schools should introduce a more collaborativeapproach to teaching.Robert Slavin (1994) conducted research on a form of cooperative learninghe described as Student Team Learning.Daniel Holt, Barbara Chips, and Diane Wallace (1991) recognize thepossible benefits of cooperative learning in linguistically and culturallydiverse classrooms.3) Co-operative learning in a classrooma) Some key conceipts – the principles to evaluate• Teacher supervision—the teacher should always monitor groupactivity to ensure that students are not veering too far off task. Theteacher should also be available to answer student questions andguide discussion if necessary.• Heterogeneous groups—the teacher creates groups of diverseability levels and backgrounds.• Positive interdependence—by setting group goals and workingtowards a reward or final learning outcome.• Face-to-face interaction—students are encouraged to use verbaland nonverbal communication to solve problems and explainlearning material.
• Individual accountability—students are accountable for their tasksand for assisting the whole group meets learning goals. Thisaccountability is enforced through student roles.• Social skills—the teacher needs to establish rules so that allstudents are respectful, speak in a manner appropriate to theclassroom setting, and utilize their time wisely during groupinteraction.• Group processing—students engage in reflection on how the groupfunctioned during activity.• Evaluation—all activities should include both individual and groupassessment.b) Cooperative Learning Techniquesb1) Discussion: communicatingthink-pair –share : the think-pair-share structure provides students withthe opportunity to reflect on the question posed and then practice sharingand receiving potential solutions. Its simplicity provides instructors withan easy entry into cooperative learning and it is readily adaptable to awide range of course constructs.Three-step interview: This structure can be used both as an ice-breakerwhich introduces students to one another and to provide students with avenue for soliciting opinions, positions, or ideas from their peers.Students are first paired and take turns interviewing each other using aseries of questions provided by the instructor. Pairs then match up andstudents introduce their original partner. At the end of the exercise, allfour students have had their position or viewpoints on an issue heard,digested, and described by their peers.b2) Reciprocal teaching: explaining, providing feedback, understandingalternative perspectivesNote-taking pair : Designing an exercise which requires students tosummarize their understanding of a concept based on notes taken (withdirected questions such as what is the definition of a concept, how is it
used, what are the three most important characteristics of a topic) andreceiving reflective feedback from their partner provides students theopportunity to find critical gaps in their written records.Jigsaw: structure provides students the opportunity to develop expertisein one of many components of a problem by first participating in a groupsolely focused on a single component. In the second stage of the exercise,groups are reformed with a representative from each expert group whotogether now have sufficient expertise to tackle the whole problem.b3) Graphic organizers: discovering patterns and relationshipsGroup- grid: Students practice organizing and classifying information in atable. A more complex version of this structure requires students to firstidentify the classification scheme that will be used.Sequence chains: The goal of this exercise is to provide a visualrepresentation of a series of events, actions, roles, or decisions. Studentscan be provided with the items to be organized or asked to first generatethese based on a predetermined end goal. This structure can be mademore complex by having students also identify and describe the linksbetween each of the sequenced components.b4) Problem solving: developing strategies and analysisSend-a-problem: Students participate in a series of problem solvingrounds, contributing their independently generated solution to those thathave been developed by other groups. After a number of rounds, studentsare asked to review the solutions developed by their peers, evaluate theanswers and develop a final solution.Three-stay, one-stray: Even students working in groups can benefit fromthe feedback of additional peers. In this structure, students periodicallytake a break from their work (often at key decision making points) andsend one group member to another group to describe their progress. Therole of the group is to gain information and alternative perspectives bylistening and sharing. The number of times the group sends arepresentative to another group depends on the level of complexity of theproblem. This method can also be used to report out final solutions.
4) Why we should useResults of co-operative learning and teaching include improved academicachievement, improved behavior and attendance, increased self-confidenceand motivation, and increased liking of school and classmates. Cooperativelearning is also relatively easy to implement and is inexpensive.