Just thought I would add the website on to my notes page at the bottom as the quote is not from the homepage where the URL takes you in my reference page. To get this quote I needed to click on the ‘Overview of the technique’ icon on the right hand side of the website homepage, where it is in the first paragraph.http://www.jigsaw.org/overview.htm
Quick Overview (Many variations apply, however this is a common way the tool is used)In the Jigsaw students are assigned to groups to work on academic material that has been broken down into sectionsNext members of different groups who have studied the same sections meet in expert groups to discuss their sectionsThe students return to their teams and take turns teaching their team mates about their sections Slavin, 2009
Background info: My year nine class 9NC are in health and specifically looking at the topic ‘alcohol’ and how it effects the body. We have had two lessons before this lesson so students have a good knowledge base of the subject.
As indicated in the centre diagram this is how my students formed new groups and rotated around the class. What I did differently however was that I had my students start off in their expert groups right at the beginning of the lesson. I preferred this approach as it gave my students the chance to start by collaborating with their pairs about the same body part and really just becoming familiar with it, which allowed each group member the opportunity to become an ‘expert’ in the topic. Doing it this way I feel that students can gain more from it as they are beginning in a group with other students studying the same bit of information, which allows them to discuss and help one another before having to teach it to other students in the class. They then dispersed into new groups where they were all experts in different fields and this is why they needed to teach each other about their particular fields (body parts in relation to alcohol) and teach each other about how alcohol affected their particular body part. This allowed everyone in the class to become familiar with all eight different areas of the body.
By splitting the class up randomly the groups were diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity, race, and ability (they were not just with their friends). This also meant no students were left out and not involved. The Jigsaw also gave students the opportunity to develop teamwork which I believe maximised the interaction between my students, which gave students the chance to also establish as sense of respect for one another while in my classroom. It also makes students responsible for their own learning as they are developing a deeper knowledge of their material as they are actually doing it themselves. The Jigsaw helps develop a depth of knowledge not possible if the students were to learn all of the material on their own, or for me to just do all the teaching the ‘traditional way’(Bradley & Green, 2011). By using this tool all students in the class are actually involved including those students who choose to opt out of the lesson and try and hide.Hence all students need to contribute and do their part or they will let their team/ group down, as a result this places a level of responsibility on them. Students also then realize what they do know and what they are finding difficult to comprehend in their particular material(Bradley & Green, 2011). Students also generally feel more comfortable speaking up in the small groups rather than in front of the whole class or larger groups (Bradley & Green, 2011). I found it was really important for students to feel comfortable as we were covering very serious issues, that may be controversial to some students.
Working in groups also provides students with the opportunity to learn to work in a social environment where they can learn from one another, students as a result need to interact and support each other to achieve the task at hand (Marsh, 2008). This is described by Marsh, 2008 as co operative learning where by “ a group is given a task to do that includes efforts from all students”. This is a great technique as teachers give their students the opportunity to develop personally and socially. Students therefore may find it easier to comprehending difficult information/concepts if they can talk with each other to solve problems “Students primary work together to help one another master a relatively well defined body of information or skills” (Slavin, 2009). For example in health these were concepts some students had never been exposed to before and hence had difficulty comprehending alone however in a group they were given the opportunity to help each other.Peer education is an approach which is very similar to both collaboration and co operative learning, as it empowers young people to work with other young people to achieve numerous goals which may not be possible if done alone. It usually incorporates more capable students working alongside students who are having difficulty (Scottish Peer Education Network 2013). For example some students had some knowledge around the affects of alcohol where as some students had none at all. The benefits of peer teaching I believe therefore are highly beneficial to all students as they are able to build knowledge, skills, attitudes and confidence (Scottish Peer Education Network 2013).
What I also believe establishes positive learning is the fact that they are working closely alongside each other, and hence learning the material from each other instead of simply relying on me to facilitate the learning, and just tell them, they are instead doing it for themselves.Learning becomes meaningful as they are actually taking responsibility to learn the content needed for their specific parts of the body, hence they need to read through the information and discovering meaning in the text so that they can actually create enough meaning in the text to be able to pass this information on to their peers. The Jigsaw also supports positive learning as it allows students to support each other they do not have to go about learning somewhat controversial issues alone, instead they can operate in small groups were they feel they can share how they feel because they feel secure and safe to do so in this environment nor do they have the pressure to share in large groups. This I believe at times prevents students from contributing as they are scared and insecure to speak up in front of a large group of students.
The Jigsaw Tool
By Rebecca Prentis
“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; and that is
precisely what makes this strategy so effective” (Aronson, 2013, pa. 1)
My tool the ‘jigsaw ‘, is a very established tool that has a vast historic
background behind it, including great significance in the field of co
operative learning. The jigsaw teaching technique was created in
1971 in Austin, Texas by a highly acclaimed professor named Elliot
Aronson. However he simply invented the Jigsaw strategy to help all
students get along with one another when working in the classroom
no matter their differences. Therefore he developed a model of
teaching practice that encouraged students to work closely alongside
each other where students could also learn from one another
How I used it in my class
• Firstly I divided my students into small groups, to work co-operatively on specific areas of how alcohol affects our body
(these were the students expert groups). Each member of the group was given a information sheet on that particular
area of the body they were assigned to research
• Each group was assigned to investigate different aspects of the harmful affects of alcohol on different part’s of the
body. As there were eight groups in my class the eight topics included the Heart, Lungs, Skin, Liver, Genitals, Brain,
Stomach, and Muscles
• Once the groups had completed their allocated reading surrounding their body part, each member of each group then
dispersed throughout the class and reformed into new groups with one “expert” on each aspect present in the newly
formed group. I did this my numbering students off either 1-4, or 1-3 as some groups had three members and others
four. I then made it clear to students where each of the new groups were to be formed e.g. the one’s at this table, two’s
at this table etc
• The members of the newly formed group then taught each other about their specific part of the body and how it could
be affected by alcohol. While each student was talking the other members needed to take notes or somehow grasp the
new information they were learning in their ‘new’ group’s.
• Everyone then returned to their home group (or expert group) and students together filled in their body diagram
showing how each body part is/can be affected by alcohol, students are therefore using the knowledge they have
gained from each other throughout the class to be able to appropriately fill in the diagram. However they must each
complete a diagram themselves. Students were also allowed to use colour and code particular parts of the body to
match the relevant information
• The last step involved a class discussion about each of the body parts and how they could be affected by alcohol,
everyone in the class could answer these questions and contribute as I was asking questions, but had to put their hand
How it went...
Step 1- Begin in home
groups (expert groups)
Step 2- Move around the
class to new group, to
learn from each other
Step 3- Back to home group
and sharing new information
Step 4- Helping each other using notes
and other new information from
classmates to fill in the body diagram,
showing the affects of alcohol using
codes and colour
Step 5- Class discussion!
Why I used the Jigsaw
“The jigsaw strategy requires students to think through and discover
(rather than simply being told) effective ways of teaching their
segment of the course content to the other group members”
(Bradley & Green, 2011, pa 4)
Guiding website: http://www.jigsaw.org
“The jigsaw strategy encourages students to become engaged in
their learning. It motivates students to learn a lot of material
quickly and inspires them to share information with peers”
(Bradley & Green, 2011, pa 4)
Evident throughout my Jigsaw activity were co operative learning ,
collaboration, and peer teaching which are all teaching and learning
theories that demonstrate students working together to help and learn
from one another.
Collaboration is when all individuals in the group work together to achieve
a common purpose, goal or problem that is not easy to achieve alone.
Therefore I believe the benefits of collaboration in the Jigsaw are very
positive as students are given the opportunity to bounce of each other by
hearing a number of different perspectives to decide upon what the
material is actually telling them, not everyone will have the same
perspectives or views either. Students as a result of collaborating begin to
develop a set of shared values, and agreed upon protocols which help
students to work together as a group (West Burham).
“If I use the Jigsaw tool with 9NC
Health, does it positively support
• It positively supports learning for my class 9NC as it gives each
student the chance to be involved and engaged in the material.
Students are taking ownership over their learning and making it
meaningful for themselves
• It gives opportunity for everyone to be involved, which builds
confidence, self esteem and responsibility
• Therefore it encourages listening, engagement, interaction, peer
teaching, and cooperation by giving each member of the group an
essential part to play
• Aronson, E. (2013). In Jigsaw Classroom. Retrieved June 10, 2013, from
• Bradley, C., & Green, E. (2011). Teaching Tip of the Week: Jigsaw teaching and learning strategy. In
Centre For Teaching and Learning. Retrieved June 10, 2013, from
• Marsh, C. (2008). Organising classroom structures and routines. Becoming a teacher: Knowledge,
skills and issues (4th ed., pp. 99-116). Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia: Pearson
• Scottish Peer Education Network . (2013). Approaches to learning. In Peer Education. Retrieved June
10, 2013, from
• Slavin, R. (2009). Student-centred and constructivist approaches to instruction. Educational
psychology: Theory and practice (9th ed., pp. 228-259). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
• West-Burnham, J. (undated). Understanding learning. Retrieved 5 January 2009 from