How does it work? Basically, Cooperative Learning involves the use of purposeful small groups. Students participate in “give and take” interactions with the members of their small group. There will usually be an assigned topic of discussion, questions to respond to, or an activity/project to be completed by the small group as a whole. All members must share throughout this process – opinions, ideas, backgrounds, experiences, knowledge, abilities, and information.
The goal is to challenge student thinking while scaffolding (building) their learning. The result is so much more, though. Students experience positive leadership skills, effective communication skills, successful interpersonal skills (like conflict/problem resolution), and valuable lessons of tolerance and acceptance.
Here are some examples of how it can be used in the classroom:
- Discussion groups (questions for groups to discuss together)
- Literature circles (specific roles to be fulfilled and then shared in the group)
- Projects (hands-on activities that usually involve research, multiple parts to the assignment, and a creation of some kind – like a pamphlet, poster, report, or 3-D construction)
- Games that use teams (use for unit reviewing or for reinforcing new concept understanding)
- Labs (for following directions and trying something new)
The many lesson plans and resources on this site will aid you