| Questioning/Discussion | Team
Teaching | Thematic Teaching
| Integrated Curriculum |
fascinating concept. Humans are social beings.
Transescents are Very
beings. Seemingly, then,
cooperative learning would be an excellent fit for the middle level
classroom. What better place than in the middle level classroom
for young people to begin learning to cooperate. Yet, it carries
so much controversy. Some people really like it ... others have
no use for it, and this group includes students, parents, and teachers.
The problem with cooperative learning is that often people don't
understand how it's supposed to function as a learning (or teaching)
order for cooperative learning to be effective, the teacher needs
to keep three things in mind. First, students are often concerned
that not everyone in the group does an equal amount of the work
and because of that an individual's grade will suffer. Teachers
need to set clear expectations for the cooperative learning task.
Second, it is also important that teachers are familiar with the
various cooperative learning structures and their uses, as well
as, third, requisite communication skills, roles and responsibilities,
and classroom design patterns.
It is well known that middle level classrooms are social places.
Cooperative learning is an instructional strategy that allows for
verbal interaction, i.e., socializing. It is my opinion that cooperative
learning, although certainly not the only teaching
strategy used in a middle level classroom, for a lot of reasons
should be a teacher's main strategy.
purpose for this module of the Instructional Practices section,
then, is to provide teachers with the knowledge for using cooperative
learning effectively in the classroom. When the module is finished,
you will be able to (1) identify some of the main cooperative learning
structures, (2) explain the communication skills necessary for effective
cooperative groups, (3) explain the roles and responsibilities used
in cooperative groups, and (4) select an appropriate classroom design
pattern for implementing a variety of cooperative learning structures.
module has five sections, shown immediately to the left. The cooperative
learning structures section provides an overview of the many
cooperative designs that are available. Although not all the designs
are reviewed, most are. The communication
skills section gives a description of the skills necessary for
appropriate interaction behaviors (i.e., skills needed to work cooperatively)
when in a cooperative group. The roles and
responsibilities section provides an explanation of the roles
necessary for effective group practice. The classroom
designs section shows classroom designs that are commonly used
and interaction patterns within those designs. The activity
section is where you will be asked to apply the knowledge from the
previous four sections to a classroom setting.
navigate through the module simply select (by clicking on) one of
the sections, and you will be transferred immediately to that section.
Although it is not necessary to do so, it is suggested that you
go through the sections in the order shown, at least the first time
for cooperative learning to be an effective instructional practice,
teacher) must have a good understanding of how cooperative learning
is supposed to function as an instructional
practice, and the students need to have a good understanding
of how they are expected to behave in a cooperative group setting.
Enjoy the module!