EDU 6526: Cooperative Learning

“An underlying purpose of cooperative learning is to make each group member a stronger individual in his her own right” (Dean, Hubble, Pitler, & Stone, 2012, p.35). Cooperative learning provides a structure for students to learn from one another. It allows each student to engage and participate in the learning. Students are not only engaged in learning the content but are developing social skills and positive relationships with their peers. Dewey (1897) states, “I believe that the school must represent present life—life as real and vital to the child as that which he carries on in the home, in the neighborhood, or on the playground” (Article II, para.2). When students have the opportunity to problem solve and accomplish tasks they are learning to work productively with others. These are skills that will transfer in the real world.

Jigsaw is a cooperative learning strategy that encompasses the 5 components of cooperative learning. They include positive interdependence, face-to-face interaction, individual accountability, social skills development and group processing opportunities (Del’Ollio & Donk, 2007, p.246). Del’Ollio & Donk (2007) state, “Jigsaw addresses components of effective learning environments: clearly state learning goals, high levels of student engagement, opportunities for focused social interaction and student interdependence” (p. 277). Jigsaw learning provides students with interdependence because each student is responsible for being an “expert.” This is different than traditional group roles such as timekeeper, recorder, and facilitator. Although these roles are important they often do not allow for equal participation from all group members and do not hold everyone accountable for actively participating. In jigsaw learning, students have to first explore the content and become an expert. They then have the opportunity to share their understanding with their expert group. Del’Ollio and Donk (2007) state, “Jigsaw also relates to the cognitive processing when tasks are focused on critical thinking skills” (p. 270). In the expert group, students have a chance to practice critical thinking skills and deepen their understanding of the content. They are asking questions, examining content, and solving problems. When students are prepared to share what they’ve learned with their home groups, they have a chance to be the expert. Del’Ollio and Donk (2007) state, “Early research shows that students involved in jigsaw experiences learned to value the contributions of each member of their groups regardless of race or culture” (p. 270). I think this would really boost self-confidence because students who normally wouldn’t feel confident to share are now teaching other students. Another benefit of jigsaw learning is teachers have opportunities to check for understanding. Del’Ollio and Donk (2007) state, “Jigsaw provides teachers with time to observe their students in academic and social settings. Teachers can assess individual and group behavior and students’ critical thinking skills” (p. 277). I think this will be really important in my classroom as students are learning how to work productively in a group. I will use this time to help students develop their critical thinking skills and to look for positive group behavior.

I think the real value in cooperative learning is giving all students a chance to participate while building classroom community. Students need to feel successful and develop positive relationships with their peers. These social skills are skills they will take with them beyond the classroom and that will be applicable to real life.

Ceri B., D., Hubbell, E.R., Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012). Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement (2nd ed.). Denver: Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

Dewey, J. (1897). My pedagogic creed. The School Journal.

Jeanine M. , D., & Donk, T. (2007). Models of Teaching: Connection Student Learning With Standards. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc.

This entry was posted in Standard 01. Instructional Planning, Standard 02. Learning Environment, Standard 05. Assessment, Standard 09. Cultural Sensitivity, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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