Dean%20et%20al.%20%253bCcooperative%20Learning

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Unformatted text preview: (ooperative learningI "An underlying purpose ofcooperative learning is to make each group mem- her a stronger individual in his or her own right.” -—~David W. Johnson and Frank 1’. lohnson, [dining together In The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman states, "The best companies are the best collaborators. In the flat world, more business will be done through col— laborations within and between companies, fora few simple reasons: The next layers of value creation, whether in technology, marketing, biomedicine, or manufitcturing, are becoming so complex that no single firm or department is going to be able to master them alone" (2006, p. 439). in the layers ofa complex world, the students of today need to possess not only intellectual capabilities but also the ability to function effectively in an environment that requires working with others to accomplish a variety of tasks. Using cooperative learning helps teachers lay the foundation for student success in a world that depends on collaboration and cooperation. Few other instructional strategies are as theoretically grounded as cooperative learning (D. W. Johnson lit R. T. Johnson, 2009), yet it is one of the most misunder— stood practices found in classrooms (Antil, Jenkins, Wayne, & Vadasy, 1998; Koutselini, 2009). Some of the confusion about cooperative learning stems from the differ- ent ways that people define it. For example, Drs. David lohnson and Roger Johnson (1999) use five elements to define cooperative learning: positive 35 37 rim ! ~ manwhimmimemamammnmnmmmmmmwmmmmmmmmmmnmmmmmmm 36 Classroom Instruction That Works 1992; Slavin, 1978, 1983, 1990 interdependence, face-to-face promotive interaction, individual and group accountability, interpersonal and smallegroup skills, and group processing (see Figure 3.1). Other researchers and practitioners define cooperative learning as a strategy that uses one or more of these elements, though generally not all five. For example, Kagan promotes the use of cooperative learning structures, highlighting positive interdependence and individual accountability (1985, 1990). Another model of cooperative learning, which is known as complex instruction, addresses positive interdependence, individual accountability, and group processing (Cohen, 1994). (For additional information about the various models of cooperative learning, see Aronson, Stephan, Stikes, Blaney, £2 Snapp, 1978; DeVries & Edwards, 1973; Howard, 1996; Sharan {it Sharan, -) success among other group members. i3 I 6 li RE 3 .i Elements of the Cooperative Learning Model W‘fi' Element Purpose instructional implication Positive Ensure that success by Establish a cooperative goal structure and Interdependence an individual promotes equally distribute resources. Help students develop a sense that they “sink or swim" together. Face-to-Face individuals encourage and Encourage discussion among group members Small-Group Ski/ls clearly understand effective group skills. Promotive activate efforts to achieve and teach students about the importance Interaction and help one another learn. of effort and how to provide others with recognition for their effort. 7 Ind/'w'dua/ Ensure that all members Establish an optimal group size and include and Group contribute to achievement individual assessments. Help students Accountabf/ity of the goal and learn as understand that each person needs to individuals. contribute to the success of the group. 4. Interpersonal and Ensure that all members Provide initial and ongoing instruction on effective group skills such as communication, decision making, conflict resolution. leadership, and trust. 4—; l F Group Processing Promote group and individual reflection for maintenance of group effectiveness and success. Establish dedicated time for group reflection by providing structures such as specific questions, learning logs, or sentence stems that focus on how well the team is functioning and how to function even better. an Cooperative Learning Two of the five elements identified by lohnson & lohnson (1999) seem to be most essential for a learning activity to be considered a cooperative learn- ing activity: positive interdependence and individual accountability. Without these elements, group learning structures can actually impede the learning process (Guerin, 1999; lngharn, Levinger, Graves, & Peckham, i974; Latane, Williams, £1 Harkins, 1979). Positive interdependence is a key element of cooperative learning because it emphasizes that everyone is in the effort together and that one person’s success does not come at the expense of another’s success. To foster positive interdependence, teachers must ensure that the workload of each individual is reasonably equal to the workload of other team members. Teachers can accomplish this by clearly defining roles and responsibilities during the coop erative learning activity. The other key element of cooperative learning, individual accountability, refers to the need for each member of the team to receive feedback on how his or her personal efforts contribute to achievement of the overall goal. To ensure individual accountability, teachers can use formative and summative assess- ments to determine students’ contributions to the group goal. This practice discourages the tendency for a few individuals to carry the workload of the group. in addition, individual accountability establishes a means by which each group member can demonstrate proficiency with regard to the knowledge and skills embedded within the goals of the cooperative learning activity. Why This Category is important An instructional strategy for grouping students, cooperative learning pro— vides opportunities for students to interact in ways that enhance and deepen their learning. This strategy is grounded in the theory that learning can be maximized through well-designed, intentional social interaction with others (Cerlach, 1994; Vygotsky, 1978). Cooperative learning provides an environ— ment in which students can reflect upon their newly acquired knowledge, process what they are learning by talking with and actively listening to their peers, and deveIOp a common understanding about various topics. As students talk through material, they arrive at a deeper understanding of it (Bandura, 34 37 é? E? Q; g g E ~35 Classroom Instruction That Works 2000). This process helps them retain what they learn. Cooperative learning also increases motivation for learning because students establish a sense of obligation to one another and a strong kinship with their peers that leads to greater buy—in, motivation, and increased achievement (Roseth, Johnson, «it Johnson, 2008). Students develop a sense of positive interdependence~a "sink-or-swim~together” attitude whereby one student’s success promotes success among others within the group. In addition, cooperative learning can improve cognitive and social aspects such as increased academic engagement, self—esteem, attitudes toward school, and opposition to social segregation and loneliness (Johnson, 1981; Johnson & Johnson, 2003, 2005; Morgan, Whorton, s: Cunsalus, 2000). To be included in MchiL’s 2010 study, cooperative learning structures had to feature at least positive interdependence and individual accountability. The average effect size of the 20 studies included in the 2010 analysis was 0.44. The overall effect size for studies included in the first edition of Classroom Instruction That Works was 0.73. Differences between the 2001 and the 2010 effect sizes may reflect the more stringent requirements for inclusion in the 2010 study. Two ofthe studies reviewed for the 2010 analysis emphasize the impor~ tance ofproviding structure for student conversations that involve young students in cooperative learning (Souvignier & Kronenberger, 2007; Weiss, Kramarski, {$2 'l‘alis, 2006). For example, teachers might provide students with question stems (eg, "Explain why . . .” "What is the difference between . . . and . . . 2’”) to help them provide explanations of their reasoning and to encourage elaboration of their explanations (Souvignier& Kronenberger, 2007). Teachers will need to model for students how to explain their reasoning and ask ques— tions that encourage elaboration; they also need to provide opportunities for students to practice these skills so they can use them effectively in cooperative learning settings. The cooperative learning task itself provides another form of structure that can encourage communication and mutual reasoning. Tasks should be interesting to students and present some cognitive conflict so students will need to talk about the task, sharing ideas and reasoning to resolve the conflict (Weiss et al., 2006). Strategies that promote elaboration are also effective for older students who will benefit from specific instruction in asking higher—order 35 Cooperative Learning questions that help them rephrase information, make connections to existing knowledge, and provide examples during cooperative learning (Souvignier <82 Kronenberger, 2007). Classroom Practice for Cooperative Learning Engaging students in cooperative learning is more than simply organizing them into groups. It requires careful planning before and intentional facilita~ tion during cooperative learning activities. The recommended practices in this section help teachers think about the critical elements of cooperative learning, group size, and format as they plan group activities that support content learn— ing and the development of collaboration skills. We‘offer three recommendations for classroom practice that uses coopera- tive learning: 8 include elements of both positive interdependence and individual accountability. s Keep group size small. 3 Use cooperative learning consistently and systematically Include elements of positive interdependence and individual accountability When teachers employ cooperative learning as an instructional strategy, they offer students the opportunity to interact on a deep level. By intention~ ally incorporating the elements of positive interdependence and individual accountability, teachers set the stage for students to be responsible for their own learning; the learning of those in their group; and the ability to dem- onstrate what they know, understand, and are able to do. in the following example, note how the teacher carries out the two primary elements of positive interdependence and individual accountability. Example Mr. Washington, a 5th grade social studies teacher, wishes to engage his students in a discussion about the events that led up to the American Revolution. At an earlier point to his career he may have given a lecture 36 39 Q: g E? E g; a fi g5 $5 $35 32;? a; g g g: g a; Q Q 40 Classroom Instruction That Works on the topic and asked students to take notes, or he may have had stu- dents read the relevant chapter in the textbook and answer questions on an advance organizer. Recently, he and his colleagues read about how students learn through social interaction, so he's decided to try using a cooperative learning activity to get his students thinking about the conditions in Colonial America prior to i760. Mr. Washington begins the activity by emphasizing two important elements of cooperative learning: positive interdependence and indi— vidual accountability He explains to students that everyone is respon— sible for his or her own learning and for contributing to the learning of all classmates This means that each person will have a specific role in his or her group that will help the group actiomplish the task. In addi— tion, each person is responsible for making sure everyone else in his or her group can answer the important questions presented to the group. Mr. Washington then explains the three roles in each group: a One person reads the chapter aloud to the group. - Another person takes notes that capture key ideas from the chapter. ° A third person asks group members a series of questions about the information and records the group's responses. Mr. Washington designed these questions to assess student under— standing and to provide opportunities for students to start thinking about events from various perspectives. He helps his students organize themselves into groups of three, and he allows students to self-select their specific roles within those groups. ‘Once the groups are formed, they break into various work areas, expanding beyond the classroom. Each student has a netbook and is logged onto a service the class uses for collaborative note taking. As one student begins reading the chap‘ ter. a‘second student begins to type the key points. The students stop occasionally and discuss whether or not what was just read aloud was a key point. They also help one another decipher new vocabulary words and phrases. When they finish reading the chapter, the third student asks questions, which are provided by Mr Washington, and records his 37 Cooperative Learning 41 peers‘ answers and the main discussion points on the group's collab- orative document. At the end of the session, Mr. Washington asks each group to pair with another group and compare the key points they identified from the chapter, along with their answers to his questions. He encourages them to write down any confusing points or questions they still have. The fol‘ lowing day, he uses these collaborative documents to engage students in a discussion of the events that led up to the American Revolution. focusing on the differing perspectives held by colonists who advocated for independence and British citizens and loyalists. g g g g g; Mr. Washington notices that his students' discussions and level of understanding are remarkably more sophisticated than they were in previous years. This is because students had an opportunity to grapple with the concepts during the previous day’s small-group discussions and because they had more time to process their thinking (in ways that led to richer results than if students had independently completed a worksheet). To close the activity and address individual accountability, Mr. Washington asks every student to write a two- or three-paragraph summary that captures one of the two opposing perspectives of the period that were the subject of the class discussion. Keep group size small Recommendations for organizing cooperative learning opportunities for students very often include limiting the group size to no more than five students per group [Lou et al., 1996). Studies show that as groups get larger, external and internal motivation tend to decrease, and members of larger groups tend to feel that their individual contributions will go unnoticed (Barley, 1989; McWhaw, Schnackenberg, Sclater, & Abrami, 2003; Sheppard Si Taylor, 1999). Students are also less likely to experience social pressure for making contributions, which can motivate members of smaller groups. As the following example illustrates, larger group size may result in the loss of positive interdependence and erode individual accountability. 38 42 Classroom Instruction That Works Example Ali and Jan are teaching partners who are committed to improving their instruction through peer observation. As Jan observes Ali’s 8th grade science class, she notices that some students (who are working in cooperative groups of seven students each) are not fully engaged with the material or the activity. She also notes that one of the groups has subdivided into two selt~selected smaller groups, and both of these smaller groups are now working more effectively than the larger group was before When Ali and Jan debriei the science lesson, Jan shares her obser— vations about the cooperative groups and the student behavior in each group. All agrees that the size of the groups inhibited student participa- tion and increased discipline issues. She also states that most students did not do as well as she had anticipated on the brief quiz she gave at the end of class. Ali determines that the larger group size inhibited participation and learning. During the next lesson. she reorganizes the groups so each is comprised of only four students. Use cooperative learning consistently and systematically l’l’ow often should you use cooperative learning? David Johnson and Frank lohnson argue that "any learning task in any subject area with any curriculum may be structured cooperatively” (2009, p. 476). They promote cooperative learning as the dominant approach in the classroom but also suggest that, as they develop expertise in using cooperative learningy teachers should integrate cooperative learning with competition and individual work. Other researchers suggest that grouping strategies are most effective when they are used at least once a week (Lou et al., 1996). Some researchers caution teachers not to overuse cooperative learning activities (Anderson, Reder, & Simon, 1997). They remind educators that if students are expected to master skills and processes, they need independent practice for that learning to occur. This means teachers need to balance the use of cooperative learning with opportunities for students to practice skills and processes independently (Anderson, 2005; Rohrer & Taylor, 2007). Students fin Cooperative Learning might feel that cooperative learning is being overused, or they might become bored if they always work with the same group members or engage in the same type of cooperative learning group. Teachers can assign students to groups randomly or based on a variety of criteria (e.g., interests, birth month, colors they are wearing). To form groups easily, teachers can create or purchase group- ing cards. Each deck includes a number of cards with the same design, and students form groups based on the cards they select. Teachers should limit the number of times they form cooperative groups based on ability (Lou et al., 1996). Grouping by ability can limit the knowledge and experience available to the group and lead to "group think." It can have negative effects on students’ selfsefficacy if they perceive that they have been placed in a group for which the teacher has low expectations (D. W. Johnson & F. P. Johnson, 2009). On a practical level, ability grouping does not reflect the world of work—~students need experience working with people of varying interests, experiences, and abilities (Frey, Fisher, & liverlove, 2009). Cooperative learning is a process. To support the success of coopera~ tive learning, teachers must teach the steps of the process, provide students with opportunities to practice those steps, and clearly define the norms and parameters within which cooperative learning will take place (Tweed, 2009). Often, students are not used to assuming the various roles cooperative learning requires, and they do not have the group skills to make the most ofthe coop— erative learning experience. As a result, it is important to provide opportuni- ties for students to practice their roles and give appropriate feedback to other members of their group. Practicing these skills will enhance their interactions with peers and their academic success (Tomlinson, 2004). To keep students’ interest, teachers should vary the type of cooperative learning. Johnson and Johnson (2009) describe three types of cooperative learning groups: informal, formal, and base groups. Informal groups (e.g., pair-share, tum-to—your-neighbor) are ad hoc groups that last from a few minutes to an entire class period. They can be used to clarify expectations for tasks, focus students' attention, allow time for students to more deeply pro— cess information, or provide time for closure. Formal groups are designed to ensure that students have‘enough time to thoroughly complete an academic assignment; therefore, they may last for several days or even weeks. According AF) 43 mmmMinamingin:mammmmsmmmmmmmmmmmmannaunmannmarmwas...”m. 44 Classroom instruction That Works to iohnson and lohns...
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