Co-operative Teaching Methods

A rich and open co-operative learning task:

  • Has more than one answer or more than one way to solve a problem and uses open tasks
  • Is interesting and related to students out-of-school life and interests
  • Allows different students to make different contributions
  • Requires a variety of skills, abilities and behaviours to finish the task
  • Is challenging - students have to be interdependent of each other

Four basic principles of co-operative learning (PIES) - Spencer Kagan

  1. Positive interdependence
    • The success of a team is more difficult without contribution of each member
    • A rich task structure
    • Open questions
  2. Individual responsibility
  3. Equal participation
    • Structure for equal participation
  4. Simultaneous interaction

Using roles in co-operative learning

  • The group work is more efficient if each student has a role within the group
  • A student with a role has better access to the task
  • The students learn to take joint responsibility for the group work
  • It is more likely that everyone is active during the group work if everyone has a role within the group
  • Dominant students are more likely to give others a chance to participate and low status students are more likely to participate (e.g. students facing language barriers) if they have a special role within the group

Example roles

  • Facilitator/Organizer
    • Makes sure that everyone understants the instructions, makes sure that all group members participate, calls the teacher if no one in the group knows the answer.
  • Reporter
    • Takes notes of the groups answers, organizes the groups presentation for the class, discusses with the group what will be reported and how, organizes the presentation
  • Material manager
    • Collects whatever materials are needed to complete the activity
  • Planner
    • Develops a time schedule for the work and keeps an eye on the time and decides when to stop
  • Harmonizer
    • Encourages the pupils of his group to make their contributions to the work together, encourages them to help each other and makes sure that nobody is done down

How can we create interdependence?

  • Open tasks (possible to collect answers from different perspectives)
  • The task calls for different abilities and competences
  • Every student is necessary for the group
  • Time pressure

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