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
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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
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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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