Improving Academic Performance Using Cooperative Learning Instructional Strategies EPI 0002: Professor Dominique Charlotteaux August 9, 2009 Group 02 Members: Susan Convery Foltz Elizabeth Cyzeska Carrie Sneed Yvonne Berrios
Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. (Vince Lombardi, football coach for the NFL)
What is Cooperative Learning?
Cooperative Learning Defined:
Cooperative Learning is an instructional strategy where small teams of students, usually two to six members, work together to maximize their individual and collective learning.
After team members are organized into these small groups and receive instruction from their teacher, students within the team cooperate with one another and work through the assignment until each team member successfully understands and completes it.
Ultimately the shared goals are accomplished individually by each team member, and collectively by the group as a whole.
What Does a Cooperative Model Look Like?
Students work cooperatively compared with traditional models where individuals are only looking out for themselves.
Team members are responsible for their own individual learning as well as for their teammates learning.
Teams are made up of high, medium and low academic achieving students.
Teams are heterogeneous in gender, race, culture and socioeconomic status.
Team members contribute their knowledge, experience, skills and resources to the group.
Team members cooperate and collaborate.
Team members benefit from the contributions of the individual team members.
Team members acquire new skills and knowledge.
Rewards are oriented towards individual and group.
Five Elements of Cooperative Learning:
1. Positive Interdependence
tasks and goals are clearly defined
efforts of each team member benefits the individual as well as the group
commitment is made to both personal as well as group success
2. Individual and Group Accountability
each team member must contribute to the group as a whole
each team member is accountable for helping the group reach its goals
3. Interpersonal and Small-Group Skills - Each team member must:
provide effective leadership
be able to make decisions
be able to build trust
be able to communicate
be able to mange conflict
Five Elements of Cooperative Learning Continued:
4. Face to Face Promotive Interaction - Students
Promote one another's success by sharing resources
Encourage, help, and applaud each other's efforts
Support one another academically and personally
Explain how to solve problems
Teach each other
Check for one another's understanding
Discuss concepts being learned
Connect present with past learning
Foster the groups mutual goal
5. Group Processing (Reflection) - Students
Communicate openly, freely, respectfully discussing their concerns
Maintain effective working relationships
Describe what member actions are helpful/unhelpful
Make decisions about behaviors to continue/change/discontinue
Process status of goal achievement and accomplishments
Essentials of Effective Cooperative Learning Groups:
Each team member should contribute their time and energy
Each team member should participate in the decision making process
Each team member should trust that other team members will be contributing to the group
Each team member should listen respectfully and attentively to other team members
Each team member should contribute ideas
Each team member should ask questions when clarification is needed
Each team member should give constructive feedback
What children can do together today, they can do alone tomorrow. (Let Vygotsky, 1962)
Theoretical Support and Research on Cooperative Learning and it’s Effects
There are more than 900 research studies which validate the effectiveness of cooperative learning over competitive and individualistic efforts.
These studies have been conducted by many different researchers in settings around the world. Research participants have varied widely as to cultural background, economic class, age and gender and a wide variety of research tasks and dependent variables have been used.
Over and over again the research reveals that students completing cooperative learning group tasks tend to have higher academic test scores, higher self-esteem, greater numbers of positive social skills, fewer stereotypes of individuals of other races or ethnic groups, and greater comprehension of the content and skills they are studying.
The Classroom as Societal Mirror:
Research on cooperative learning began in the late 1890s when Triplett (1898) in the United States and Mayer (1903) in Germany conducted a series of research studies on the factors associated with competitive performance.
They were followed, in 1916, by John Dewey whose book “Democracy and Education” was one of the first to argue that the classroom should mirror the larger society and be a laboratory for real life learning.
The highest and best form of efficiency is the spontaneous cooperation of a free people. (Woodrow Wilson)
Research Who’s Who:
The leading researchers of cooperative learning include Robert Slavin, Roger & David Johnson and Spencer Kagan , all of whom have slightly different approaches and emphases.
Johnson & Johnson focus on developing a specific structure that can be incorporated within a variety of curriculums with an emphasis on integrating social skills with academic tasks.
Kagan’s work focuses on the use of many different structures to help facilitate active learning, team building and group skills.
Slavin’s work utilizes methods from both Johnson & Johnson and Kagan, and has resulted in the development of specific learning structures.
While the basic principles of cooperative learning do not change, there are "structures" which have been studied extensively:
Stevens, Slavin & Associates Late 1980’s CIRC (Cooperative Integrative Reading and Composition) Cohen Early 1980’s Complex Instruction Kagan Mid 1980’s Cooperative Learning Structures Slavin & Associates Early 1980’s TAI (Team Assisted Individualization) Slavin & Associates Late 1970’s STAD (Student Teams Achievement Divisions) Aaronson & Associates Late 1970’s Jigsaw Johnson & Johnson Mid 1970’s Constructive Academic Controversy Sharan & Sharan Mid 1970s Group Investigation Devries & Edwards Early 1970’s TGT (Teams-Games-Tournament) Johnson & Johnson Mid 1960’s Learning Together Researcher Time Period Cooperative Learning Methods
Schlomo Sharan used cooperative learning as a tool for addressing social imbalances. Sharan and his colleagues at Tel Aviv University utilized cooperative learning to counteract racial prejudice between Jewish groups in Israel following the collapse of the Soviet Union. His research clearly showed that instructional methods influence students’ cooperative and competitive behaviour provided these three conditions were met: 1. Unmediated interethnic contact 2. Occurs under conditions of equal status between member of the various groups 3. The setting officially sanctions interethnic cooperation Sharan found that cooperative learning experiences allowed students to understand how a situation appears to another person and how that person is reacting cognitively and emotionally to the situation. Cooperative learning reduces egocentrism and opens the student’s viewpoint to the extent that they may be unaware of other points of view and the limitations of their own perspective.
Roger & David Johnson:
The research of David and Roger Johnson , and their colleagues, provides the foundation for how cooperative learning is structured in most of today’s classrooms. Their research shows that merely because students work in small groups does not mean they are cooperating to ensure their own learning and the learning of all others in the group.
Additional research concludes that the more students care about each other, the harder they will work to achieve mutual learning goals. Long-term and persistent efforts to achieve do not come from the head; they come from the heart.
Cooperative learning simultaneously models interdependence and provides students with the experiences they need to understand the nature of cooperation (Roger & David Johnson)
Johnson, Johnson, Holubec and Roy:
According to Johnson, Johnson, Holubec and Roy the Cornerstones of Cooperative Learning are:
Positive Interdependence ( Sink or Swim together )
Promotive Interaction ( Face to Face )
Individual and Group Accountability
Teaching the required Interpersonal and Small Group Skills
Group Processing ( Reflection )
Elements of Cooperative Learning:
Johnson & Johnson have identified four specific elements which seem to be important for maximizing achievement, including:
Cooperative task structures,
Cooperative incentive structures,
Robert Slavin’s research comparing cooperative learning with traditional instructional methods attributes the widespread positive effects that are typically found among studies of cooperative learning to one or more of the following explanations:
Motivational Effect: in several studies students in cooperative-learning groups felt more strongly than students in other learning programs that their groupmates wanted them to come to school every day and work hard in class. Students in cooperative-learning groups were more likely to attribute success to hard work and ability than to luck
Cognitive Development Effect: collaboration promotes cognitive growth because students model for each other more advanced ways of thinking than any would demonstrate individually.
Cognitive Elaboration Effect: new information that is elaborated (restructured and related to existing knowledge) is more easily retrieved from memory. A particularly effective means of elaboration is explaining something to someone else.
Spencer Kagan has developed more than 100 structures to incorporate the basic principles of cooperative learning. He has trained more than 20,000 teachers in cooperative learning through workshops and conferences. "We are very clear with teachers that they should make cooperative learning part of any lesson," Kagan says. "Ours is an integrated approach rather than a replacement approach."
For example, Kagan instructs teachers to use a " Timed Pair Share" structure. In this exercise, the teacher divides the class into pairs of students and poses a question. Within each pair, Student A talks about his or her answer for one minute, then Student B does the same.
Cooperative Learning is one of the best researched of all teaching strategies. The results show that students who have opportunities to work collaboratively, learn faster and more efficiently, have greater retention, and feel more positive about the learning experience.
Needless to say, students cannot just be put into a group and assigned a project to complete. There are very specific methods to assure the success of group work, and it is essential that both teachers and students are aware of them.
Teamwork represents a set of values that encourage behaviors such as listening and constructively responding to points of view expressed by others, giving others the benefit of the doubt, providing support to those who need it, and recognizing the interests and achievements of others. (Katzenbach & Smith)
Cooperative Learning in the Classroom
Planning for Cooperative Learning:
There are six key steps involved in planning for cooperative learning:
Choose an approach
Choose appropriate content
Form student teams
Plan for orienting students to tasks and roles
Plan for the use of time and space
Chose an Approach:
Student Teams Achievement Divisions (STAD)
Students in heterogeneous groups of four to five members use study devices to master academic material and then help each other learn the material through tutoring, quizzing and team discussions.
Each member of a five or six member heterogeneous group is responsible for mastering a portion of the material and then teaching that part to the other team members.
Chose an Approach Cont.:
The most complex cooperative learning approach and most difficult to implement.
Students are involved in planning the group topics as well as the ways in which they will proceed with their investigations.
Once students select topics for study, they conduct in-depth investigations and then prepare and present a report to the whole class.
The Structural Approach
The teacher poses a question to the entire class and students provide answers by raising their hands and are called on with the goal of increasing student acquisition of academic content and teaching social skills.
Chose an Approach Cont.:
The teacher poses a question to the entire class and the students spend a moment thinking alone about their answer.
The teacher asks the students to pair off with one classmate and discuss their answers with their partner for four to five minutes.
The teacher asks the pairs to share their answers with the entire class.
Numbered Heads Together
The teacher has groups of three to five members number off so that each member has a different number.
The teacher asks either a very specific or very broad question, depending on the subject matter.
Students put their heads together to arrive at an answer and make sure that everyone knows the answer.
The teacher calls out a number and the students from each group with that specific number share their answers with the entire class.
Choose Appropriate Content:
Teachers must be sure to choose content that will spark and keep the interest of the students.
If the students do not find the content interesting and appropriately challenging, they will quickly lose interest and the cooperative learning approach will fail.
Research shows that the more conceptual knowledge is emphasized the more successful cooperative learning will be.
Form Student Teams:
The formation of student teams will vary according to the goals and objectives of the lesson as well as the diversity among racial, ethical, gender and ability groups.
Teacher-selected groups have been proven time and again to be the best method of forming teams because it ensures a good mix and avoids friends from working together, which neglects to achieve the goal of improvement of social interactions among students who do not know each other as well.
Teachers usually provide verbal information along with worksheets, outlines and study guides during a cooperative learning lesson.
Good materials take time to develop and must be both interesting and at an appropriate reading level for the students or they will no be able to understand the lesson and will quickly become uninterested and give up.
Teachers can reach out to librarians and media specialists for assistance in choosing exciting and appropriate materials to implement into the cooperative learning lesson.
Structure Student Interdependence:
The nine ways in which positive interdependence can be structured are as follows:
Goal interdependence-The group has a common goal and every member of the team is expected to achieve it.
Incentive interdependence-Everyone receives the same reward but only if every member of the team succeeds.
Resource interdependence-Resources, information, and material are limited so that students are obliged to work together and cooperate in sharing available resources.
Sequence interdependence-The overall task is divided into a sequence of subtasks. Individual group members perform their particular tasks as part of a predetermined order.
Role interdependence-Each group member is assigned a role with specific responsibilities. Each role contributes to and supports the task's completion.
Identity interdependence-The group establishes a mutual identity through a name, flag, logo, or symbol. These can be augmented by a group song or cheer.
Outside force interdependence-The group, as a whole, competes against other groups.
Simulation interdependence-The group members imagine that they are in a situation or role where they must collaborate to be successful.
Environmental interdependence-The group members work together within a specified physical space, such as a section of the classroom.
Set up tasks which cannot be completed without input from each team member
Reflect on the 9 positive interdependencies and how they can be incorporated into the lesson
Allowing one student to be carried by the others
Allowing one student to do the work for the group
Holding up one person or group as "best"
Students need to do real work together in which they promote each other's success by sharing resources and helping, supporting, encouraging, and applauding each other's efforts to achieve. There are important cognitive activities and interpersonal dynamics that can only occur when students promote each other's learning. This includes orally explaining how to solve problems, teaching one's knowledge to others, checking for understanding, discussing concepts being learned, and connecting present with past learning. Each of those activities can be structured into group task directions and procedures. Doing so helps ensure that cooperative learning groups are both an academic support system (every student has someone who is committed to helping him or her learn) and a personal support system (every student has someone who is committed to him or her as a person). It is through promoting each other's learning face-to-face that members become personally committed to each other as well as to their mutual goals.
Most teachers underestimate the amount of time it takes to conduct a successful cooperative learning lesson. Research shows the minimum time for a cooperative learning lesson to produce real cognitive change to be at least 4 weeks.
It is crucial to carefully plan for the additional time that it will take students to interact with one another during cooperative learning lessons.
Reflection (group processing) is an essential part of the cooperative learning process. By clarifying and describing which actions and decisions were helpful and unhelpful the group continues the learning process and improves each members effectiveness when contributing to a collaborative group.
Cluster seating is a popular seating arrangement for cooperative learning because it allows students to sit in groups of four or six during their small group discussions.
Conducting Cooperative Learning Lessons:
Clarify Goals and Establish Set
The teacher clearly defines the aim of the cooperative learning lesson by explaining the student’s specific roles and the specific procedures that they are expected to follow.
Information can be presented verbally and/or through text.
It is crucial that the students are able to clearly understand the information.
The effective teacher will assist the students in comprehending the information before moving on with the lesson instead of assuming they will be able to understand it.
Conducting Cooperative Learning Lessons Cont.
Organize Students Into Learning Teams
The transition from a whole class instructional setting into a small group cooperative learning setting can be very difficult and can turn into mayhem if not planned carefully.
It is best to verbally explain how you would like the students to transition and then physically assist them in the process rather than tell them their group members and expect them to figure out how to get into those groups.
Assist Teamwork and Study
It is very important to find the appropriate amount of teacher involvement during cooperative learning lessons. Many teachers consider themselves to be “facilitators”.
Too much teacher involvement can detour students from taking initiative and demonstrating working independently and can even interfere with the student’s social development.
However, if the students seem unclear about the directions or are not understanding the lesson, it is imperative that the teacher steps in so that they can accurately complete the lesson.
Adapting Cooperative Learning for Diverse Learners:
Giving students with special needs and varying backgrounds the opportunity to work collaboratively to achieve a team goal is perhaps the most beneficial aspect of cooperative learning.
Students must first learn about one another and be able to respect each other’s differences before completing a successful cooperative learning lesson.
Teachers should assist students in understanding cultural norms of various ethnic groups that many effect group cooperation.
Make all of the students aware of the strengths and capabilities that their classmates can bring to the group, regardless of their ethnic background or disabilities.
Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results Andrew Carnegie I will pay more for the ability to deal with people than any other ability under the sun. (John D. Rockefeller)
Assessing and Evaluating Cooperative Lessons
Assessing and Evaluating Cooperative Learning:
Cooperative Learning is a strategy where students can work on linguistic skills and academic skills at the same time. In this strategy the students work together in small groups. The groups should be mixed culturally and by achievement level.
Within cooperative learning situations, students have two responsibilities:
learn the assigned material, and
ensure that all members of the group learn the assigned material.
Assessing and Evaluating Cooperative Learning Cont.:
There are two levels of assessment and evaluation; individual and group. Individual assessment is more frequent than group assessment.
The purpose of cooperative learning groups is to make each member a stronger individual in his or her own right. Individual accountability is the key to ensuring that all group members are, in fact, strengthened by learning cooperatively. After participating in a cooperative lesson, group members should be better prepared to complete similar tasks.
The assessment pattern for cooperative learning is where students learn in a group, then individually demonstrate their learning, finishing with a debriefing of the learning in a larger group.
Seven Principles Of Assessment And Reporting :
Make an assessment and reporting plan.
Use cooperative learning groups and understand their benefits in assessment, evaluation, and reporting.
Avoid the use of "pseudo" groups or traditional learning groups in your assessment plan.
Ensure that learning groups are truly cooperative.
Make assessment practices an integrated whole by implementing procedures before, during, and after instruction.
Involve students, classmates, and parents, in reporting assessment results.
Use cooperative learning groups to help individualize the educational goals, learning processes, assessment procedures, and reporting procedures for gifted and disabled students.
Assessing and Evaluating Cooperative Learning:
Dialogue Journals Flexible Grouping Games Group Projects Jigsaw Panel Discussions Debate Peer Pair Reader’s Theater Role Play Think/Pair/Share Examples of Assessing and Evaluating to Implement in Your Classroom
Suggestions for Creating Accountability
Keep the size of the group small. The smaller the size of the group, the greater the individual accountability may be
Give an individual test to each student
Randomly examine students orally by calling on one student to present his or her group's work to the teacher (in the presence of the group) or to the entire class
Observe each group and record the frequency with which each member contributes to the group's work
Color code contributions
Process individual contributions
Individuals initial team decisions
Assign one student in each group the role of checker. The checker asks other group members to explain the reasoning and rationale underlying group answers
Have students teach what they learned to someone else
Assign roles, especially gatekeeper
Use structures like Jigsaw, Numbered Heads, Roundtable, Color-Coded Cards
Base team scores on individual achievement
Including group products, tests, discussions and decisions in which individual contributions are not differentiated
The jigsaw is a great strategy to use in your classroom. To use this strategy divide the students into groups. Each group member is assigned a section or a part of the material selected for study. Each student meets with the members of other similar groups who have similar assignments, forming a new group. This new group learns their part together then plans how to teach this material to members of their original groups.
Students later return to their original and teach their area of expertise to the other group members. In this matter, a topic or subject of great length can be covered and learned in a fraction of the usual time. ESOL students can also learn the material much more effectively since they also must become teachers of the content they have learned for the members of their original groups.
Assessing and Evaluating Cooperative Learning: Jigsaw Example
Education is a social process. Education is growth. Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself. (John Dewey)
Will Cooperative Learning Improve Academic Performance in Your Classroom?
The Strengths of Cooperative Learning:
The greatest strength of cooperative learning methods is the wide range of positive outcomes that have been found in the research. The research demonstrates that when the classroom is structured in a way that allows students to work cooperatively on learning tasks, students benefit academically as well as socially.
Cooperative learning methods are usually inexpensive and easy to implement. Teachers need minimal training to use these techniques. The widespread and growing use of cooperative learning techniques demonstrates that, in addition to their effectiveness, they are practical and attractive to teachers
Weaknesses of Cooperative Learning:
A weakness of Cooperative Learning is that students do not learn equally. Many believe that combining gifted students with lower achievers does not sufficiently challenge gifted students.
The main weakness of cooperative learning is when a teacher implements it in an ineffective manner. Despite the strong interest in cooperative learning, many practitioners are not implementing the concept effectively. "Cooperative learning has become so standard that sometimes it's honored in the breach," Robert Slavin notes. "Everybody's heard of it, and they all had a course on it or some mention of it in their preservice. So they just use it from time to time. It's not seen as a big-deal innovation anymore. In some ways that undermines both the quality of implementation and the likelihood that people really understand what they're doing." In the hands of poorly trained teachers, cooperative learning can dissolve into little more than loud, chaotic classrooms. "If you stop with just putting the students in a group," Johnson warns, you may not get the positive effects of cooperative learning.
Real teams don't emerge unless individuals on them take risks involving conflict, trust, interdependence and hard work. (Katzenbach & Smith) Just because you put students in groups doesn't mean they'll work as a team. (Norm Green)
Future Outlook of Cooperative Learning: Cooperative learning is here to stay . Because it is based on a profound and strategic theory and there is substantial research validating its effectiveness, there probably will never be a time in the future when cooperative learning is not used extensively within educational programs.
All for one and one for all. Alexandre Dumas
Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (1996). The role of cooperative learning in assessing and communicating student learning.
Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., & Holubec, E. J. (1993). Cooperation in the classroom
Slavin, Robert E. Cooperative Learning: Student Teams. What Research Says to the Teacher. Second Edition
Arends, R. (2009). Learning to Teach (7th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw Hill
Ormrod, J.E. (2004) Educational Psychology (5 th ed.) Upper Saddle River, ND: Pearson Prentice Hall
Bossert, S.T. (1988). Cooperative Activities in the Classroom, Review of Educational Research
Kagan, S. (1994). Cooperative Learning. San Clement, DA: Kagan Publishing
References & Resources:
References & Resources Cont.:
Heterogenous grouping as an element of cooperative learning in an elementary education science course School Science and Mathematics , Dec 1995 by Watson, Scott B , Marshall, James E ·