Instructional Strategies EPI 0002:
Professor Dominique Charlotteaux
August 9, 2009
Group 02 Members:
Susan Convery Foltz
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)
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
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
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
Teams are heterogeneous in gender, race, culture and
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 acquire new skills and knowledge.
Rewards are oriented towards individual and group.
Five Elements of Cooperative
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
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
3. Interpersonal and Small-Group Skills - Each team member
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
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
Maintain effective working relationships
Describe what member actions are helpful/unhelpful
Make decisions about behaviors to
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
Each team member should listen
respectfully and attentively to other team
Each team member should contribute ideas
Each team member should ask questions
when clarification is needed
Each team member should give
What children can do together
today, they can do alone
(Let Vygotsky, 1962)
Theoretical Support and
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
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
The highest and best form of
efficiency is the spontaneous
cooperation of a free people.
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
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
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
While the basic principles of cooperative learning do not change, there
are "structures" which have been studied extensively:
Cooperative Learning Methods Time Period Researcher
Learning Together Mid 1960’s Johnson & Johnson
Early 1970’s Devries & Edwards
Group Investigation Mid 1970s Sharan & Sharan
Mid 1970’s Johnson & Johnson
Jigsaw Late 1970’s Aaronson & Associates
STAD (Student Teams
Late 1970’s Slavin & Associates
TAI (Team Assisted
Early 1980’s Slavin & Associates
Mid 1980’s Kagan
Complex Instruction Early 1980’s Cohen
CIRC (Cooperative Integrative
Late 1980’s Stevens, Slavin & Associates
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
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
(Roger & David Johnson)
Johnson, Johnson, Holubec
According to Johnson, Johnson,
Holubec and Roy the
Cornerstones of Cooperative
1. Positive Interdependence (Sink
or Swim together)
2. Promotive Interaction (Face to
3. Individual and Group
4. Teaching the required
Interpersonal and Small Group
5. Group Processing (Reflection)
Elements of Cooperative
Johnson & Johnson have
identified four specific
elements which seem to
be important for
1. Cooperative task
2. Cooperative incentive
3. Individual accountability
4. Heterogeneous grouping
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
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
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)
Planning for Cooperative
There are six key steps involved in
planning for cooperative learning:
1. Choose an approach
2. Choose appropriate content
3. Form student teams
4. Develop materials
5. Plan for orienting students to tasks and
6. 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
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
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
they will quickly lose interest
and the cooperative
learning approach will fail.
Research shows that the
more conceptual knowledge
is emphasized the more
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
Teachers can reach out to librarians
and media specialists for assistance
in choosing exciting and appropriate
materials to implement into the
cooperative learning lesson.
The nine ways in which positive interdependence can be structured are as
1. Goal interdependence-The group has a common goal and every member of the team is
expected to achieve it.
2. Incentive interdependence-Everyone receives the same reward but only if every member
of the team succeeds.
3. Resource interdependence-Resources, information, and material are limited so that
students are obliged to work together and cooperate in sharing available resources.
4. 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.
5. Role interdependence-Each group member is assigned a role with specific responsibilities.
Each role contributes to and supports the task's completion.
6. 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.
7. Outside force interdependence-The group, as a whole, competes against other groups.
8. Simulation interdependence-The group members imagine that they are in a situation or
role where they must collaborate to be successful.
9. 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"
Plan for Orienting Students to
Tasks and Roles:
Students who are unfamiliar with the cooperative learning model will
need to be taught about the model and be clear on their roles as well as
the teacher’s expectations during this type of lesson.
Students also need to be made aware that the reward structure will be
cooperatively based, not competitively based like most other class work.
Help students develop social skills naturally or by specific teaching of
the required skills in the following areas:
Leadership, Decision-making, Trust-building, Communication, Conflict-
Provide opportunities for students to “naturally” use social skills in fun or high
Teach, model, chart, process (provide feedback), role play, and reinforce
Assign roles and skills and teach associated response modes and gambits.
Placing students in situations before they have appropriate skills, e.g.,
placing them in conflict before they have conflict resolution skills
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.
Plan for the Use of Time and
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
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
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.
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
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
Students must first learn about one
another and be able to respect each
other’s differences before
completing a successful cooperative
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
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 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
Within cooperative learning
situations, students have two
1. learn the assigned material, and
2. 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
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
Seven Principles Of
1. Make an assessment and reporting plan.
2. Use cooperative learning groups and understand their
benefits in assessment, evaluation, and reporting.
3. Avoid the use of "pseudo" groups or traditional learning
groups in your assessment plan.
4. Ensure that learning groups are truly cooperative.
5. Make assessment practices an integrated whole by
implementing procedures before, during, and after
6. Involve students, classmates, and parents, in reporting
7. Use cooperative learning groups to help individualize the
educational goals, learning processes, assessment
procedures, and reporting procedures for gifted and
Assessing and Evaluating
Examples of Assessing and Evaluating to
Implement in Your Classroom
Suggestions for Creating
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
Education is a social process.
Education is growth. Education is
not a preparation for life;
education is life itself.
Will Cooperative Learning
Performance in Your
The Strengths of
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
• 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
Real teams don't emerge unless individuals on them take
risks involving conflict, trust, interdependence and hard
(Katzenbach & Smith)
Just because you put students in groups doesn't mean they'll
work as a team.
Future Outlook of
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.
•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
•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 (5th
ed.) Upper Saddle River, ND:
Pearson Prentice Hall
•Bossert, S.T. (1988). Cooperative Activities in the Classroom, Review of
•Kagan, S. (1994). Cooperative Learning. San Clement, DA: Kagan Publishing
References & Resources:
References & Resources
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 ·
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