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The Teacher's Sourcebook for Cooperative Learning

The Teacher's Sourcebook for Cooperative Learning
Practical Techniques, Basic Principles, and Frequently Asked Questions

September 2002 | 184 pages | Corwin
`The authors reveal considerable wealth of experience as teachers and as users of CL. This will be a very successful book' - Jon A Scaife, Lecturer in Education, School of Education, University of Sheffield

The authors of this volume define cooperative learning as "principles and techniques for helping students work together more effectively." Teachers of every level will find this book full of useful ideas on how the power of student-student cooperation can enliven their classrooms.

The authors share eight key principles of creating effective and efficient cooperative learning (CL), along with a variety of CL techniques and examples of how to use them. Research has shown that by participating in CL, students can benefit in the following areas (supporting research is described in the Resources):

- Improved academic achievement

- More active involvement in learning by students regardless of past achievement level or individual learning needs

- Increased student responsibility for their own learning

- Improved collaborative skills

- Improved student attitudes toward learning, school, peers, and self

- Greater opportunities for the teacher to observe and assess student learning

At the same time teachers are learning a new way to teach, students are learning a new way to learn - along with the content being taught. Just as students can learn better when working with peers, so too can teachers; the benefits of teachers working together with colleagues are also described.

What Is Cooperative Learning?

The Benefits of Cooperative Learning

How to Get the Most From This Book

About the Authors
Part I: Getting Started With Cooperative Learning
1. Principle: Cooperation as a Value
How can I get my class started using cooperative learning (CL)?

What classroom management techniques might work well with CL?

How might the room be arranged for CL?

2. Principle: Heterogeneous Grouping
How can I form cooperative groups?

How can I help my students work together smoothly?

What are some strategies for team building?

3. Principle: Positive Interdependence
What is positive interdependence?

How can I help my students develop positive interdependence?

How can we encourage an "all for one, one for all" spirit among students?

4. Principle: Individual Accountability
How can I encourage all students to participate and learn?

How can I help students learn to take responsibility for their group?

5. Principle: Simultaneous Interaction
How can I give students lots of opportunities to express their ideas?

Should students report on their group work to the whole class?

How can I encourage students to explain their thinking to their group?

6. Principle: Equal Participation
How can I promote equal participation in groups?

How might CL help with differences in student ability levels?

What about the students whose main strengths do not lie in academic skills?

7. Principle: Collaborative Skills
Is it necessary to teach students how to cooperate?

Can students learn collaborative skills while learning content, or does it have to be done separately?

How might cooperative learning help students develop thinking skills?

8. Principle: Group Autonomy
How can I help groups become more independent of the teacher?

How much should I intervene when students are working in their CL groups?

What is the teacher's role when students have become more autonomous?

9. Assessment in Cooperative Learning
How can I assess learning in cooperative groups?

What are my options for grading students, and what are the pros and cons of giving all group members the same grade?

How might I involve students in assessing themselves and each other?

What about assessing how cooperative students are?

Part II: Frequently Asked Questions About Cooperative Learning
10. Preparing Our Classes for Cooperative Learning
What size should groups be?

What if there is an uneven number of students?

How long should CL groups stay together?

What if students want to choose their own partners?

How can CL work when students don't believe they can learn from their peers?

Should anything special be done when groups end?

11. Managing Cooperative Learning Classes
Isn't CL a recipe for behavioral chaos?

Should I use time limits with group tasks?

Won't there be a lot of disruption and wasted time while students are moving into groups?

How can I quickly get students' attention when they are working in groups?

How do you deal with groups that are too noisy?

What if some groups are not carrying out the task or activity properly?

Is it a problem when groups finish at different times?

How can group reporting be a learning experience for everyone in the class?

How can I listen in as students are working together in their groups?

12. Creating CL Tasks
How often should I use CL?

How can I find the time necessary to prepare structured CL activities?

How are CL lessons different from teacher-fronted lessons?

Won't group activities take too long?

Won't students complain about using the same CL technique, or even using CL, again and again?

What if CL tasks are too difficult for students of different ability levels?

13. Enhancing Thinking When Using CL
How can I encourage students working in groups to show creativity or other evidence of higher-order thinking?

How can I ensure that group members avoid reaching quick consensus and have richer discussions?

14. Using CL in Special Situations
How do I use CL with preschool and lower elementary school students?

How do I use CL with students learning in a second language?

How should we respond when students use their first language in CL groups using another language?

How do I use CL with large classes?

15. Helping Groups That Aren't Functioning Well
What can I do when students don't get along with their groupmates?

My students argue with one another. How can I turn arguing into productive disagreement?

What can I do about students who don't participate much in CL activities?

What about students who really want to work alone?

What about students who dominate the group?

What can I do when less able students hurt their group's performance?

What can I do when students give each other the wrong information?

What can I do when there is cooperation within groups but not between groups?

16. Collaborating With Other Teachers
Most other teachers at my school don't seem interested in CL. Should I give up on them?

A few other teachers I know are using CL. How can we help each other?

What goals should my teacher support groups strive for?

With what other changes in teaching does CL fit well? Why?

17. Working With Administrators and Parents
How can I respond to administrators and parents who worry that CL won't prepare students for multiple-choice tests such as the SAT?

Will CL give me enough time to cover the syllabus and finish the textbook?

How can I work with administrators who do not support CL?

Part III: Resources for Cooperative Learning
CL Print Resources
Web Sites

"The Teacher’s Sourcebook for Cooperative Learning has ideas and activities that can be used by all teachers who want to improve their classroom management and promote community building." 

Rebecca Den Hartog, Elementary Classroom Teacher
Mercer Island School District, WA

"I unreservedly recommend this important resource to any preservice or inservice teachers of young children." 

Chris Iddings, Assistant Professor of Language and Literacy
Vanderbilt University

"The authors reveal considerable wealth of experience as teachers and as users of CL. This will be a very successful book." 

Jon A. Scaife, Lecturer in Education
School of Education, University of Sheffield; UK

"This book will give teachers the materials they need to try cooperative learning techniques if they do not currently use them, and it will encourage teachers to expand their cooperative activities if they use some now."

Theodore Panitz, Professor
Cape Cod Community College

"This wonderfully effective guide to the management and assessment of group work in the high school classroom offers practical strategies, advice, and an answer to the perennial teacher question  ‘How do I get kids to work together productively?’  I highly recommend it to any new or experienced teacher as a great resource for incorporating effective cooperative learning strategies into the curriculum." 

Ann Morgan, High School Teacher and Curriculum Specialist
Everett, Washington

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ISBN: 9780761946090
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