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Cooperative Learning

Cooperative Learning
Integrating Theory and Practice

May 2007 | 288 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
'I found the examples and clear language, the pedagogical features, and the research base to be excellent' - Janet Whitley, Tarleton State University

'I think the sample dialogues will be very helpful for teachers. Having a script will assist pre-service and in-service teachers think about the kinds of conversation they will need to engage in their students in to promote learning' - Jacqueline A. Norris, The College of New Jersey

'Cooperative Learning's greatest strengths are bringing together a range of powerful teaching strategies connected to students taking responsibility for their own learning and the learning of others. The focus on both teacher strategies to encourage effective group talk and student strategies to encourage effective discourse is helpful. This book will be enormously useful to teacher educators and those working with beginning teachers' - Nancy L. Markowitz, San Jose State University

'Robyn Gillies really knows her stuff. She is clearly conversant with major themes in the field and cites relevant literature and research. The chapters provide good coverage of themes' - Susan Carol Losh, Florida State University

Although cooperative learning is widely endorsed as a pedagogical practice that promotes learning and socialization among students, teachers still struggle with how to introduce it into their classrooms.

This book aims to overcome the challenges by:

- detailing how teachers can establish cooperative learning in their classrooms to promote student engagement and learning

- elaborating on how teachers' discourse can challenge children's thinking and scaffold their learning

- outlining how to promote student discourse during small group experiences

- providing explicit examples of the link between theory, research, and practice.

1. Cooperative Learning In Schools
Introduction and Learning Objectives

Case Study: The Case of Tom

Introducing Cooperative Learning

Group Task

Grouping Practices

Promoting Student Discourse

Cooperative Learning Pedagogy in the Classroom: Teacher’s Role

Effective or Expert Teachers

The Impact of Mandatory Testing On Cooperative Learning

Specific Requirements of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Law

Why Test?

What Happened?

Teachers’ Perceptions of Mandatory Testing

The Case Against Testing

Is Mandated Testing Working?

The Potential to Transform Schools: Using Cooperative Learning Pedagogy

Case Study: Transforming a School: A Principal’s Story

School-Wide Cooperative Learning

Teachers Reported Satisfaction with Cooperative Learning

A Comprehensive School Reform Model

Structure and Content: Overview of the Chapters That Follow

Chapter Summary

Practical Activities

2. Key Components in Establishing Successful Cooperative Groups
Introduction and Learning Objectives

Case Study: An Example of Cooperative Learning in a First Grade Classroom

Cooperative Learning

Positive Interdependence

Practical Activity: Ways of Structuring Positive Interdependence

Promotive Interaction

Practical Activity: Ways of Promoting Interaction

Individual Accountability

Practical Activity: Ways of Ensuring Individual Accountability

Interpersonal and Small Group Skills

Practical Activity: Ways of Ensuring that Children Learn Interpersonal and Small Group Skills

Group Processing

Practical Activity: Ideas for Group Processing

How Long Should Students Work In Cooperative Groups?

Five Key Components for Structuring Cooperative Learning Groups

Bringing It All Together: Understanding the Research

Low-Ability Children

Affective Development

What is Cooperative Learning?

The Role of the Teacher in Establishing Cooperative Learning

Chapter Summary

Practical Activities

3. Teachers’ Discourse to Promote Student Thinking and Learning
Introduction and Learning Objectives

Case Study: Teacher’s Dialogue with a Small Group of Students

Teachers’ Discourse During Whole-Class, Small Group, and Cooperative Learning

Whole-class Versus Cooperative Learning

Small-Group Versus Cooperative Learning

Communications Skills and Cooperative Learning

Types of Mediated Learning

Pedagogical Practices That Promote Thinking

Case Study: An Exchange between a Teacher and One of the Small Groups in her Fifth Grade Class

Case Study: A Discussion among Students in a Small Group

Case Study: An Exchange between an Eleventh Grade Teacher and a Small Group of Students

Case Study: A Group Discussion among Eleventh Grade Students

Other Ways of Challenging Students’ Thinking and Facilitating Interactions

Creating the Learning Environment

Practical Activity: Ways of Creating a Cooperative Learning Environment

Bringing It All Together: Understanding the Research

Chapter Summary

Practical Activities

4. Strategies to Promote Student Discourse
Introduction and Learning Objectives

Strategies for Helping Students to Dialogue Together

Reciprocal Teaching

Case Study: An Example of the Four Reciprocal Teaching Strategies

Practical Activity: Ways of Teaching Reciprocal Teaching Strategies to Students

Practical Activity: Ideas for Establishing Audience Roles

Collaborative Strategic Reading

Practical Activity: Ways of Introducing CSR to Students to Enhance their Understanding of Text

Scripted Cooperation

Guided Reciprocal Peer Questioning

Ask To Think-Tel Why Strategy

Case Study: Example of Fifth Grade Students Dialoguing Together Using the Ask to Think-Tel Why Questioning Strategies

Self-Regulated Strategy Development

Bringing It All Together: Understanding the Research

Chapter Summary

Practical Activities

5. Group Composition
Introduction and Learning Objectives

Harnessing the Power of the Group: Productive Small Groups

Case Study: Students’ Perceptions of Mixed-Ability Groupings in Their Classroom

Ability Groupings

Catering For Students with Diverse Needs

Practical Activity: Ideas for Establishing Mixed-Ability Groups

Gender Groupings

Teachers’ Perspectives on Grouping Students

Friendship Groupings

Practical Activity: Ideas for Establishing Friendship Groups


Case Study: Enhancing Mandy’s Low-Status in her Group

Multiple Intelligences

Interest Groupings

Surveying Students’ Interests

Computer Technology Groupings

Promoting Student Talk

Case Study: Preparing a Power Point Presentation on Nicotine

Practical Activity: Ideas for Establishing Computer Groupings

Bringing It All Together: Understanding the Research

Chapter Summary

Practical Activities

6. Assessing Small Group Learning
Introduction and Learning Objectives

Case Study: Teachers’ Reports on How They Assess Small Group Learning

Formative Assessment

Curriculum-Based Assessments

Peer Assessment

Computer-Supported Peer Assessment

Practical Activity: Conducting Formative Assessments of Small Group Learning

Summative Assessment

Criterion-Referenced Assessments

Authentic Assessments

Using Authentic Assessments in Different Contexts

Case Studies


Exhibitions of Performance

Problem-Base Inquiries

Problem-Based Learning Using Formative and Summative Assessments

Key Points on Summative Assessments and their Purposes

Practical Activity: Conducting Summative Assessments of Small Group Learning

Bringing It All Together: Understanding the Research

Chapter Summary

Practical Activities

7. Teachers’ Responsibilities in Establishing Cooperative Learning in their Classrooms
Introduction and Learning Objectives

Case Study: A High School Teacher’s Experience with Cooperative Learning

Creating a Cooperative Learning Environment

Student-Centered Learning

Negotiate Expectations for Small Group Behaviors

Developing Communication Skills for Group Discussion

Specific Metacognitive Skills That Promote Discourse

The Teacher’s Role In Promoting Mediated-Learning

Developing Appropriate Helping Behaviors

Choosing Tasks for Small Group Discussions

Monitoring Students’ Progress and Evaluating Outcomes

Case Study: Developing Criteria for Assessing Group Outcomes in Sixth Grade

Chapter Summary

Practical Activities

8. Future Developments in Using Small Groups
Introduction and Learning Objectives

Comprehensive School Reform (CSR)

Case Study: Two Middle School Teachers’ Experiences with a Comprehensive School Reform Program

The Implications of CSR Programs for Democratic and Learner-Centered Teaching Practices

Student Participation in Negotiating Opportunities for Learning

Practical Activity: Helping Schools Establish Positive Learning Environments

The Impact of Computer Technology on Small Group Learning

The Implications for Designing Classrooms of the Future

The Importance of Teamwork and Communication

Chapter Summary

Practical Activities

About the Author

"Gilles focuses the majority of the book on the relationship in the classroom between the individual teacher and the students. She gives teachers ammunition to overcome resistance to cooperative learning by presenting well-substantiated research on virtually every page of her book showing the benefits of having students study together." —Ted Wohlfarth, PSYCCRITIQUES

Ted Wohlfarth

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781412940481

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