Defining cooperative learning (CL) as "principles and techniques for helping students work together more effectively," and making the case that CL is not a recipe for behavioral chaos, a trio of educators share principles, techniques, and class-building activities for getting started in CL, e.g., diagrams for effective group seating, sample scoring guides, and cooperative games. They then answer frequently asked questions in relation to CL preparation, management, task creation, thinking enhancement, special situations, aid to faltering groups, and collaboration with other teachers. CL apparently applies to all grade levels as these are not specified. Jacobs (Ph.D., educational psychology) has been teaching courses on CL since 1988. References includes Web resources. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
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Table of Contents
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