To many, Cooperative Learning just seems too good to be true. Although research documenting the effectiveness of CL is extremely copious, I’ve therefore spent some time looking for a well-organised, well-documented and concise summary that can be used to present the case.
This short paper contains the material practical-minded head teacher or colleague would be looking for when vetting a new teaching method for implementation. It was written in 2002 for the US-based IDEA Center – “a nonprofit organization whose mission is to serve colleges and universities committed to improving learning, teaching, and leadership performance”, but is fully applicable to primary and secondary education elsewhere.
Some catchy headline titles include: The Premises Underlying Cooperative Learning, Theory and Research, Effective Cooperative Learning Experiences and Conducting the Cooperative Classroom, from which the following quote has been taken:
Much of the well-intentioned literature on higher education
reform tends to be theoretical and exhortative: ‘‘Use active
learning techniques;’’ ‘‘Be responsive in the classroom;’’
‘‘Promote respect for diversity;’’ “Foster critical thinking.”
Too often such challenges leave faculty with a sense of
schizophrenic overload, feeling almost like an early Picasso
with eyes, ears, and mouth — to say nothing of brain! —
permanently askew. How can they respond simultaneously
and responsibly to these multiple demands? Inserting
new elements into existing courses without a clear sense
of purpose, commitment, or competence can result
in a half-hearted ‘‘Band-Aid’’ approach.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? You might be able to guess her solution for it, though, and, hopefully, so will your Head.