As mentioned in the previous post, a dream has come true for me. I am working with a highly experienced science teacher to discover how Cooperative Learning can further literacy skills in science from KS2 to University.
Given the routine assertions that Cooperative Learning denotes wet talking exercises, some science and maths teachers I have spoken to have raised concerns. During development of the courses to Norwich Primary Academy, fate has willed that the deputy head, Mr Ben Rogers, was point man. Before his tenure at NPA, Ben has taught science at secondary level for 18 years and sees what Cooperative Learning can actually do. Many will be familiar with Ben’s blog, ReadingforLearning, and his special focus on reading in Science as a very distinct and largely unexplored area.
However there is a dire need, it seems. Ben has investigated the reading habits of one hundred scientist. One of the main conclusions from the survey is that professional scientists and engineers teach themselves to read subject texts, at least until college (only 10% of the professionals who responded to the survey were taught to read science texts at school, 84% said they taught themselves).
As a science teacher, Ben believes that technical texts require specific reading strategies. As a Cooperative Learning aficionado, I want to prove the role of Cooperative Learning in Science.
I do not mean just in relation to drilling the definitions, vocabulary and procedures associated with these subjects. I aim to facilitate transferable skills, such as contextualisation and higher level thinking, through negotiation of meaning.
I hope to prove that the tight structuring afforded by Cooperative Learning will simultaneously provide classroom control, focus on objectives and effective assessment, while giving science students a sense of both freedom to investigate and accountability for their own learning.
Read Ben’s reflections on cooperatebeliterate.org.
Read the survey on educationinchemestry