Stalham Academy is an early adopter of Cooperative Learning, and was the first to purchase the best-selling Skills & Mastery course. In this video, Andrew Howard presents a model lesson – in one of the first examples where Cooperative Learning is used to not only inform parents, but to secure their full engagement.
Given their stunning results, this former special measures primary is worth paying attention to for other clients who are looking to maximise their CPD investment. Watch this brief video on how Cooperative Learning Interaction Patterns (CLIPs) are deployed in lessons across subjects. (For newcomers to this blog, please find a concise definition of CLIPs here).
This lesson reflect the schools’ best-practice experience, secures an ideal mix of group and individual work, saves teachers mental planning and provides children with a repeated, recognisable format.
CLIPs are picked as appropriate from the nine provided in the Skills & Mastery course. Each of these CLIPs are carefully picked to cover a fan of needs, whether the objective is creative writing, SPaG, problem analysis, reading, etc. See a post on the course outline here.
Mr Howard at work on a pie diagramme… Watch video in new window.
- 15 mins Recap (Though not mentioned in video, this may include an optional CLIP)
- Teacher models task/lesson objective
- First CLIP: pupils work on similar tasks in a relevant CLIP. Some of the objectives of using Cooperative Learning at this juncture is to identify troublesome areas through negotiation, support weaker or inattentive students in the initial phase, auto-differentiate learning, and provide reflection on own learning and understanding, through organised, peer-supported task resolution with full individual accountability.
- Teacher models, relevant, focused feedback based on unobtrusive monitoring, spontaneous assistance to observed issues, and direct questions from pupils (in the cases where the combined effort of a team is insufficient).
- Second CLIP (main activity): Now supported by the previous phases, pupils engage in the task at hand, ironing out the details through the peer-to-peer learning in teams or pairs (depending on CLIP).
- Independent work: With all pupils having now themselves solved a number of tasks, and observed others solving task, while explaining and negotiating issues to peers, the final stage of independent work secures that each pupil actually understands and is able to execute the procedure individually (“What goes into their books,” as Mr Howard phrases it).
- Plenary (w. optional CLIP).
It goes without saying there is a strong integrated social skills element, as Mr Howard pointed out through-out the session. More videos of this event and Stalham Academy are found in the Parent Meeting and Stalham video libraries.
Individual or Collaborative?
Note that this is an excellent example of how individual and collaborative efforts support each other. Unless CLIPs incorporate protracted elements of individual work, Cooperative Learning should not be used non-stop through-out a lesson. All students, not only introverts, need time to reflect and work individually, and essential knowledge may be very effectively taught from the board. (For some reflections on introverted students, please see Inside out? collaborating introverts. For more on the student-teacher-centred discussion, please see Deconstructing the Progressive-Traditional Dichotomy).
As I always point out during CPD that Cooperative Learning should not be “dropped in” because management says so, or because Ofsted wants student-centred learning, but because it drives your lesson objectives, using your chosen materials, with your lesson, for your particular class, on that particular day. With only nine CLIPs to choose from, the usefulness of each CLIP demonstrated and explained in the CPD and outlined in the handouts, the model lesson plan leaves teachers with choices, yet gives a basic supporting structure.
I am hoping to have Mr Howard outline the wider framework into which these lessons fit at Stalham at some point, perhaps in a joint post. I am also aiming to get more extracts online from this event into the the Parent Meeting video library. Get notifications on twitter.
UPDATE: See the 2017 series Stalham, What Went Right?