First public chapter: What’s in this Book?

This is the first public excerpt of “The Beginner’s Guide to Cooperative Learning.” Please use Facebook to comment, like and share.

The chapter “What’s in this book?” is to help busy readers to quickly focus on that which interests them.

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Chapter II: What’s in this Book?

Whether you approach it as a leader or a teacher, this book is a step-by-step guide to get simple, powerful Cooperative Learning up and running in your class or school. It gives precise, detailed instructions to make you an expert practitioner and leaves all research evidence and academic theory in a dedicated appendix. However, for all its precision, Cooperative Learning is far from prescriptive. Rather, it lets you get on better in a way that you are comfortable with, using your trusted materials and systems. Best of all it lets you experiment and grow your own best-practice. Step into the driver’s seat and let the kids do the pedalling.

The chapters marked with stars (*) are must-reads for everyone. All other chapters are accessed as required by individual needs and interests. The following chapter outline helps you choose how to best spend your time.

Introduction *

Provides a bit of context and gives you the reasons you need to confidently read and apply this book. It also has a paragraph on the authors, who should be seen as nothing more than spotty amazon delivery boys who hand over a package and leave you to it.

What is CL? *

A better title would have been “What is not Cooperative Learning?” Here we challenge some misconceptions and demonstrate how Cooperative Learning negates the politically charged nonsense about progressive vs traditional. Also, this section outlines the opportunities Cooperative Learning gives all members of staff, including TAs, the impact on different categories of learners, as well as your own role in making Cooperative Learning a success in your school.

Catch1Partner step one

The Stalham story

Get inspired: How Cooperative Learning played an integral part in moving a disintegrating, headless, force-converted Junior School in the UK’s worst educational backwater from special measures to the nations Top-500 league, with happy teachers, pupils and parents.


What’s in it for you? Because Cooperative Learning looks at human beings as the key resource in any situation, everyone has a unique part to play in a Cooperative Learning school, from the head to the TA to the pupil.

Leadership (SLT* only)

If you are a teacher who wants to get this rolling in your class tomorrow, skip this chapter. If you are a leader who wants to make fundamental improvements to your school, don’t. Drew will walk you through all the details and pitfalls to help you tick all the boxes in the SIDP for the price you paid for this book – including free, non-threatening professional development for all classroom staff, SENCO and EAL specialists.

Assessment and the Ofsted Framework (SLT* only)

SLT only: Cooperative Learning is not “yet another tool to get children talking.” It is a multifaceted yet highly specialised, surgical instrument to achieve the outcomes you are looking for, including assessment data that slots straight in with your tracking systems and the current Ofsted Framework.

Exemplary CLIP – Catch1Partner *

This is the bulk of the book. A step-by-step guide to introduce and grow the versatile CLIP Catch1Partner in your school – among other things, you will learn how to facilitate social skills, language acquisition (general and subject specific), metacognition, assessment and self-assessment, peer feedback, and a whole lot of other things – with no real extra work on your part.

Pitfalls of Cooperative Learning – Things that go “BUMP” in the classroom*

The problem about turning pupils into your main resource is that they are humans, with all it entails. What if someone just doesn’t want to take part? What if they are teaching each other the wrong thing? This section is compiled of answers to questions from teachers who have trained with us.

Teaching Materials – The stuff you don’t need to buy

A few months in, Drew and his staff had cut down substantially on preparation time. Pupils should take over much of the production of teaching materials and start feeling responsible for them. In this chapter you will learn how the same set of materials can be used weekly (or even daily) across classes for years on end to achieve different outcomes. And learn how pupils’ own materials can tie your school together in time as well as space.

Early Years /KS1/ pre-reading

Shaming common assumption, many Cooperative Learning activities involve reading and writing. So what do you do if the kids don’t yet know their ABC? This section tackles pre-readers and is based on experiences and ideas from teachers in the many primary and infant schools we have worked with.

The CL lesson plan

Many teachers use the same basic structure in their lessons. Whether you have your own unique style or follow the guidance from works such as “Getting the most out of…” by Andy Tharby, Cooperative Learning can slot straight in with what you are doing and strengthen each stage of your lesson.

CL & Other Strategies

Read-Write-Inc to Growth Mindset to PowerMaths – don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater (even if you think it’s an ugly changeling). Cooperative Learning will support, and in most cases increase, the value of any system you have previously invested in.


Theory of Cooperative Learning and everything else

Why the answer to the educational conundrum is not 42 or any other two-digit number. Based on his MA, Drew has dedicated this section to readers who want to understand the power of Cooperative Learning in depth. Prepare to buy an egg-shaped hat.


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Please note: Given the Ofsted framework is up in the air, we are reconsidering that chapter.

If you are interested in helping, please contact me via Twitter or our dedicated Facebook page to comment or open a conversation.


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