What is Cooperative Learning?
Cooperative learning is a style of teaching that takes the teacher off the stage and allows students to learn from one another through a series of cooperative learning strategies. Students work together in collaborative groups through different cooperative learning strategies to reach a common goal. This positive interdependence allows students to hold one another accountable for sharing the workload and learning. The group nature of cooperative learning strategies allows many student to student interactions to occur at the same time instead of just one interaction at a time that happens when teachers call on a student. To see cooperative learning activities in action is every teacher’s dream!
Cooperative learning is better than competitive learning at increasing student engagement and building relationships in the classroom. It is this positive interdependence that makes cooperative learning strategies so unbelievably powerful.
Research Behind Cooperative Learning Strategies
In my own classroom, I have seen the positive results of cooperative learning. For one thing, my students loved it. I saw their attitudes toward learning change, especially in my more reluctant learners. The positive interdependence and social interaction that cooperative learning strategies embed also built a strong classroom community that made students look forward to coming to school. Engagement levels also instantly grew due to the increased number of interactions amongst students. The benefits of cooperative learning go above and beyond that of any of teaching strategy I have tried. All in all, I could never teach without using cooperative learning strategies again. Collaborative learning strategies really work.
Click here for more on the Key Benefits of Cooperative Learning Strategies.
Basics of Cooperative Learning Strategies
Cooperative learning also includes elements of community building and practice for social skills and communication. Read here for more on cooperative learning basics.
Cooperative Learning Strategies
Think Pair Share
Fan & Pick
Fan & Pick is a great low prep strategy for table teams to work together. One of the things I love about Fan & Pick is the low prep element of it. You can use any set of task cards you already have or these pre-made editions.
Another great cooperative learning strategy for working in teams in Heads Together. I love this strategy for getting students talking using academic language and explaining their thinking. The BEST conversations amongst team members happen during this activity. We also use this strategy to play the Stinky Feet review game that is always a crowd pleaser.
Inside Outside Circle
If you are looking for a great cooperative learning strategy for students to share their work, experiences, opinions, or answers to short questions then give Inside Outside Circle a try. This strategy allows the whole class to participate and work with multiple partners all while getting in a little movement.
Two Truths and a Lie
Another favorite strategy is Two Truths and a Lie. Students love to fib, just a little bit!
Cooperative Learning in Content Areas
Team Builders and Class Builders
Inherently, every cooperative learning strategy that you use is already a team or class builder, but there are some strategies that achieve this goal even more explicitly. The best part about these strategies is they not only build community within the classroom but remain content rich all the same. Talk about a win-win. Team building and class building can both be achieved while all the while staying on topic.
Want Even More Cooperative Learning?
Check out the Cooperative Learning in the Fast Lane Pinterest board.
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