Cooperative learning

Module on cooperative learning

Briefly, child-friendly schools promote cooperative and active learning, tolerance, caring, creativity and above all, the self-esteem of children.  They provide an education based on the reality of the children's lives and work in close consultation with parents.  Child-friendly schools work to prevent bullying and other forms of violence in schools.  Becoming child-friendly is not a simple matter for schools.  It takes a determined and long-term commitment in order to meet the psychosocial needs of children.  However; all schools have the capacity to become child-friendly.  More than anything else, the child-friendly status of a school depends upon its policies and the attitudes of the staff.

 

Child friendly schools have a whole-school approach to addressing the psychosocial developmental needs of all children with a major component on developing generic and locally-specific life skills for children from preschool to middle secondary school level.   Other components to be implemented in the model include child rights sensitization, school self-assessment of ‘Child-friendliness,’ school improvement planning/implementation, local curriculum development for active participatory learning, development of multiple intelligences, student learning and health information system, and external linkages for mobilization of community resources.

 

Cooperative learning is a successful teaching strategy in which small teams, each with students of different levels of ability, use a variety of learning activities to improve their understanding of a subject. Each member of a team is responsible not only for learning what is taught but also for helping teammates learn, thus creating an atmosphere of achievement. Students work through the assignment until all group members successfully understand and complete it. 

Cooperative efforts result in participants striving for mutual benefit so that all group members:

·         gain from each other's efforts. (Your success benefits me and my success benefits you.)

·         recognize that all group members share a common fate. (We all sink or swim together here.)

·         know that one's performance is mutually caused by oneself and one's team members. (We can not do it without you.)

·         feel proud and jointly celebrate when a group member is recognized for achievement. (We all congratulate you on your accomplishment!).

Cooperative Learning

Cooperative learning is a successful teaching strategy in which small teams, each with students of different levels of ability, use a variety of learning activities to improve their understanding of a subject. Each member of a team is responsible not only for learning what is taught but also for helping teammates learn, thus creating an atmosphere of achievement. Students work through the assignment until all group members successfully understand and complete it. 

Cooperative efforts result in participants striving for mutual benefit so that all group members:

·         gain from each other's efforts. (Your success benefits me and my success benefits you.)

·         recognize that all group members share a common fate. (We all sink or swim together here.)

·         know that one's performance is mutually caused by oneself and one's team members. (We can not do it without you.)

·         feel proud and jointly celebrate when a group member is recognized for achievement. (We all congratulate you on your accomplishment!).

 Why use Cooperative Learning?

Research has shown that cooperative learning techniques:

·         promote student learning and academic achievement

·         increase student retention

·         enhance student satisfaction with their learning experience

·         help students develop skills in oral communication

·         develop students' social skills

·         promote student self-esteem

·         help to promote positive race relations

Elements of Cooperative Learning

It is only under certain conditions that cooperative efforts may be expected to be more productive than competitive and individualistic efforts. Those conditions are:

1. Positive Interdependence  
(sink or swim together)

  • Each group member's efforts are required and indispensable for group success
  • Each group member has a unique contribution to make to the joint effort because of his or her resources and/or role and task responsibilities

 

2. Face-to-Face Interaction  
(promote each other's success)

  • Orally explaining how to solve problems
  • Teaching one's knowledge to other
  • Checking for understanding
  • Discussing concepts being learned
  • Connecting present with past learning

 

3. Individual 
&
Group Accountability

( no hitchhiking! no social loafing)

  • Keeping the size of the group small. The smaller the size of the group, the greater the individual accountability may be.
  • Giving an individual test to each student.
  • Randomly examining students orally by calling on one student to present his or her group's work to the teacher (in the presence of the group) or to the entire class.
  • Observing each group and recording the frequency with which each member-contributes to the group's work.
  • Assigning one student in each group the role of checker. The checker asks other group members to explain the reasoning and rationale underlying group answers.
  • Having students teach what they learned to someone else.

 

4. Interpersonal &
Small-Group Skills

  • Social skills must be taught:
    • Leadership
    • Decision-making
    • Trust-building
    • Communication
    • Conflict-management skills

 

5. Group Processing

  • Group members discuss how well they are achieving their goals and maintaining effective working relationships
  • Describe what member actions are helpful and not helpful
  • Make decisions about what behaviors to continue or change

 

 

Class Activities that use Cooperative Learning

1. Jigsaw - Groups with five students are set up. Each group member is assigned some unique material to learn and then to teach to his group members. To help in the learning students across the class working on the same sub-section get together to decide what is important and how to teach it. After practice in these "expert" groups the original groups reform and students teach each other. (Wood, p. 17) Tests or assessment follows.

2. Think-Pair-Share - Involves a three step cooperative structure.  During the first step individuals think silently about a question posed by the instructor.  Individuals pair up during the second step and exchange thoughts.  In the third step, the pairs share their responses with other pairs, other teams, or the entire group.

 

3. Three-Step Interview - Each member of a team chooses another member to be a partner.  During the first step individuals interview their partners by asking clarifying questions.  During the second step partners reverse the roles.  For the final step, members share their partner's response with the team.

4. Round Robin Brainstorming - Class is divided into small groups (4 to 6) with one person appointed as the recorder. A question is posed with many answers and students are given time to think about answers.  After the "think time," members of the team share responses with one another round robin style. The recorder writes down the answers of the group members. The person next to the recorder starts and each person in the group in order gives an answer until time is called.

5. Three-minute review - Teachers stop any time during a lecture or discussion and give teams three minutes to review what has been said, ask clarifying questions or answer questions.

6. Numbered Heads - A team of four is established. Each member is given numbers of 1, 2, 3, 4. Questions are asked of the group. Groups work together to answer the question so that all can verbally answer the question. Teacher calls out a number (two) and each two is asked to give the answer.

7. Team Pair Solo - Students do problems first as a team, then with a partner, and finally on their own. It is designed to motivate students to tackle and succeed at problems which initially are beyond their ability. It is based on a simple notion of mediated learning. Students can do more things with help (mediation) than they can do alone. By allowing them to work on problems they could not do alone, first as a team and then with a partner, they progress to a point they can do alone that which at first they could do only with help.

8. Circle the Sage - First the teacher polls the class to see which students have a special knowledge to share. For example the teacher may ask who in the class was able to solve a difficult math homework question, who had visited Mexico, who knows the chemical reactions involved in how salting the streets help dissipate snow. Those students (the sages) stand and spread out in the room. The teacher then has the rest of the classmates each surround a sage, with no two members of the same team going to the same sage. The sage explains what they know while the classmates listen, ask questions, and take notes. All students then return to their teams. Each in turn, explains what they learned. Because each one has gone to a different sage, they compare notes. If there is disagreement, they stand up as a team. Finally, the disagreements are aired and resolved.

9. Partners - The class is divided into teams of four. Partners move to one side of the room. Half of each team is given an assignment to master to be able to teach the other half. Partners work to learn and can consult with other partners working on the same material. Teams go back together with each set of partners teaching the other set. Partners quiz and tutor teammates. Team reviews how well they learned and taught and how they might improve the process.

 

 

What is life skills-based education?

Effective hygiene promotion can reinforce positive attitudes and behavior and reduce or prevent risks. The key issues in hygiene education are many, yet lessons have been learned with regard to effective hygiene education in schools:

  • School hygiene education activities for children must recognize that the learning of children differs in the various stages of their development.

    Preschool and primary school children do not possess the same skills, knowledge, and attitudes toward learning complex concepts as older children (or adults). A common mistake made when developing hygiene promotion activities for children is the use of methodologies that have been designed for adults. In general, such adult methodologies will need to be adapted before they can be effectively used with children.
  • New knowledge does not equal new practice.

    Acquired knowledge does not automatically translate into changed hygiene behaviors. Children need to be motivated to translate the knowledge they have acquired into practice, and
    age-appropriate life skills for hygiene, sanitation, and water in schools should be developed.

In recent years a new methodology, life skills-based hygiene education, has been developed.This methodology does not merely teach children facts about health risks and unsafe hygiene practices. It helps children develop essential life skills that enable them to take greater responsibility for their own lives. Life skills-based hygiene can help children to acquire and maintain healthy lifestyles and conditions through the development of knowledge, attitudes, and especially skills, using a variety of learning experiences, with an emphasis on participatory methods.

Life skills-based education essentially tries to center hygiene practices in children's daily reality, while helping children acquire both knowledge of appropriate hygiene behaviors and the skills to use them.

life skills-based education methods.

Table 1. Hygiene Education Methods Compared

Traditional education method

Life skills-based education

 

Lesson content is not adjusted to local conditions

The content of the lessons is adapted to real life situations

 

Emphasis is on acquiring knowledge

Emphasis is on developing knowledge, skills and attitudes

 

Method is teacher centered

Method is child centered

 

Teacher uses one-way teaching in which the teacher speaks and the students listen

Children learn from the teacher and each other

 

Learning is mostly through written text

The teacher uses written text and participatory and interactive activities

 

Children sit in rows with the teacher facing the class

Seating arrangements are flexible, allowing for group work and classroom teaching