Skills and Best Practices
The “essential elements of cooperative learning in the classroom” are listed and defined in an Eric Digest Document. (A link to this document needs to be provided.)
Cooperative learning is used to help students share the work in researching a topic. However as this Eric Digest Document points out, this is only part of the benefits of using cooperative learning strategies. Other benefits include:
- All students in the group “buying into” the process
- Being a part of a heterogeneous group with a variety of talents
- Equal participation and equal opportunity for success for all students
- Positive interdependence
- Face-to-face interactions
- Positive social interactions
- Access to must-learn information
- Extended time on task
- Individual accountability
- Public recognition for group success
Larry Sorenson, a classroom teacher says:
Learning Simulations are all around us. The military uses them. Video games are simulations, with one of the most popular ones called by a shortened version of the word “simulation” itself. Teachers at all levels use them. You may remember one or two from your own school days. Why are they so popular (especially with students)? Because they work!
This site has some great ideas for skits you can try in the classroom, In addition, Mr. Sorenson provides some great tips on developing your own skits – all from a teacher’s point of view:
Some Helpful Hints:
Start with the end in mind.
- As in all teaching strategies, the better planned, the greater the chance of success.
Have a specific educational objective.
- Sometimes less IS best. Trying to take on more than one main concept can kill a good simulation.
- A wonderful side effect common to simulations is that other ideas may grow out of it in parallel, be flexible to allow such learning gems.
Use what works year after year, but let it grow, evolve, never stagnate.
- Be ready to make adjustments on the fly, and for the next time.
Share! –A teacher is only as good as the one he/she steals from, copyrights excluded.
- Other teachers may be conducting great simulations in your building that you’re not even aware of. Beat the isolationism, one project at a time.
- Other good teachers will want to hear what works for you. They will adapt what you do to fit their own needs.
- Boldly go…