The Teacher's Role in Implementing Cooperative Learning in the Classroom

Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Series

Book 8
Springer Science & Business Media
1
Free sample

Cooperative learning is widely endorsed as a pedagogical practice that promotes student learning. Recently, the research focus has moved to the role of teachers’ discourse during cooperative learning and its effects on the quality of group discussions and the learning achieved. However, although the benefits of cooperative learning are well documented, implementing this pedagogical practice in classrooms is a challenge that many teachers have difficulties accomplishing.

Difficulties may occur because teachers often do not have a clear understanding of the basic tenets of cooperative learning and the research and theoretical perspectives that have informed this practice and how they translate into practical applications that can be used in their classrooms. In effect, what do teachers need to do to affect the benefits widely documented in research?

A reluctance to embrace cooperative learning may also be due to the challenge it poses to teachers’ control of the learning process, the demands it places on classroom organisational changes, and the personal commitments teachers need to make to sustain their efforts. Moreover, a lack of understanding of the key role teachers need to play in embedding cooperative learning into the curricula to foster open communication and engagement among teachers and students, promote cooperative investigation and problem-solving, and provide students with emotionally and intellectually stimulating learning environments may be another contributing factor.

The Teacher's Role in Implementing Cooperative Learning in the Classroom provides readers with a comprehensive overview of these issues with clear guidelines on how teachers can embed cooperative learning into their classroom curricula to obtain the benefits widely attributed to this pedagogical practice. It does so by using language that is appropriate for both novice and experienced educators. The volume provides: an overview of the major research and theoretical perspectives that underpin the development of cooperative learning pedagogy; outlines how specific small group experiences can promote thinking and learning; discusses the key role teachers play in promoting student discourse; and, demonstrates how interaction style among students and teachers is crucial in facilitating discussion and learning. The collection of chapters includes many practical illustrations, drawn from the contributors’ own research of how teachers can use cooperative learning pedagogy to facilitate thinking and learning among students across different educational settings.

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About the author

Robyn M. Gillies is an associate professor in the School of Education at The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. She has worked extensively in schools to help teachers establish cooperative learning pedagogical practices in their classrooms. The results of this research have been published in many leading international journals including, The Journal of Educational Psychology, The Journal of Special Education, The International Journal of Educational Research, Learning and Instruction, and the British Journal of Educational Psychology. In 2003 she co-edited; Cooperative Learning: The Social and Intellectual Outcomes of Learning in Groups (RoutledgeFalmer). Gillies is a member of the editorial board for the International Journal of Disability, Development and Education and editor of the Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Sep 26, 2007
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Pages
267
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ISBN
9780387708928
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Computers & Technology
Education / Educational Psychology
Education / Reference
Education / Teaching Methods & Materials / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Studying Virtual Math Teams centers on detailed empirical studies of how students in small online groups make sense of math issues and how they solve problems by making meaning together. These studies are woven together with materials that describe the online environment and pedagogical orientation, as well as reflections on the theoretical implications of the findings in the studies. The nature of group cognition and shared meaning making in collaborative learning is a foundational research issue in CSCL. More generally, the theme of sense making is a central topic in information science. While many authors allude to these topics, few have provided this kind of detailed analysis of the mechanisms of intersubjective meaning making.

This book presents a coherent research agenda that has been pursued by the author and his research group. The book opens with descriptions of the project and its methodology, as well as situating this research in the past and present context of the CSCL research field. The core research team then presents five concrete analyses of group interactions in different phases of the Virtual Math Teams research project. These chapters are followed by several studies by international collaborators, discussing the group discourse, the software affordances and alternative representations of the interaction, all using data from the VMT project. The concluding chapters address implications for the theory of group cognition and for the methodology of the learning sciences. In addition to substantial introductory and concluding chapters, this important new book includes analyses based upon the author's previous research, thereby providing smooth continuity and an engaging flow that follows the progression of the research.

The VMT project has dual goals: (a) to provide a source of experience and data for practical and theoretical explorations of group knowledge building and (b) to develop an effective online environment and educational service for collaborative learning of mathematics. Studying Virtual Math Teams reflects these twin orientations, reviewing the intertwined aims and development of a rigorous science of small-group cognition and a Web 2.0 educational math service. It documents the kinds of interactional methods that small groups use to explore math issues and provides a glimpse into the potential of online interaction to promote productive math discourse.

"Gilles focuses the majority of the book on the relationship in the classroom between the individual teacher and the students. She gives teachers ammunition to overcome resistance to cooperative learning by presenting well-substantiated research on virtually every page of her book showing the benefits of having students study together."

—Ted Wohlfarth, PSYCCRITIQUES

"This text's greatest strengths are bringing together a range of powerful teaching strategies connected to students taking responsibility for their own learning and the learning of others. The focus on both teacher strategies to encourage effective group talk and student strategies to encourage effective discourse is helpful."

—Nancy L. Markowitz, San Jose State University

Although cooperative learning is widely endorsed as a pedagogical practice that promotes learning and socialization among students, teachers still struggle with how to introduce it into their classrooms. This text highlights the strategies teachers can use to challenge student thinking and scaffold their learning as well as the strategies students can be taught to promote discourse, problem—solving, and learning during cooperative learning.

Key Features

Presents cooperative learning in conjunction with national standards: The book situates cooperative learning within the context of No Child Left Behind and a climate of high stakes testing.Links theory with practice: Numerous case studies and small group exercises highlight how teachers can assess both the process and outcomes of cooperative learning.Emphasizes the key role teachers play in establishing cooperative learning: Guidelines are given on how teachers can establish cooperative learning in their classrooms to promote student engagement and learning across various levels and for students of diverse abilities.Incorporates the latest research on cooperative learning: An overview is provided of the major research and theoretical perspectives that underpin the development of cooperative learning pedagogy.

Intended Audience

This is an excellent supplementary text for several undergraduate and graduate level K—12 teacher preparation and certification courses regularly offered in schools of education. It can also be used as one of several texts in courses on cooperative learning and as a supplement in K—12 teaching methods courses.

Talk to the author! r.gillies@uq.edu.au

During the past 30 years, researchers have made exciting progress in the science of learning (i.e., how people learn) and the science of instruction (i.e., how to help people learn). This second edition of the Handbook of Research on Learning and Instruction is intended to provide an overview of these research advances. With chapters written by leading researchers from around the world, this volume examines learning and instruction in a variety of learning environments including in classrooms and out of classrooms, and with a variety of learners including K-16 students and adult learners. Contributors to this volume demonstrate how and why educational practice should be guided by research evidence concerning what works in instruction. The Handbook is written at a level that is appropriate for graduate students, researchers, and practitioners interested in an evidence-based approach to learning and instruction.

The book is divided into two sections: learning and instruction. The learning section consists of chapters on how people learn in reading, writing, mathematics, science, history, second language, and physical education, as well as how people acquire the knowledge and processes required for critical thinking, studying, self-regulation, and motivation. The instruction section consists of chapters on effective instructional methods—feedback, examples, questioning, tutoring, visualizations, simulations, inquiry, discussion, collaboration, peer modeling, and adaptive instruction.

Each chapter in this second edition of the Handbook has been thoroughly revised to integrate recent advances in the field of educational psychology. Two chapters have been added to reflect advances in both helping students develop learning strategies and using technology to individualize instruction. As with the first edition, this updated volume showcases the best research being done on learning and instruction by traversing a broad array of academic domains, learning constructs, and instructional methods.

The contribution of this volume to the literature on peer learning is its focus on approaches that reflect a common concern with cognitive processes based in developmental, information processing, or more generally, constructivist perspectives on peer learning. Although the clear importance of the social context of peer learning is not ignored, the volume's emphasis is on the cognitive growth that occurs within the learning environment.

Any discussion of peer learning involves consideration of who is learning, how the role of peers with whom one works can be conceptualized, what it is that peers learn together, what changes as a result of the interaction, and how we can know what occurs in groups or what has been learned. The chapters in this book speak to these questions. The key question underlying many of these others is why we should worry about the intricacies of peer interaction. Both the practical and theoretical reasons for doing so are delineated.

The developmental theory presented in the Introduction lays the foundation for the later descriptions of specific techniques, though many of the techniques reflect a range of other influences as well. Part I presents the implications of the work of two major theorists in cognitive development, Piaget (Ch. 1) and Vygotsky (Ch. 2). In Part II, six chapters describe a variety of peer learning techniques or models of collaboration, many of which are influenced by the work of Piaget and Vygotsky. The chapters in Part III consider the role of the teacher and the skills needed when using peer learning as an instructional strategy. The Conclusion points to areas in which further research is needed.

This volume is based on original papers presented by the contributing authors in November 1996 at the Rutgers Invitational Symposium on Education on Cognitive Skills and Learning With Peers.
This book offers a challenge to traditional approaches to classroom teaching and pedagogy. The SPRinG (Social Pedagogic Research into Groupwork) project, part of a larger research programme on teaching and learning funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), was developed to enhance the learning potential of pupils working in classroom groups by actively involving teachers in a programme designed to raise levels of group work during typical classroom learning activities. Internationally, the SPRinG project is the largest evaluation of effective group working methods in comparison to traditional teaching, with findings that show raised levels of pupil achievement and a doubling of sustained, active engagement in learning.

The opening chapters present arguments regarding the relationship of social interaction and children’s cognitive development and examine theories that explain why social interactional processes should be integrated into primary school pedagogic practices.

Next, the book describes the conceptual and methodological basis for the SPRinG studies, especially its focus on the relational approach, the type of involvement of teachers and classroom planning. Further chapters present key results and describe the background and methods used to establish SPRinG-based effects on pupil progress in mathematics, literacy and science, including both macro and micro assessments; how the SPRinG approach affected pupil-pupil interactions and teacher-pupil interactions, as measured by systematic on-the-spot observations and analyses of videotapes of groups working on specially designed tasks work; and effects on pupil self-completed measures of motivation and attitudes to group work.

The book also analyses reflections of teachers who have worked with SPRinG: moving from theory to practice as well as adding insights associated with implementing SPRinG principles in schools. Drawing upon developmental psychological, social psychological and classroom research, it develops a new and ambitious social pedagogic approach to classroom learning, with a stress on group work, which will be of interest to researchers, teachers and policy-makers.

This book includes contributions from Andrew Tolmie and Ed Baines, who were also involved in the ScotSPRinG and SPRinG projects.

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