I t has been over twenty-five years since I wrote the first version of this chapter. At that time, overwhelming empirical evidence favoring cooperative learning had been collected and most educators had stopped asking if cooperative learning worked—they were asking how to make cooperative learning work. Nevertheless, many were still skeptical or resistant. The questions educators were posing were of three types: practical, philosophical, and veiled resistance.
Books by Spencer Kagan
Practical: How often should cooperative learning be used? Philosophical: Would the shift to cooperative learning prepare students for a competitive world? Each year our company provides cooperative learning workshops to tens of thousands of teachers in many countries. When we poll our trainers to find which questions are most frequently asked today, remarkably, in various forms many of the same questions are asked today as were asked twenty-five years ago.
So there remains the need to respond. In addition to the old questions, however, new questions are being asked. Differentiated Instruction and Multiple Intelligences have emerged, and educators want to know how cooperative learning aligns with those approaches.
Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures (MiniBook)
There is intense pressure to boost test scores, so today some of the most frequently asked questions focus on testing, evaluation, assessment, and grading. Thus we begin this new edition of Cooperative Learning with answers to questions new and old. The questions remain a mix of practical and philosophical concerns, as well as questions springing from resistance to making the radical shift into cooperative learning.
Admittedly, the shift to cooperative learning is a radical shift, so the intelligent educator should be asking many questions. This chapter is not designed to be read straight through.
Rather it was written and organized to help you easily find responses to the questions that interest or concern you. Most responses include references to other chapters that address the issue in greater detail.
Kagan Publishing & Professional Development
We hope you find our answers helpful in your ongoing reflection process. There is pressure to boost achievement. How does cooperative learning align with direct instruction and the need to boost test scores? There is a lot of pressure to cover the curriculum. How can I cover the curriculum if I allow time for student discussions, teambuilding, classbuilding, and even silly sport energizers?
In our school, we can only use innovations with a scientific research base. Does cooperative learning have a scientific research base? If I have to plan complex cooperative lessons, I will have to spend my days teaching and my nights planning.
Will my class get out of control?
Some people advocate elimination of rewards because they erode intrinsic motivation, yet your cooperative learning structures include praising and celebrations. How can this be reconciled? What should I do with them? Some of my students are window watchers.
See a Problem?
How can I get them to work in teams? I teach gifted students or have some gifted students in my class. Is cooperative learning appropriate for gifted students?
I have special education students in my regular classroom.
It's All About Engagement!
What do I do with them during cooperative learning? If I have some students in my class several grade levels above others, how does it make sense to have them on the same team and doing the same work? I can check for understanding and offer correction if necessary.
If students are all talking in pairs or teams at once, how can I check for understanding and offer corrective feedback? Are high achievers slowed down because they are stuck working with low achievers? Are they behaviorist manipulations?
What about the need for students to construct knowledge? What will happen to students who become dependent on cooperative learning when they enter higher education where cooperative learning is not used?
Since I have been using Kagan Structures, my whole attitude toward teaching has changed. Students are achieving more and liking school more. I used to look forward to retirement, but now I look forward to teaching.
Kagan Cooperative Learning
Every teacher should know about and use these methods. How can I convince others to use cooperative learning? How do I get started? All rights reserved. Workshops Catalog.
Why Kagan? References Back to Main I t has been over twenty-five years since I wrote the first version of this chapter. From Traditional to Cooperative Learning From The Questions at a Glance Boost Achievement 1. From Traditional to Cooperative Learning. Boost Achievement.
Lesson Planning. Where does cooperative learning fit into my lesson plan? My classroom furniture cannot be rearranged. How can I possibly do cooperative learning? What do I do with students who are frequently absent or frequently pulled out? Grading, Rewards.
Difficult Students. Different Learners. Kindergarten students are egocentric.
Cooperative Learning Model: Strategies & Examples
Can cooperative learning work with kindergarten students? Multiple Intelligences, Differentiated Instruction.
Kagan cooperative learning book review
Possible Adverse Effects. Why Cooperative Learning? I use direct instruction and it works very well. Why should I shift to cooperative learning?