As a first-time teacher, how do you start aligning a lesson plan and classroom setup with cooperative learning strategies? Working with others is an important skill children can develop at an early age in the classroom and interactive group learning is a beneficial way to help students become more engaged in classroom instruction.
Cooperative learning strategies allow students to develop team building and social skills through interactive group projects. Students work together in a collaborative environment where each person equally contributes to the learning process. This form of learning is helpful to improve the number of students involved in a classroom assignment.
Cooperative learning benefits the classroom setting through:
- Interactive teamwork
- Face-to-face interaction
- Specific roles and duties for each student in the group
- Working together to complete tasks
- Individual accountability to complete assigned tasks
- Improvement in social skills
- Rewards for completing group projects
How do you set up your classroom to promote cooperative learning?
Create a positive classroom environment
Establish a classroom with hands-on learning and project areas and help students interact in polite, respectful tones while being involved in a variety of activities throughout the day that require group interaction. Cooperative learning groups should include 4 to 6 students to provide more clear communication and an opportunity for everyone to be involved in the lesson plan.
Assign a role for each student
Each student should have an assigned responsibility in the group setting. It is also imperative to choose assignments that fit well with team collaboration. Not all assignments can be integrated into cooperative learning. Assignments that make it possible for students to debate and look at a variety of solutions, as well as make it possible for each student's performance to be assessed are essential to learning in a group environment.
Focus on problem-based learning
Teachers can implement problem-based learning into the overall cooperative learning strategy by influencing how students see the connection between learning and real-world scenarios. Problem-based learning allows students to address a scenario and creatively problem solve to understand how it influences the world around them.
Provide constructive feedback
Each group member should offer feedback and contribute to the group. As each student interacts and works together, they will develop stronger solutions and be more engaged in the learning experience. Teachers can also reward students for their great work and collaboration once projects are complete.
Cooperative learning strategies seem straightforward, but with so much information out there it is hard to tell if you are effectively setting up your classroom. STEMscopes cooperative learning white paper helps teachers learn how to effectively set up and assess cooperative learning from start to finish, and help create real-world experiences for students to collaborate and work on together.