In the article “What are cooperative and collaborative learning?” (Thirteen Ed Online, 2004), a variety of descriptors are listed. Teachers need to be aware of what collaborative learning looks like and how it can take place in his/her classroom. There are many great teachers who have not been trained formally in collaborative/cooperative learning, however, the need to emphasize these environments is imparative.
Students need to be prepared for the workforce. There are many opportunities for teachers to create cooperative/collaborative environments without overkill. If students can complete the following criteria within an interdisciplinary setting, they will be better prepared for college and career expectations. Collaborative/Cooperative groups actively participate, give respect, celebrate diversity, learn skills for resolving conflict, use previous experience and knowledge and have clearly identified goals.
In Edutopia’s Big Thinkers Series, John Seely Brown “Motivating Learners,” discusses how passion and competitive hunger can drive intrinsic motivation. This is important in the world of immediate satisfaction, engagement and motivation. This is one hot topic in the classroom. With our current evaluation system in our district, we are rated on how engaging and rigorous our lessons are developed. What better of an opportunity than to tune into what students want/need while providing teachable moments. As educators, we do not need to know it all, but provide students with enough confidence to be able to explore and create their own learning. There needs to be an element of reciprocal teaching happening in our classrooms today.
These strategies are not new, nor are they out of reach for our teachers in today’s classrooms. However, educators need support, just like students do.
Click here to see my lesson on incorporating reading comprehension strategies during reading workshop. This can be a very individualized activity, but it is possible to take it to the next level in order to support a cooperative/collaborative classroom.
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