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Encouraging Cooperative Learning

Cooperation is the key to successful discussions and group work. Cooperative learning should be infused in all subjects because of the role that it plays in all of life's experiences. Students will learn important life skills by working together and collaborating their ideas. Research says that cooperative learning, "Infuses social skills training into the academic curriculum" (Taymans, 1996). An ideal scene in a classroom would have students in their groups, coordinate roles and resources, and celebrate mutual accomplishments with high-fives, smiles, and handshakes (Hodne, 1997). Students will see the benefits that come from working as a team and accomplishing tasks that otherwise would have been significantly more difficult if attempted alone.

Establishing the proper environment for cooperative learning is very important. It would be ideal for the teacher to encourage the students to construct their own classroom management contract. This way they would be setting their own rules of conduct, and hopefully be more apt to work cooperatively together. The Josephson Institute (1996) states the definition of a contract as, "what you formally promise to do orally or in writing." Students would feel more responsible for their actions because they would have set the standards for their classroom. Many times students choose rules that the teacher was going to put in place any way, and sometimes the students' are more strict than the teacher's. Examples of important rules include demonstrating a positive attitude toward their peers and their teacher, follow directions given by the teacher, listening to their classmates' ideas with an open mind, actively participating in classroom discussions, and showing respect by abiding by classroom rules.






Teacher Tips

Appreciating and Valuing Diversity

Are You Really Listening?

Coaching for Success in the Classroom

Goal Setting

Developing an Interest in Science and Math

Developing Communication Skills

Developing Problem-solving Skills

Effective Discipline

Encouraging Cooperative Learning

Encouraging Creativity

Encouraging Students to Explore for Answers

Fostering Independent Thinking

Motivating Students

Overcoming the Fear of Making a Mistake

Practicing Effective Questioning


Self-Evaluation Using Video

Teaching with the Constructivist Learning Theory

Teamwork in the Classroom

There is Not Always Just One Right Answer

Understanding Different Learning Styles