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Cooperative Learning Information

I will frequently make cooperative learning assignments that you will complete in teams with each member taking a part of a larger task or with all members reaching consensus about the same task. As a rule, when working in teams, each student is required to turn in his own paper with one selected at random for grading. Random selection assures that the team reaches consensus, another valuable group skill, and that students encourage one another to do their work. Team assignments are always minor, practice assignments.

Some benefits of the of cooperative learning are:

  • Students often learn more easily from one another and enjoy class more when working in teams,
  • Students learn and practice social skills needed in the workplace such as giving help, requesting help, giving constructive criticism, accepting negative feedback, interrupting appropriately, praising and encouraging,

I am able to give more timely feedback because I have fewer papers to grade.

One important goal in cooperative learning is to learn to work well with everybody, even people who are not your friends, so please don't be dismayed if you are not teamed with your best buddies. Even if you are unhappy with your team's composition, you will be expected to use polite behaviors and to follow cooperative learning procedures. Please arrange for a private conference with me if you are really troubled about your team.

Cooperative Learning Procedures that Make Teamwork Work
  1. At 3 flashes of the lights, move silently in or out of groups within 30 seconds.
  2. Speak softly using 15" voice and speak only to your own team members.
  3. Do not leave your seat without permission.
  4. At the signal of three taps, stop talking and look at the teacher.

Signal that your team has a question by each member raising a hand. Ask the teacher a question only if you know that no one on your team knows the answer. Please do not be dismayed if I do not recognize your team when all hands are not raised, for I must follow the rules by not responding until your team responds properly.

Polite Behaviors That Make Teamwork Work
  1. Use each other's names frequently.
  2. Listen carefully and occasionally use reflective listening to be sure you understand what your team member means.
  3. Do not use "put downs" or discouraging words.
  4. Disagree with ideas without using harsh words. Instead, use phrases like, "Could we look at it another way?", "I'm not sure I understand," and "I don't think that's right."
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