5.9 Cooperative learning

Co-operative learning is a phrase which is widely used in school pedagogy, but less frequently in higher education circles. It refers to the benefits to students of learning in collaboration with other students. I do not propose to write about it specifically, because the essential points have been covered in the sections on group and team work, on problem and project-based learning and on active learning (qqv). However this is a good place to introduce a co-operative technique known as the jigsaw classroom (or pair-share). After teaching a particular topic, but while the class is still together, you pose a question to the whole class and give all students a few minutes to consider their own answer (e.g. from their lecture notes). Students then form pairs and present their solutions to each other. They then formulate a joint answer which combines the best features of their individual solutions. You then call on random pairs to present their agreed solution to the class. As with many active and collaborative techniques, this provides immediate feedback to all the students present. (See section below)

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