Cooperative learning is an effective instructional strategy. Students who regularly participate in cooperative group activities tend to have higher academic test scores, higher self-esteem, stronger social skills, and greater content knowledge.
Teachers can use the following teaching strategies to ensure that tasks completed in small groups result in learning for all group members.
- Make sure the learning outcome is clear and that each individual group member understands.
- Present instructions clearly before the group effort begins.
- Make the instructions easily accessible to groups after they have begun working.
- Divide the students into heterogeneous groups.
- Remember that cooperative tasks do not need to be competitive tasks.
- Make sure there is an equal opportunity for each group to complete the task successfully.
- Structure tasks so that students must rely on one another.
- Provide easy access to resource materials.
- Allow sufficient time to complete the cooperative task.
- Hold each student accountable for individual learning.
- Provide time during and after the task for student reflection on the new knowledge and skills attained during the cooperative group activity.