Instructional Strategies

Cooperative Learning

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.