What is cooperative learning? (Kagan)
Cooperative Learning is an extremely successful teaching strategy in which small teams of students (usually teams of four) work together towards a learning objective. They may be working with partners or the whole class. Each member of a team is responsible not only for learning what is taught but also for helping teammates learn, thus creating an atmosphere of achievement and cooperation. Students work through the task until all group members successfully understand and complete it.
Why use Kagan cooperative learning?
Delivering our lessons using a Kagan Cooperative structure is a way of easily increasing the amount of time your child spends ‘on task’. Along with this comes all the benefits of facilitating the learning of a class where pupils are all actively and simultaneously engaged in learning. Structures minimise the opportunity for pupils to become distracted, by giving them the skills to work with others and to learn independently of the ‘teacher’.
Structures teach pupils social skills; interaction with other pupils, turn taking, listening to the views of others and sharing information.
One of our favourite structures is to use a rally robin where a pair of pupils list answers or facts or ideas in turn, such as times tables or things they know about Ancient Greece.
We frequently use talking partners. We give children time to consider a question, then they are asked to explain their answer to their shoulder partner. They must then listen to their partner's ideas too. The class then feedback to the teacher.
Using cooperative learning is just one of the ways that we teach here at Brereton. We use many other structures and systems but we find that Kagan structures really help our children to develop their speaking and listening skills as well as learning valuable skills for life.