31 Αυγ 2010
Ανακτήθηκε από Basics of Adult Literacy Education
Everyone has, at one point or another, been involved in group or team work that did not go as well as expected. One person did a majority of the work, the team argued such that bad feelings arose, or the task was not accomplished to everyone’s satisfaction. These teams lacked effective cooperation. Cooperative learning focuses on group learning activities where students work to master the content area skills required to complete a task, as well as practice social and team skills. Cooperative learning can be implemented via structured learning activities where members are individually accountable for their part in reaching a desired team goal. Cooperative learning activities can also be less structured – peer coaching or tutoring, study partners, for example...
"Wow!!! I tried this [cooperative poetry] lesson in class today and it was fantastic!!! The students started out with 'Oh, no!' and 'I don't know how to write poetry.' The class ended with smiles and giggles. They were very proud of their final products."
“I have a co-worker who can’t speak English. I’ve been every now and then teaching him new words that I know. He brings the book in with the English words in it. It helps me, it helps him.”
Take a moment to consider the implications of cooperative learning for instruction for adult literacy learners.
On your worksheet, record your initial thoughts about cooperative learning.
Does your instruction already include cooperative learning activities? If so, how?
Note any insights or ideas you may have at this point.
Critical to effective cooperative group work are individual accountability and positive interdependence. A simple example of cooperative learning is one where student A reads a story and selects three places where it would be good to have student B stop and predict what would happen next. (Student B does the same with a different story for student A). They depend on one another to provide good stopping places to enhance their reading comprehension and prediction skills. And yet both learners are individually accountable for reading both stories, as well as writing and answering prediction questions on their own. Adult literacy instructors design and facilitate the cooperative activities. Steps should be clearly explained, and even practiced with very simple content, to be sure students understand their role in the activities. Instructors should plan time for students to evaluate group efforts and use of social and team skills. They should observe groups’ functioning during activities and provide feedback to teams, as well as instruction on these skills as necessary.
Listed below is a real-life adult education scenario. While you are reading, look for evidence of individual accountability and positive interdependence. What social or team skills do you think are being practiced? Consider the instructor’s concerns. How might he improve this activity?
Real-life Scenario – Participation in Armand’s Class:
Armand’s class had decided to study U.S. Civil War history. As an introduction to the topic, he broke them into teams of six and gave each team some markers and a large sheet of newsprint. He gave each team a “starter topic” such as slavery, combat, technology, home life, etc. and asked them to brainstorm all the questions they had relating to the topic. Teams were to create a “web” of questions on their sheets. Conversation was lively, and students wrote lots of ideas on the sheets, but Armand noticed that some students weren’t participating and in one group, one person was doing all the writing. Overall the class seemed to enjoy the activity, but Armand wanted to increase participation and perhaps make participation more balanced if possible. He is also concerned about evaluating the activity: How can he sort out each person’s contribution? Or know if everyone understood the purpose of the activity?
On your worksheet, record your thoughts on the effectiveness of this cooperative activity – did everyone need to contribute in order to meet the goal (individual accountability)? What team skills were emphasized?
Then record any ideas you have for the instructor. What might he do to increase the effectiveness of this group work?
Click the + sign in the box to the right to see ideas from other Adult Education Instructors.
* After a new or ‘big’ cooperative activity, we always stop and reflect. I have the students ask themselves “Did I have to depend on others to accomplish the goal? Did I do my part?” In teams they discuss, “What team skills did we use? What could we do better?” Teams share their ideas with the class, and we make notes to use the next time we use a cooperative activity.
* I do lots of group writing activities. I found the easiest way to know who wrote what is to hand out different colored pencils, markers or pens. Each student writes their name on the paper with their pen – then I, and the team know who contributed what to the overall product.
* If one student is bossy or tends to take over in groups, I institute the role of encourager in cooperative groups – someone whose job is to be sure everyone in the group participates. Then I ask the bossy student to take on that role. Often they are so busy making sure everyone else participates, they forget to do so themselves!
* I like to keep my groups to no more than four learners. Any larger and it is easier for someone to get left out. With a new group I tend to stick to just pairs of students until they get the hang of working together.
In reviewing these ideas, did you find any similar to your own? Did any of them strike you as particularly interesting? Did their answers provide any new insights for your instruction of adult literacy learners?
On your worksheet, make note of any tips, insights, or new ideas gained from the instructors' suggestions.
* Cooperative learning is a general term for various small group interactive learning activities. Students are asked to work together on academic tasks in groups of two to four to help themselves and their teammates learn information or accomplish a task.
* Effective cooperative activities build team and social skills necessary at home, in the workplace, and in the community.
* Adult literacy instructors assume the role of facilitator, designing the activities, providing instruction to students on how to carry out the activity, and encouraging evaluation of team functioning.
* Because adult learners are diverse and have varied needs, not everyone will want to participate in cooperative group work. Instructors should have alternative activities planned, and, in fact, may have several different types of cooperative and independent work occurring at one time in the classroom.
On your worksheet, record any final notes or thoughts, specific ideas you want to remember, plans for further study, etc.