Collaborative Learning

Four Collaborative Learning Strategies

    
  
 

THINK-PAIR-SHARE: (1) The instructor poses a question, preferable one demanding analysis, evaluation, or synthesis, and gives students about a minute to think through an appropriate response. This "think-time" can be spent writing, also. (2) Students then turn to a partner and share their responses. (3) During the third step, student responses can be shared within a four-person learning team, within a larger group, or with an entire class during a follow-up discussion. The caliber of discussion is enhanced by this technique, and all students have an opportunity to learn by reflection and by verbalization.

THREE-STEP INTERVIEW: Common as an ice-breaker or a team-building exercise, this structure can also be used also to share information such as hypotheses or reactions to a film or article. (1) Students form dyads; one student interviews the other. (2) Students switch roles. (3) The dyad links with a second dyad. This four-member learning team then discusses the information or insights gleaned from the initial paired interviews.

SIMPLE JIGSAW: The faculty member divides an assignment or topic into four parts with all students from each LEARNING TEAM volunteering to become "experts" on one of the parts. EXPERT TEAMS then work together to master their fourth of the material and also to discover the best way to help others learn it. All experts then reassemble in their home LEARNING TEAMS where they teach the other group members.

NUMBERED HEADS TOGETHER: Members of learning teams, usually composed of four individuals, count off: 1, 2, 3, or 4. The instructor poses a question, usually factual in nature, but requiring some higher order thinking skills. Students discuss the question, making certain that every group member knows the agreed upon answer. The instructor calls a specific number and the team members originally designated that number during the count off respond as group spokespersons. Because no one knows which number the teacher will call, all team members have a vested interest in understanding the appropriate response.
Again, students benefit from the verbalization, and the peer coaching helps both the high and the low achievers. Class time is usually better spent because less time is wasted on inappropriate responses and because all students become actively involved with the material




 
 
 Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org
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