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How Do You Use Cooperative Learning in Your Classroom?

How Do Your Use Cooperative Learning in Your Classroom?

Do you know how to answer this difficult teacher interview question?  Do you know how to use cooperative learning in your classroom?  Please describe how you use it and its benefits.”

It is important that the response you give to the job interview question is truthful, relevant to the position, and shows value to the school district. The following could be a possible answer… or it may provide some ideas for you to tailor your response:

Cooperative learning is an advantageous strategy in that it involves students in established, sustained learning groups or teams. The group work is an integral part of, not an adjunct to, the achievement of the class’s learning goals.

Cooperative learning fosters individual accountability in the context of group interdependence. Students discover information and teach that material to their group and, perhaps, to the class as a whole.

The teacher’s role also changes from lecturer and knowledge-holder to facilitator and guide. Cooperative learning is so effective because it is structured, creates a classroom community, is a sustained approach, enhances students’ communication skills, encourages a growth mindset, balances interdependence with individual accountability, and responds to classroom diversity.

Using cooperative learning strategies such as think-pair-share, and the jigsaw technique encourage peer teaching and brainstorming Click To Tweet

Using cooperative learning strategies such as think-pair-share and the jigsaw technique encourages peer teaching and brainstorming and the open exchanging of ideas. In think-pair-share and other variations, you could pose an open-ended question to the whole class, which the whole class contemplates silently. Then have individuals pair up to discuss and exchange thoughts and ideas. The pairs could share their responses with their team, other pairs, or the whole class.

The jigsaw method has students form groups of five, and each member of the group is assigned some unique material to learn and then teach to their group members. Once assigned their topic, each student assigned the same sub-section work together in a group to decide what is most important and how to teach it. After practice in these “expert” groups, the students re-assemble into their original groups to teach each other.

Once the students have all taught their group members their section, you could open it up to the whole class as a discussion of each section to ensure that all students have learned and retained the correct information.

Please explain how you use cooperative learning in your classroom, giving examples, and tell us why this is a useful strategy. Please comment below on how you would answer this question in a job interview?