3 Techniques to carry out cooperative learning in primary school

In the early 1990s a Johnson & Johnson study of different types of learning found that cooperative learning provided more benefits to the learner.

The other types of learning are competitive , in which students compete with each other to achieve a result, eliminating those who do not achieve it, since only the best wins, and individual learning in which the child only depends on himself to achieve the goal.

In cooperative learning during primary school, one works in a group and the objective is achieved when the whole group fulfills its mission, for which responsibilities are divided and each one has a task. If one fails the group fails.

The advantages of this type of learning are several: it helps the child who has difficulties to integrate ; encourages interaction in class ; teaches to fulfill responsibilities , to listen and to respect, reaching agreements that benefit everyone; develops social skills and nurtures self-esteem.

From my harvest I will add that it is convenient that children do not always choose their companions, and sometimes the work groups come out by lottery , only then will we really get them to meet other members of the class and work with them, making the effort to adapt that it’s what you just don’t need to do with your best friends.

According to the pedagogue Jesús García Jarque , the most used techniques to work cooperative learning in primary school are 3 and they are these:

The puzzle

It is one of the most recurrent. The class is divided into small groups and each group member is assigned a part of the work. Then apart the specialists of each task meet and expose their ideas contrasting with the others and improving the technique. At the end, the teams meet and explain all the “experts” to the others how they are going to elaborate their part. In this way, the group understands the effort that each one is going to make as a common goal.

It is a good technique to encourage group discussion and in which the channel of knowledge is not the teacher, but the classmates themselves.

Investigation Group

Here the teacher begins by proposing several works around a topic. For example, the topic is “the oceans” and the jobs could be:

  • Giants of the oceans
  • Pollution, a danger to marine life
  • The particularities of each ocean
  • Corals as an ecosystem

Then each student chooses which topic they want to participate in and the groups are formed. You have to try to have the same number of members each. The task is divided among each one assigning an objective: to collect information, select it, summarize it, organize it, expose it, etc … Based on the intervention of each one and the overall effort, the entire group is scored.  

Performance division

Groups are created trying to make the members different in terms of skills. A topic is raised that will be worked on in the team with the aim that each member understands the topic individually. Then the teacher assesses each student separately.

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