Cooperative learning structures

How we structure the interaction among students impacts dramatically on achievement and acquisition of social skills. Simply telling students to ‘Turn and Talk’ increases the achievement gap; having students do a ‘Timed Pair Share’ equalizes participation and reduces the gap. Spencer Kagan explains

To a remarkable extent, the situations we are in determine our behavior. Applying this principle, we can structure the interaction among students in ways that improve a range of educational outcomes. How we structure student interaction determines how much they will achieve, the size of the achievement gap, how much they will like school and learning, and how often they engage in positive versus disruptive behaviors.

What we know
● Situations impact on behavior, for good or bad.
● Different instructional strategies create different situations.
● Traditional classroom situations (calling on those students who raise their hands; having students work alone on worksheets) increase the achievement gap.
● Kagan Structures are alternative situations that increase equality of and amount of student engagement, improving achievement as well as social skills and behaviors.

This article is available to subscribers only. If you are an existing subscriber, please login. New subscribers may register below.

Existing Users Log In


December 2015