Forum: Teachers Lab

Topic: How to teach these cooperative skills

Topic Posted by: Frank Fradda ([email protected] )
Organization: lion
Date Posted: Mon May 22 14:46:08 2006
Topic Description: Just as a teacher needs to teach academic skills, social skills also need to be directly addressed. The students who work in teams need “an opportunity to work together cooperatively (where teamwork skills need to be manifested), a motivation to engage in the teamwork skills (a reason to believe that such actions will be beneficial to them) , and some proficiency in using teamwork skills?(Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec, 1998). Johnson, Johnson, and Holubec (1998) described four steps used to teach students cooperative skills. Step 1. To make sure students understand the need for the teamwork skill, the teacher can: ? Ask students to develop a list of social skills needed to improve group work. From the skills they find, emphasize one or two. ? Present a case to students so they can see it is better to know the skill than not to know it. The skills should be used in the classroom; students who use them are complemented. ? Illustrate the need for the skill through a role play that provides a counter-example where the skill is obviously missing in the group. Step 2. The teacher needs to make sure the students understand what the cooperative learning skill is, how to use the skill, and when to use the skill. The teacher can: ? Define the skill as verbal and nonverbal behaviors and explain thoroughly what students have to do. This can be done with a T-Chart. After the skill is listed (e.g., give directions to the group’s work), then ask the class: “What would this skill look like (nonverbal behaviors)?? ? After the students brainstorm some ideas, the teacher asks: “What would this skill sound like (phrases)??The T-Chart has to be displayed all the time. ? Demonstrate and model the skill in front of the students and explain it step-by-step so the students have a concrete idea of what the skill sounds and looks like. ? Have the students practice the skill twice in their groups before the lesson starts. “Teacher modeling of expected social skills allows the students to see the shape and form of these skills. Showing students within your classroom what these skills look like clarifies exactly what you expect to see from them and what they can expect to see within their groups. Modeling needs not to be staged nor contrived, though the use of role-playing can allow demonstration of specific skills needed. Integrating collaborative and cooperative behaviors into daily instruction immerses students in these skills before they are asked to use them independently. (Snodgrass & Bevevino, 2000) Step 3. In teaching cooperative learning skills, set up practice situations and encourage skill mastery. The teacher guides student practice as they master the skill through repetition. ? Assign the social skill as either a specific role for certain students to accomplish or a general responsibility for all groups to achieve. Skills are introduced gradually, for instance, one new skill every week. The previously implemented skills need repetition until mastery occurs. ? Observe each group and record who uses the skill, how frequently, and how effectively. The teacher should start with a very simple observation form that has only two or three skills on it. Then, after the teacher becomes more adjusted to the observation process, the number can be increased. The use of student observers is recommended as often as possible. ? Cue the use of skills periodically during the lesson by having a group member demonstrate the skill in front of the others. ? Intervene in the cooperative groups to explain the skills and show how to use them. ? Coach students to improve the use of the skill. ? (Examples of how to practice cooperative skills, go to Monitoring and Intervening ) Step 4. Give each student feedback on his or her use of the skill. Help them reflect on how to engage in the skill more effectively in the future. Effective communication has to occur in the learning process. In cooperative learning, the observer reports to the group on the information gathered to and group members in turn report their impressions as their behavior. The observer provides positive feedback to all group members about their efforts to learn and help others learn. The whole class processing comes after small group processing. The teacher provides feedback to the class as a whole. Step 5. Make sure students practice the cooperative learning skill until it becomes automatic. There are four stages of skill development. ? Awkward (the beginning stage, awkward engaging in the skill) ? Phony (the students use the skill but they feel inauthentic) ? Mechanical (the mechanical use of the skill) ? Integrated (the skill occurs naturally, the students have reached automaticity) Sample T-charts that can be used to teach social skills in the cooperative classroom. Checking for understanding Looks Like Sounds Like Eye contact Explain that to me please Learning forward Can you show me? Interested expression Tell us how to do it Open gestures and postures How did you get to that conclusion? Give us some examples please. Contributing ideas Looks Like Sounds Like Leaning forward In my opinion? Open gestures and posture I have a suggestion? Taking turns We could? What if we ?

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