Cooperative Learning Techniques
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Cooperative learning techniques encompass a range of methods, each focusing on the acquisition of a specific skill. All, however, share an emphasis on learning to work together, and gaining skill through utilizing others as resources. Since societal and career success both depend on the ability to work with others, cooperative learning techniques reinforces such group skills as collaboration, giving and receiving feedback, compromising, brainstorming, complex problem-solving, and incorporating multiple viewpoints.
Multiple writing and discussion methods exist to encourage cooperative learning, like pair-shares and interviews, as well as team essays and peer editing. Practicing language use in both verbal and written form not only reinforces these skills in and of themselves, but employing their use in group settings.
Problem-solving is also an important skill that is well addressed in pairs or in a group. Using graphic organizers of other visual representations can help break down complex problems into simpler concepts, easier for learning the concepts themselves or using the smaller pieces to address larger issues.
Reciprocal teaching is an excellent way to reinforce the learning of the teacher while expanding the understanding of the taught. It can take place one at a time, or with both (or all) participants contributing as they go along. Whatever the technique employed, learning is generally enhanced through cooperation.