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Subject:

Why did you chose CL?

From:

ted panitz <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Thu, 26 Jun 1997 16:06:16 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (291 lines)

Hi Listers,
    It has suddenly become very hot on Cape Cod so I may presume
Summer has arrived. We usually do not get a Spring here. It is
cold one day then hot as the blazes the next and boom were are
into Summer. I am taking refuge in my computer room where at
least I get a cross breeze for some relief.

    I received the following message from Peter on the
cooperative learning (CL) list  [log in to unmask] I though it would
stimulate an interesting discussion for the beginning of the
summer on additional lists for anyone who has used CL. I have
included my response plus a few others which I hope will be of
interest to you.  Please respond to the list to see if we can
generate some interesting stories. I will compile them and
resend them out later.

   Please note I have a new e-mail address:
[log in to unmask]

Regards,
Ted
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++
From:     [log in to unmask]

I would like to ask all of you:

        WHEN and WHY did you become interested in CL
        WHEN and WHY did you start using CL  ?

Very briefly, here is my own experience:

In 1980 I came back from a well deserved sabbatical. I again
stood
in front of my students to lecture. I was well prepared, I was
dynamic. Yet, after a few weeks I began to notice, realize that
the majority of my students really did not understand my lecture
but did not speak up even if encouraged.

I tested students as to comprehension : 50 percent failed.

I decided at that moment that I was part of play, a charade
a "let's all pretend we learn" masquerade.

I was not willing to do that for the next fifteen years.

In 1980 we had a very small library, not internet. So I began to
experiment and developed most of the methods now known
under CL. Today my students enjoy my "lectures" and the
content.

BY the way, I teach first and second year economics in a
small ( 6000 students ) four year college in a small ( 75,000 )
town in Southern British Columbia, Canada.

So, I started in 1980 because I became firmly convinced
that the conventional lecture method was a lousy method.
There had to be a better way and I was going to find it.

I did find it. I am leaning more towards TQM, total quality
management than just CL. but I am using a lot of group work
inside and outside my classes.

Most of colleagues don't care about teaching process. Among
about 600 full and part time faculty, about a handful use
CL except for the Nurses who emphasize group work in their
program.

Why do I want to know why and when you started to become
interested in CL ?  I have a sense that in our combined
experiences lies a seed that when planted will encourage
other faculty to join us.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
++++++++++++++++
From:    ted panitz <[log in to unmask]>

Hi Listers,
    This is a great topic. Thanks to Peter for initiating it.
My area of
teaching is engineering and mathematics. As you can imagine the
standard approach to these subjects is the lecture method. Most
profesors see these areas as information intensive and view
teaching
as the presentation of this information. My initial inclination
was to  do the same.  When I first taught I tried to liven up
the classes by using an
interavtive form of lecture with lots of questions and
discussion with
students, plus having students put their work on the board for
additional
analysis and discussion. This appeared to work reasonably well.
The only problem was that I was the center of the class and
students became very dependent upon me to lead them through
discussions. This dependency showed up on the rare occasion that
I missed a class. The students would not stay around to work
together but simply left, missing out on an educational
opportunity.

    What changed my approach was my entry into the Doctoral
program at Boston University in the department of Community
College and Adult Education. They based their approach on
humanistic psychology principles which put the student at the
center of the process. Professors Stan Grabowski and Bob Gower
used these principles and modelled cooperative lessons. This was
back in 1982. It changed my approach to teaching dramatically.

     I started off slowly by adopting a few techniques or
activities
into each of my classes each semester. Those which worked I
kept and those I couldn't modify I dropped. I believe it is this
aspect of learning CL which is the most difficult and
threatening to
teachers. The idea of trial and error with modification often
prevents
teachers from starting to use CL techniques. The fear of failure
is
very strong. There is always a certain amount of risk involved
when you and your students try something new.

   The secret I believe is to start slowly by introducing one or
two new things a semester to avoid your own trauma. I have built
up a large body of materials I use in my classes and now use CL
techniques virtually 100% of the in all my classes. I still have
discussions and give my explanations for procedures, rules and
approaches to problem solving but they are always introduced
after the students have wrestled with a problem area and they
are always brief and very specific. Thus I do not consider my
presentations lectures. Even when I present something I still
try to use an interactive lecture format drawing out students to
help me solve problems.

   The second secret to CL is to observe others using it. I
attend
seminars and seek out sessions on CL. I also present seminars,
again using CL extensively, and thus obtain suggestions from
session participants. Modelling CL is extremely helpful and
provides me
with activities that have been tried by other teachers. Most of
them work in my classes also, but not always, so we are agin
back
to a trial and error approach.

     CL is a lifelong process which makes it interesting and
exciting for me. I can't imagine, looking back now, using the
lecture for the 25 years I have been teaching without
introducing anything new into my process. The repitition would
be incredibly boring. SORRY, I couldn't resist that one.The use
of CL is a continuous learning process for me as well as my
students.

    I would conclude by saying that the proof lies in my
students' reactions which are extremely positive about algebra
study which is laden with anxiety and fear. Most comment how the
time flies in class and how much FUN they have. This comes from
the social nature of the class and the relaxed yet serious
atmosphere generated when high expectations are established.

   I look forward to hearing about other people's experiences.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++
From:   Denis Lander Ph.D.    Educational Psychology
Department of School and Early Childhood Education
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology   Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
[log in to unmask]
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thanks for sharing your experience.  That's what cooperative
learning is
all about. As it happens, my experience is a lot like yours. As
a
psychologist, I had been very interested in learning processes.
But it was
not until I joined a faculty of Education that I gave much
thought to the
learning of my students. After a well-earned sabbatical I
returned to give
enthusiastic lecturers on the latest developments only to find
the students
monumentally bored. About the same time, some colleagues and I
began
looking for better ways to structure our courses. We started
reading every
thing from Dewey onwards. There were a lot of heady ideas that
were new to
me and we had a lot of fun sharing them. I remember reading
about a
lecturer in the UK watching a group of PT students show up for a
lecture on
a cold wet night - only to find it had been cancelled. After
grumbling a
bit, they all turned around and went home - as though they
couldn't learn
without the lecturer. That got me thinking about how I learned
when I was
an undergraduate. The most important learning I did was in the
cafeteria
talking to other students. Anyhow, we began working up a way of
structuring
our learning situations, activity based, allowing choice of
content and
including coop group investigations. A team of us worked through
the
details and implemented it in a first-year ed psych unit. It was
more
successful than I could ever have anticipated in getting
students involved
in their learning and in shifting them towards a deep rather
than a surface
approach. It totally changed my approach to teaching. In the
decade since,
I've learned a bit about the ins and outs of structuring
learning
situations, but still believe the really powerful strategy
involves leading
students to take control of their own learning.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
++++++++++++++
From:   Jim and Pat Harris <[log in to unmask]>

My awareness of CL started in 1993 with a workshop I took on
Inclusion of
Special Ed. students in the regular ed. classroom.  Those who
presented the
material in the workshop seemed to just be learning CL
themselves and
although the workshop it'self was not about CL I tried some of
the
techniques when I returned to the classroom.  I must admit that
without
training my efforts were pretty poor.  This past Spring our
school had two
workshops on CL by Mickey McGuire from the Univeristy of
Missouri.  She is a
disciple of Kagan.  Dr. McGuire's presentations were very "hands
on" and
helpful and I look forward to doing more with Cooperative
Learning.

I am a band director at a small high school in the Southeast
corner of
Kansas.  If there are others who have performing groups and are
using CL I
would appreciate learning of the specifics of your program and
how you are
including Cooperative Learning. -Jim Harris
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
++++++++++
From:    George Jacobs <[log in to unmask]>

I became a teacher in the early 1980s. The communicative
approach to second
language teaching was dominant at that time - and still is -
having replaced
teacher-centred approaches that focus on drilling and repetition
or on
explanation of grammar and vocabulary. The idea in the
communicative
approach is that, as the key role of language is for
communication, students
should focus primarily on using their new language rather than
on language
usage.

I was also a big believer in students being active, based on
more own
boredom as a student with sitting passively taking notes. Thus,
from my
first year of teaching I was big on groups. But it wasn't until
about 1985
that I found out about cooperative learning. I was having
difficulties with
group activities. For example, groups didn't get along or some
group members
wouldn't help others. I found some articles on cooperative
learning by David
and Roger Johnson. Since then I've been using CL and learning
more about it.
Although group activities still have rough spots, I feel I've
got a better
understanding of group processes and more resources to use to
overcome
difficulties. I've still got a lot to learn and I still enjoy
learning about
and using CL.

George M Jacobs   SEAMEO Regional Language Centre   30 Orange
Grove Road
SINGAPORE 258352    Tel: 65-737-9044, ext. 608   Fax:
65-734-2753
Email: [log in to unmask]
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++++

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