Keeping Cooperative Learning Going After Training

Questions or discussion about Kagan theory, research, or implementing Kagan in your classroom.

Keeping Cooperative Learning Going After Training

Post by fescalon » Mon Dec 01, 2014 8:41 pm

I have noticed that many teachers do not implement cooperative learning even when it is a district wide initiative. Of course, there seem to not be consequences for lack of use. It seems that the same style of teaching continues on and on. What is a good way to get a department or small group of teachers to start using it consistently?

Jackie Minor
Posts: 273
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:58 am

Re: Keeping Cooperative Learning Going After Training

Post by Jackie Minor » Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:02 pm

Unfortunately, I hear this question a lot and to tell you the truth, it saddens me. People often leave our trainings very motivated and excited but quickly retreat to that which is familiar. In the end, everyone loses- teaching is harder and fewer students are engaged. Having been an administrator, I know how important it is for the administrator to set expectations for implementation. Administrators are key when it comes to systemic implementation. They must not only set expectations for implementation but must also provide support and follow-up like coaching, lesson planning and modeling. You asked about how to get a small group going - they key is to start small and use the structures a lot with consistency and frequency. If you are working with a small group, I would encourage you all to pick the RoundRobin variations. Review them and talk about how to use the structure(s) for teambuilding (first) and then with content. Agree to go back and practice. I would encourage you to use the reflection logs in your binders. Bring the logs back to your meeting and debrief about how it went. Take time to look at the upcoming week and plan how to continue using those variations throughout various lessons. Stick with those variations until everyone is feeling comfortable and successful and then move to adding another structure.

If you want to choose another structure to start with, that is fine. The key is to USE them repeatedly until they become part of the routine and not such an "event" . I always hear teachers say they don't have time to do the structures. This is because they are not doing the structures often enough. Once the structures becoming routine, it takes less than a minute (to do RallyRobin) and EVERY student is engaged. That does not take more time!!!!

I have found that once teachers see happier and more successful students, they will continue to add more structures to their toolbox. They just have to do it!! I'm so glad they have someone like you to lead the effort. Good luck!