Cooperative Learning

Cooperative learning refers to a set of techniques designed very specifically to make students work together in small groups. These techniques are research-proven to increase cognition, improve social skills, and prepare students for the world of work.

To do a cooperative learning (CL) technique, teachers must incorporate the principles of interdependence, accountability, group formation and size, social development, and cognitive development into its organizational structure. This is what sets CL apart from standard group work. A closer look at the Jigsaw technique shows how these principles come together to create a more effective learning experience for students. 

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  1. Choose a topic and break it up into 5-6 smaller sections.

  2. Divide students into 5-6 heterogenous groups, called jigsaw groups.

  3. Appoint one student from each group a leader.

  4. Provide every student with one section of the topic to study. Allow students enough time to read through the material.


    1. Place students from each group who studied the same section into expert groups where they must discuss the section at length, thereby becoming “experts” on it.

    2. Return students to their original jigsaw groups.

    3. Each student teaches their section to the other group members. Group leaders direct and monitor.

    4. Assess student knowledge of the material.

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