Date: Jun 25, 1995 4:03 PM
Subject: Who Uses Group/Cooperative learning?
I would like to initiate a discussion 0n the question "Why do so few
teachers, grades 9-university use interactive learning techniques i.e. groups/
INTRODUCTION AND CHEERLEADING SECTION:
I used to be a good lecturer (math and engineering), well organized, clear,
concise and even humorous. I encouraged Q & A and class discussion, through me.
Students liked the classes but would comment frequently that when they went home
they didn't really understand the material. I could see peoples eyes glaze over
in class after about 10 minutes so I moved to interactive lectures after
attending seminars to see how to do it. Asking leading questions appears to get
students involved and asking them to show their work on the board helps, but I
still heard too many complaints about minimal carry over (or out) from the
class. I have moved into interactive group learning exclusively in all my
classes while still providing direction using schedules, worksheets and test
schedules etc. I am very involved in the class in a variety of ways. Students
say they look forward to my classes the most. Can you believe it. I teach
classes everyone loves to hate.......ALGEBRA. The benefits are enormous. I get
to know my students much better and they get to know me. They have fun doing
math even when they are having trouble because they are so involved in the
process and they are not alone. They want to come to class and I hear few
complaints about post class confusion. I find it very enjoyable because I am not
boring myself with a lecture and every class is different that the last. Each
class takes on a personality based upon the current participants.
I am the only math professor using group dynamics as a learning technique.
We have 8 full time and 10 part time professors. They all acknowledge the
literature which highlights the importance of groups in learning and then go
back and lecture. They all call for implementing the NCTM (National Math
Teachers) standards which call for group work on math problems as part of the
curriculum... then NADA. I gently try to encourage people to consider groups by
inviting them to observe classes, sharing literature etc. Even when they see the
positive effects that does not seem to encourage change. I do not feel I should
push people. It is not my philosophy to pressure anyone.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION (and others you think of)
* Have other list members had similar experiences?
* What is the primary method of teaching at your institution?
* Knowing how difficult it is to get people to change (myself included) has
anyone had success in getting faculty to use group interactive learning?
* If you use group learning what makes it successful?
*Would you share details of your group approach with the list?
IT FEELS VERY LONELY OUT HERE IN COOP LEARNING LAND. I HOPE THAT I WON'T HAVE TO
USE THE REPLY FUNCTION TO CARRY ON THIS DISCUSSION.
Thanks in advance for your comments.
Ted Panitz firstname.lastname@example.org