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Topic: Cooperative Learning and the Lecture
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Karen Dee Michalowicz

Posts: 215
Registered: 12/4/04
Cooperative Learning and the Lecture
Posted: Jul 1, 1995 7:27 AM
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Dear Colleagues,
I have spent the last week teaching an in-service to teachers
in our state that are involved in our state systemic reform
program VQUEST. Therefore, I have been reading all the posts
on cooperative learning and the lecture, but too busy to write
my ideas.
As I read the postings about the lecture, all I could
think about was sermons in my church. I am fairly religious and
I always sit politely and try to concentrate during the
sermon. Invariably, after about 8-10 minutes my mind starts to
wander and I lose track of what is being said. I try very hard
to stay attentive but I have great difficulty with
concentrating on the oral word. I have a little better success
if the pastor punctuates his/her message with jokes or little
interesting stories. After the sermon I always feel so bad
because I didn't stay attentive.
My comments in the paragraph above were not to
emphasize that I go to church, but rather to indicate how hard
it is for me, an adult, to concentrate when someone is speaking
for some time. I have found that I learn much better when I
learn through the visual mode and actually experience the
knowledge. Rather than hearing my pastor's sermon, I would do
much better reading it by myself in quite. This is my learning
style. How many of us design our lectures to meet the learning
styles of our students?
In regards to cooperative groups, the students that I
teach come to me having experience in
working in groups. As a result, I have no
difficulty placing them in groups.
In fact, everyone of my math classes (all five sections) are
seated in groups, in many cases self-selected. Perhaps,
though, my
groups are collaborative groups rather than formal cooperative
groups. Of course, many of my
activities require individual hands-on activities. Yet, the
students are always sitting in groups, with a "kindred spirit",
to verify what they have done or to seek help.
If I recall, two or three years ago, the NCTM Journal
for Research in Mathematics Education, contained an article
about the many models of cooperative learning. Again, if I
remember correctly, the article said that there was no one
particular model of choice used in the mathematics ed
community. So, cooperative groups were not ruled by Slavin,
etc. How many of us are familiar with the many models of
cooperative learning? How many of us think that cooperative
learing is just placing students into groups?
I know I've said this before; it is one of my
philosophies of life. We must be eclectic in our pedagogy. There
is a time and place for all different types of instruction.
The instruction and content must be looked at in light of the
students with which we work and their special needs. A good
teacher is re-evaluating methods every moment, and if necessary
making changes everytime the need arises. A good teacher is
not only assessing his/her students continually, but also,
assessing her/his performance continually.



Karen Dee

Math History Lives!

Karen Dee Michalowicz VQUEST Math Lead Teacher/Trainer
Upper School Mathematics Chair Virginia Quality Education
The Langley School in Sciences and Technology
1411 Balls Hill Rd, McLean, VA
22012 USA
703-356-1920(w) E-Mail:
Fax: (703) 790-9712 --or--

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