> Jerome do you have any advice regarding how to get 7th and 8th graders to >>work cooperatively. I'd appreciate any help you could give.
Although your post was specific to Jerome, I would like to discuss a hope, a dream perhaps that I have for the future of education. Since I teach fourth grade and use learning teams extensively I have been told by the fifth grade teacher that receive my former students, that they are easier and easier to get to work effectively together.
Consequently, my hope, is that as the elementary grades become more effective at using cooperative approaches to learning, you (the collective group of secondary teachers) will see a positive change in the abilities of students to work together.
I suspect that the difficulty (in other words) comes from the fact that they have been admonished for working together, (some call it cheating) for the past seven years, and that is perhaps why they balk at it in the upper grades.
Conversely, I also suspect that as the students work in learning teams more and more in the elementary, they will 'fight' the tradition of working independently in the secondary.
I am not saying that it is impossible for secondary to initiate this change, but I do believe that if we begin in elementary you will definitely see the difference.