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Topic: Cooperative Learning
Replies: 3   Last Post: Jun 30, 1995 5:49 AM

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Posts: 11
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Cooperative Learning
Posted: Jun 30, 1995 5:49 AM
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Eileen Schoaff wrote:
<<It is hard for teachers to work with students as equals. In cooperative
learning we want students to listen to each other. And teachers must
also learn to listen to students ideas carefully so as not to squelch
ideas just because they don't align with our own thinking. Sometimes
kids have great ideas!>>

I agree with you, Eileen. Your comment reminds me of the many lessons I
have observed (and unfortunately probably taught) which could be
characterized as the "Guess what's in my head" type of lesson in which the
teacher, with the admirable desire to elicit mathematics from the students,
questions the students until one of them says what it was the teacher was
looking for to begin with. It would be easier for the teacher to say what
it was s/he was looking for than to go through this procedure of rejecting
students' responses until the "right" one came along--for this reason: If
you are asking a question, then a person's answer should be respected and
considered. Also, the teacher is not the only one who should be considering
the answers to questions. Other students in the class should be engaging in
the discussion of the validity of the various responses offered to any
question. In this way the teacher can gain valuable information about where
the students' understanding actually is and can thus formulate questions
better suited to fostering the students' growth.
If teachers modeled real listening--not a patronizing "That's interesting.
Now let's get on with it", then students would be able to imitate the
teacher's genuine interest and questioning and thinking procedures.
Moreover, the message to the students would be, "I value your thinking
ability. You are worth dialoguing with. You can teach me with your
questions and ideas and I can teach you from my experience."

Happy Fourth of July!!!!!
Lucille Peterson

Lucille L. Peterson
Math Leadership Program
Bank Street Graduate School of Education Tel: 212-875-4665
610 West 112th Street Fax: 212-875-4753
New York, NY 10025 E-mail:

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