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Topic: Who Uses Group/Cooperative learning?
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Lou Talman

Posts: 876
Registered: 12/3/04
Who Uses Group/Cooperative learning?
Posted: Jun 26, 1995 1:04 PM
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Begin forwarded message:

Date: Mon, 26 Jun 1995 07:59:09 -0700 (MST)
Subject: Re: Who Uses Group/Cooperative learning?
In-Reply-To: <>

On Sun, 25 Jun 1995 wrote:

> I would like to initiate a discussion 0n the question "Why do so few

> teachers, grades 9-university use interactive learning techniques i.e.

> cooperative/team learning?"


I have wondered about this issue in a broader sense for a number of

years. The underlying question seems to be "Why do so few teachers,

especially university level, fail to base instruction on current

knowledge of learning theory and effective teaching methods?"

<Snip, snip>

So, take the average professor who was never really taught how to teach

and believes that the adults he is "teaching" know how to learn and only

need information from him----will the articles on group/cooperative

learning even make sense?

I don't know. Just some thoughts. Comments?........

Rosemary Beck
Technology Coordinator/Resource Math Teacher
Holaway Elementary School
Tucson AZ
-------------------End Forwarded Message------------------------

I am one of those "average profesor[s] who was never really taught how to
teach". There are several reasons why we have behaved as you describe.
In the first place, we are those for whom lecture worked, and worked well.
It was very natural for us to presume that it would work for everyone else
as it did for us. And, of course, the natural corollary was that those
for whom lecture didn't seem to be working were the ones who were at
fault--after all, lecture works!!!

You must also realize that not all of us are still young; we entered the
profession when little was known about how people learn mathematics (I
maintain that this is still true, but in those days of yore, *very* little
was known!), and therefore we could not have been taught how to teach in
the sense that contemporary teacher candidates can be. Many of us regard
ourselves as mathematicians first and teachers second, so there is bound
to be a lag between discovery in education and our assimilation
thereof--the size of the lag in each individual case being inversely
proportional to the importance the mathematician accords teaching duties.
The lag will still be non-zero even for mathematicians who take their
teaching very seriously, for mathematicians will still be more interested
in mathematics in its own right--and it is right that there should be such

Finally, I believe that we are seeing what Thomas Kuhn, in "The Structure
of Scientific Revolution", called a paradigm shift in the art of teaching.
And as Kuhn pointed out, when a paradigm shifts, the old practices
generally die out only as the old practitioners die out. Most of them are
unable or unwilling to make the shift.

--Lou Talman
Metropolitan State College of Denver

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