een most widely adopted by educators and which have stimulated considerableresearch. Thus, our review of cooperative learning methods will be by no meansexhaustive and some well-developed methods will be omitted. However, we believe the set of issues described in subsequent sections of this chapter isapplicable to all cooperative learning methods.
Circles of Learning (Learning Together)
When Johnson and Johnson ( 1975) developed their method of cooperativelearning, often called Learning Together, it was quite general in terms of im- plementation. A cooperative goal structure was described as one in which thereis a group goal, sharing of ideas and materials, a division of labor when appro- priate, and group rewards. In the research reports of this method, the typicaldescription was that students worked as a group to complete a single group product, shared ideas and helped each other with answers to questions, madesure all members were involved and understood group answers, and asked for help from each other before asking the teacher, and the teacher praised andrewarded the group on the basis of group performance ( Johnson and Johnson1979; Johnson, Johnson, and Skon 1979; Johnson et al. 1983).Recently, Johnson et al. (1984) have called their method Circles of Learningand have delineated the following 18 specific steps for implementation (someof which are optional):1. Clearly specify instructional objectives.2. Limit group size to no more than six. (Students new to cooperative learning should be in smaller groups to help ensure that everyone will participate.)3. Structure groups to achieve heterogeneity in terms of ability, sex, and ethnicity.(Occasionally, homogeneous groups may be used to master specific skills.)4. Arrange groups in circles to facilitate communication.5. Use instructional materials to promote interdependence among students. Severalalternatives are suggested, such as giving only one copy of the materials to a groupso that students will have to share, giving each student in the group access to onlyone part of the lesson, and structuring competition among groups so that studentswill have to depend upon each other for their group to win.6. Assign roles to ensure interdependence. Suggested roles are
to summarize the lesson and to quiz group members;
to solicit andencourage contributions from each member;
to write down group deci-sions or a group report; and
to check for collaboration among groupmembers.7. Explain the academic task.8. Structure positive goal interdependence. This can be accomplished by having thegroup produce a single product or by providing group rewards based on the indi-vidual performance of each group member.9. Structure individual accountability for learning so that all group members must-2-
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning.
ook Title: Cooperative Learning: Theory and Research. Contributors: Shlomo Sharan - editor.Publisher: Praeger. Place of Publication: Westport, CT. Publication Year: 1990. Page Number: 2.