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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What is the Cooperative Learning Model of Teaching?

When mentoring our pre-service and in-service teachers we need to describe and model both research-based and clinically tested best practices. Accordingly our mentees should know about the Cooperative Learning Model of Teaching.

The Cooperative Learning model of teaching is a general term describing various small-group interactive instructional methods. Students work together on academic tasks in small teams to help themselves, and their teammates learn together. In general, cooperative learning methods share the following five distinct characteristics:

1. Students work together on common tasks or learning activities that are best handled through group work.

2. Students face each other, and work together in small groups containing two to five members.

3. Students use cooperative, pro-social behavior to accomplish their common tasks or learning activities.

4. Students are positively interdependent. Activities are structured so that students need one another to accomplish their common tasks or learning activities. Thus, no one person does all the work.

5. Each student in the group is individually responsible for learning all the information shared by its members, and other classmates.

The Six Steps of the Cooperative Learning Model of Teaching



Teacher and/or Student Behavior


Get students ready to learn and clarify the objective/s

· Teacher gets the students ready to learn

· Teacher identifies the objective/s for the lesson


Present information

· Teacher presents information to students verbally, through a text, or media


Organize students into learning teams

· Teacher places students into learning teams


Assist team work

· Teacher monitors the work and interactions of the learning teams


Students demonstrate content mastery

· Teacher tests for mastery of knowledge, and/or students individually, or in groups present the results of their work


Provide recognition (optional)

· Teacher recognizes individual, and group effort and achievement

*Arends, R. (2001). Learning to Teach. (Fifth Edition). Boston: McGraw-Hill.

On the next post we will insert a lesson on Israel into the six-step Cooperative Learning Model of Teaching template.


  1. Online study groups have a very interesting methodology employed which makes learning fun and also a more interactive activity. These study guides were one such deal for me.

  2. I have used cooperative learning study groups with my undergraduate and graduate students both online and as an after class review activity, and my students overwhelmingly report positive results.


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