Using cooperative learning in college geology classes
A. Bykerk-Kauffman 1995 Journal of Geological Education v. 43, p. 309-316
Abstract: Cooperative-learning activities can create a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere in the classroom and help students learn better by giving them a chance to verbalize their thinking and actively construct knowledge. Cooperative learnings is particularly suitable for students whose learning styles are not compatible with standard didactic teaching methods. Specific cooperative learning activities that have worked well in my classes are group compilation of notes, group testing, group lab activities, and group projects. The jigsaw structure works well in upper-division cvlasses but not so well in large-enrollment introductory-level courses for non-science majors. A number of obstacles can make the implementaion of cooperative learning difficult, especially with large classes taught in fixed-seat, auditorium-style lecture halls: absenteeism, student perceptions that they are being treated like children, the immaturity of some students, the rarity of cooperative learning at the college level, and negative experiences students have had with group work. Despite these obstacles, cooperative learning can be a very effective teaching tool, especially when faculty solicit input from students and explain their reasons for using such nontraditional teaching methods.