We understand the importance of cooperative learning and the need for students to learn skills for success in the twenty-first century, such as collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and innovation. Recently some of our Grade 4 students learned about biomes, ecosystems, habitats and communities in collaborative groups. In order to help these students explore these topics in more detail, guidelines from the teacher were given and students were asked to conduct research in small groups using Chromebooks. Their first task was to learn about the five most important biomes. Afterwards they needed to prepare slides to help present their findings together. Not only did this project allow students to work in collaborative groups, but it gave each student the chance to take responsibility for his or her piece of the larger project, plan for the outcome, and complete the plan.
Experts suggest that all of the soft skills learned in groups are necessary for preparing students for the workplace in the future. “Studies of cooperative-learning strategies regularly report an increase in engagement and active participation in the learning process, which in turn increase student motivation, time on task, and improve cognitive reasoning and the ability to see from others’ perspectives” (Munro, O’Brien, Payton, 2006). Click here for more information about why it is essential to teach students to work together in groups from a young age.
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