What ideas arise when teachers use collaborative learning with their students?

Although collaborative work has demonstrated to be an efficient learning strategy, for those who have not lived this experience yet, working in a collaborative way has caused certain mistaken concepts, such as:

 

Explanation is forbidden in the classrooms on COLLABORATIVE LEARNING.

Explanation is not forbidden in the collaborative learning groups. It is still an useful resource to present the information that is not available somewhere else, saving time to the students in the search of information, awakening their interest on the topic and teaching them to learn in an auditory way (Johnson and Johnson, 1999).

Nevertheless, the explanations in collaborative learning are modified versions of the traditional explanations. Here, short, active and collaborative activities alternate.

David and Roger Johnson, authors of Learning together and alone: cooperative, competitive and individualistic learning (Boston. Allyn and Bacon, 1999) suggest to use the following method when planning an explanation in order to keep the students intellectually interested:

  1. Group the students in pairs. Give from four to five minutes to carry out a cooperative activity that develops the knowledge about the topic presented. The purpose of this activity is to provide the beginning of a discussion.
  2. To explain the first 10 or 15 minutes.
  3. To give three or four minutes to let them discussed about the material presented. The discussion activity should answer to the question proposed by the teacher, offer a response to the theory, concepts or information exposed and relate the new material with previous learning. The pairs should respond in the following way:
  4. a) every student formulates their answer
  5. b) share their answer with their partner
  6. c) everyone hears the answer of their partner
  7. d) They form a new answer, better than the initial answers.
  8. To select two or three student randomly, so they can present a summary of their discussion in thirty seconds.
  9. To explain the following 10-15 minutes.
  10. To present another discussion activity about the second part of the explanation, for three or four minutes.
  11. To repeat this sequence explanation-discussion until the topic is concluded.
  12. To present a final discussion activity to summarize what they’ve learned on the                             topic. The students should have around four to five minutes to summarize and discuss                 the material.