Cooperative learning

Gifted and General Education

The Five Essentials

Cooperative learning is structured around interdependence ; students assume roles, perform tasks and work to achieve a common goal. Face-to-Face interaction is a crucial part of the process, because students are expected to imitate the way adults work in real life; they learn to effectively communicate through discussions and share information. Students are individually accountable for their contributions to the group product but are also socially and interpersonally engaged in ways that help reinforce or develop trust in one another. Group processing is the final phase. Learners reflect on processes and outcomes; what went right, what obstacles existed and how the product or procedure might be improved next time.

The Cooperative Learning Models listed below were designed for small heterogeneous-mixed ability groups, containing different genders, races and cultures etc. While Huss (2006), reported positive achievement gains in mid and low ability learners, Karnes & Bean (2005) reported underachievement in gifted learners when placed in mixed ability groups. See Grouping Strategies

Johnson and Johnson's Model focuses on learning centers and the development of social skills. Activities are either assigned or chosen and students assume specific roles to accomplish common goals.

Slavin's Model engages content through team competition; incentives are provided to promote shared learning but learners are held responsible for mastery of the content.

Kagan's Model Focuses on diversity and individual accountability. Positive achievement gains are reported, in particular among minorities and low achieving learners. Group rewards provide incentives for group participation and teachers provide activities such as: Think and Pair Share; Round Robin and Jigsaw etc.

Online Sources

Johnson and Johnsons Cooperative Learning Model

Slavins Cooperative Learning Model

Kagans Cooperative Learning Model


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Wilgus, B. (2002, July 1). The relationship of peer collaboration on third grade student math performance.

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