Let’s Have Cooperative Learning for Lessons!, pp. 8 of 11

Stage 5: Groups Make Their Presentations

During the group presentations, the audience can be actively involved by evaluating the presentations in terms of the clarity and relevance of the main findings, meaningful use of knowledge and the new connections between the sub-topics, the participation of every member in the presentation, utilisation of resources and the best aspects of the presentations. The teacher’s involvement includes coordinating presentation schedule, establishing rules for making comments, leading in the discussions of students’ comments, facilitating the summing up of discussions and pointing out the relationships between the sub-topics.

Stage 6: Teacher and Students Evaluate Their Projects

Teacher can evaluate students’ understanding of the investigation topic by posing questions such as asking for the explanation of the causes or impacts of certain phenomenon or event. Students can write an essay or be tasked to create a product that reflects their learning. The learning products for assessment could be in the form of a newspaper article and a reflection of the investigation process. Students can also be asked to self-evaluate their work based on teacher-provided assessment rubrics.

Like the Jigsaw, GI is best used in primary social studies lessons when teachers want students to be self-directed and independent learners. It is used during the lesson development and teachers need to prepare for GI lessons by assessing students’ ability to plan and work together, choosing the investigation problem, thinking through the likely questions that would arise in an investigation problem and locating resources to aid students in their investigation process.  

a. Structured Academic Controversy

The Structured Academic Controversy or SAC is also developed by David Johnson and Roger Johnson (1999b). They argue that conflict is inevitable in any cooperative effort because of the goal interdependence built into the cooperative learning task. Contrary to the common perception that conflicts impede relationship development and work progress, the Johnson brothers believe that conflicts if properly managed can bring about benefits in student learning. These benefits include achievement and retention, positive interpersonal relationships and psychological health and social competence. Research studies done by the Johnson brothers (Johnson & Johnson, 1989, 1999a) have shown that students who engage in academic controversy attain greater content mastery and ability to generalize principles learnt from a wider variety of situations. Controversy can bring about more thoughtful decision-making and solutions to complex problems where different perspectives are developed. There is greater creative insight into the issues being discussed because of the exposure to a wider range of ideas and perspectives. There is also greater exchange of expertise and individuals are more involved in the tasks and thus, feel more positive towards them. Members develop greater liking and support for one another and controversy promotes greater self-esteem and perspective taking.           

The procedures for SAC are:

Structure the Academic Task

The academic task based on the lesson objectives must be structured cooperatively with two well-documented positions (pros and cons).

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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