Let’s Have Cooperative Learning for Lessons!, pp. 10 of 11

Teach Students Conflict Management Skills

Without the appropriate conflict management skills, the benefits of SAC cannot be reaped.  Hence, the skills to be taught include: focusing on obtaining the best decision possible and not on winning, being critical of others’ ideas and not the persons, listening to all the ideas from both sides before integrating them together, taking the opposing position for the purpose of understanding both sides of the issues, changing one’s perspective if evidence indicates the need for change, paraphrasing unclear points and focusing on seeking the best possible answers.

SAC is best used when the topic is contentious and there is scope for students to take opposing positions. It can be used during lesson development. Teacher resource preparation is a crucial component of the lesson design and students need to be taught the necessary interpersonal skills to handle conflicts effectively.    

Application of Cooperative Learning Models in the Primary Social Studies Classroom

In this section, some examples (see Strategy Examples 1 and 2) of how the cooperative learning models can be incorporated into primary social studies lessons are shown below.

Conclusion

There is more to cooperative learning group work than just placing students into groups. Successful cooperative learning group work which brings about academic and social learning and promotion of civic and citizenship values requires teachers to be cognizant of the critical cooperative learning elements of positive interdependence, individual accountability, face-to-face promotive interaction, social skills and group processing. Teachers also need to be cognizant of the various cooperative learning models and the conditions and contexts for their use so that they can make appropriate choices to maximize their student learning.  

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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