To set the scene, lower band Yr 9 Maths group (13-14 yr olds). Two teaching assistants and an exercise book task. Bring on the heavy weights…. cooperative competition.
‘Student Team Learning strategies have compiled an enviable record of research which documents positive contributions to academic achievement. In 40 studies of Student Team Learning methods, 33 studies found students in Student Team Learning classes gained more in achievement than did students in traditional classes studying the same objectives.’ (Slavin, 1988).
Two teams, students complete the maths exercise, its marked and task is followed up with a round of cooperative quiz questions. Add the two scores together and swiftly back to the next set of maths questions. I used my mobile phone to offer audio count down and signal to students when to answer questions. As the quiz developed, so the teaching assistants were each drawn into supporting each team, at the request of the students I may add. The staff proved excellent facilitators and really guided the learning experience.
Now I must admit I enjoyed the lesson. There were some very tough cookies in that class, but their response was generally very positive, I believe they enjoyed their lesson. I am not going to lie, it has been a tough re-introduction to secondary education and heres the hook…. when a teaching assistant notes that they “really enjoyed the lesson and I usual dislike cover lessons” is it far to reflect that I am beginning to make a small impact of the learning of perhaps a few students, just one lesson at a time?
Cooperative Competition / Learning, also know as Student Team Learning, involves structuring classes around small groups that work together in such a way that each group member’s success is dependent on the group’s success. As a result, on average, students engage more, learn more and are more likely to address the more complex and creative tasks. (44 Benefits of Collaborative Learning)