Nuts of Bolts of Cooperative Learning

Cooperative Learning through a Reflective Lens - George M. Jacobs

George M. Jacobs [+-]
Educational consultant, Singapore
George M. Jacobs received their PhD in Educational Psychology in 1991 from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and has taught in Singapore since 1993. Education is George’s passion, in particular such areas as humane education, student-centered learning, cooperative learning, extensive reading, and ecolinguistics. George has hundreds of publications in these areas and has served on the boards of local and international organizations, for example as vice-president of Singapore’s Kampung Senang Charity and Education Foundation.
Anita Lie [+-]
Widya Mandala Surabaya Catholic University, Indonesia
Anita Lie is a professor at Widya Mandala Surabaya Catholic University, Indonesia. She teaches at the Faculty of Teacher Training and the Graduate School. Her areas of research are teacher professional development, English education, heritage language learning. She has also been consulting projects on school improvement in remote regions of Indonesia. She was granted SEAMEO-Jasper Fellowship Award in 2000 for her research on English curriculum in Indonesia. In 2011, she was a research fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2016, she got a research grant from American Institute for Indonesian Studies (AIFIS) Luce Fellowship for her research on heritage language learning among second generation of Indonesian-Americans in California. In 2018, she got a Dedicated Scholar Award from Kompas, a leading national newspaper in Indonesia. She has published books and articles in scholarly journals as well as newspapers.
Siti Mina Tamah [+-]
Widya Mandala Surabaya Catholic University, Indonesia.
Siti Mina Tamah is a full-timer at the English Department of Widya Mandala Catholic University, Surabaya, Indonesia. She has been working in the field of education since 1988. Ever since she graduated from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands where she obtained her Doctor degree in 2011 funded by the Indonesian Government, she has been involved in teaching students at Master's Program in TEFL, Graduate School at Widya Mandala Catholic University. In 2003 she was granted a SEAMEO (RELC) Research Fellowship Award. In 2013 she was an awardee of Scheme of Academic Mobility and Exchange program held by the Indonesian Directorate General of Higher Education. This award made her a visiting scholar at Southern Cross University, Lismore, Australia for three months. Her research areas are teacher training, and teaching methodology. Her current research interests include Cooperative Learning, teacher development program, and assessment.


Some critics of cooperative learning maintain that only lazy teachers choose cooperative learning, because when students learn together in cohesive groups, the teacher can just sit back and relax; the students do all the work. Hahahaha. That only happens in our dreams! And, how do people think these imaginary students become such academic angels? How do they continue to spread their wings? Actually, in some ways, cooperative learning and other forms of student centered learning can be more complicated that teacher centered instruction. When teacher talk dominates, as long as teachers have prepared their presentations (no simple task), the lesson seems under control; the show will go on. In contrast, with cooperative learning and other student centered forms of learning, if the students just sit there as spectators in the teacher’s show, the lesson has flopped; the show cannot go on. In student centered learning, we teachers want to be “Guides on the Side,” but if students do nothing, what is there for us to guide? Thus, we need to both prepare our part of the show as well as figuring out how to facilitate environments that encourage students to actively engage with each other, with the content to be learned, discovered, and constructed, as well as with us, their dear teachers. This third chapter of the book highlights nuts and bolts matters related to cooperative learning. It raises questions for students and teachers to figure out together. Chapters 1 and 2 focused on more conceptual matters, while this chapter ponders practical issues that we deal with in our own teaching and that fellow teachers often ask cooperative learning practitioners about. No doubt, as you are reading and reflecting on this chapter during the Reflective Breaks, at other times, and while discussing with students and colleagues, more issues will arise.

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Jacobs, George ; Lie, Anita; Tamah, Siti Mina. Nuts of Bolts of Cooperative Learning. Cooperative Learning through a Reflective Lens. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Nov 2022. ISBN 9781800502260. Date accessed: 01 Dec 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.43494. Nov 2022

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