Ya veras! Gold

Para Profesores

Cooperative Learning

Cooperative learning is an effective strategy which modern language teachers can easily implement in the classroom. Its principles dovetail in many ways with the development of language and critical thinking skills, the acknowledgment of varied student learning styles and abilities, and the use of language for the purposeful communication of messages and ideas. Cooperative learning is based on the idea that students can learn effectively from one another in small-group interactions if their work is carefully detailed and assigned with specific information about the goal, the process, the timing, and the reporting of the results of their tasks. It is important to recognize that in order for an activity to be considered true cooperative learning, it must call for an outcome, such as a group product or decision, resulting from initial individual input and then a final negotiated consensus developed by all members of the team.

The elements of cooperative learning are integral to ¡Ya verás! Gold. They are embodied in its small-group activities, particularly those activities marked with the cooperative learning icon in the margins of the Teacher's Editions, as well as the additional annotations identified with the same icon. You can easily bring these strategies to your classroom with the teaching support in ¡Ya verás! Gold.

The following principles are central to cooperative learning:

  • Positive interdependence, or the sense that students need each other in order to complete the group's tasks, is essential. Establishing mutual goals such as having the group members receive the same grade or earn the same bonus points contributes to this. Other ways include sharing the same materials—one sheet of paper, one pencil, the same props—and assigning defined roles—such as the recorder, the encourager, the reader, and the reporter or performer(s).
  • Face-to-face interaction for the purpose of completing a task fosters important, meaningful exchanges among students as they work together to achieve their goal. For example, they need to ask and answer questions, give and receive explanations, elaborate, and summarize, all of which engages them in real-world communication.
  • A group's work is not successful unless each member either learns the material or helps with and understands the task. This promotes individual accountability, but also reduced dependence on the teacher and increased linguistic independence.
  • Social skills such as negotiation, compromise, decision making, and trust needed for the effective collaboration with others both in and beyond the classroom are an integral part of the process. Such skills are introduced and reinforced in the groups' interactions, creating a positive social atmosphere in which students learn to work with others and to accept the contributions that they can make to their learning.
  • It is important to bring the group work to closure by group processing or some form of debriefing. Among the different forms this may take are the acting out of a role-play by the entire group, the performance of two group members, the reporting of one group member, and the sharing of information by individuals during a full-class reporting session.

Clearly, these elements of cooperative learning are consonant with many aspects of modern language teaching and learning. Still other benefits can derive from using cooperative learning in the classroom. Students are exposed to multiple points of view and ways of expression. They have the opportunity to manipulate language in ways that are most suitable to them. They are given a chance to raise language issues that are of interest to them and that might not surface in teacher-directed activities. By working with others in a supportive way, their anxiety level can be lowered and their confidence bolstered. In addition, you, as teachers, can circulate throughout the classroom, observing students, assisting them when necessary, and sensitizing yourself to their progress, needs, and interests.