I was prepared to go on a huge rant at the beginning of this reading. About how these theorists don’t have a clue, they need to come and see my classes and myself struggling on a daily basis with collaborative learning and crying “it doesn’t work..can’t we go back to the old ways?”
This reading really opened my ideas to where we are going wrong.
We do have a group goal which is exactly what makes collaborative learning not work.We are focusing on what the students have to do (a final product e.g imovie, information report etc) not on what they have to learn in the process.
We tell them to work together, sort it out, talk to each other but divide them when we grade the task according to what their personal imput was, so as not to disadvantage the stronger students being let down by the weaker ones. Individual accountability will foster when the emphasis is again on learning skills/concepts , teaching fellow group members and taking responsibility to learn for the group and not on what the final product is.
We are not rewarding them, only grading them as what would seem to be a reward in itself. There is not any reward in being compared to your other class members instead of the reward of self improvement. We are also not giving ample opportunity for reward in giving one grade at the end of the topic, it needs to be regular and allow students to see improvement and therefore motivation to collaboratively learn.
Slavin, R. (2010). Co-operative learning: what makes group-work work? (pp. 161 – 178). In The Nature of Learning: Using Research to Inspire Practice, OECD Publishing.