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In the last decade there has been a growing interest among ESL/EFL teachers in using cooperative learning activities. With cooperative learning, students work together in groups whose usual size is two to four members.

There are four steps in doing Numbered Heads Together: • Each student in a group of four gets a number:1,2,3, or 4. • The Teacher or a student asks a question based on the next the class is reading. • Students in each group put their heads together to come up with an answer or answers. • The teacher calls a number number from 1 to 4. The person with that number gives and explains their group´s answer.


Even two How big should groups be? group.






Generally speaking, the smaller the group, the more each member talks and the lees chance is that someone will be left out. Larger groups are good because they provide more people for doing big tasks. Many books on cooperative learning recommend groups of four.

How should groups be formed? •

Most experts on cooperative learning suggest the teacher-selected groups work best, at least until students become proficient at collaboration. I crating teacher-assigned teams, factors to consider include language proficiency, first language, sex, race, and diligence. An effective way to set up mixed-proficiency groups is to band the learner´s names into, say four proficiency cluster from high to low and then select randomly from within each band so that groups will involve learners.

Randon grouping is quick and easy and conveys the idea that one can work with anyone. Other ways to set up random groups include using playing cards.

When students are working in their groups, how can the teacher get the class´s attention?

What can be done if the noise level becomes too high?

One student per group can be the noise monitor or quiet captain whose function is to urge the group to collaborate actively, yet quietly. The closer together students sit, the more quietly they can talk. Along with sitting close together, students can use special quiet voices, for example, 6 inch voices or 30 centimeter voices.

cooperative learning