Co-operative learning in the CLIL classroom Reduced anxiety, increased thinking Union gives strength. AESOP
What is the most effective method of teaching? Methods which focus on the student, the teacher or the content? Or a method in which students are teaching other students? Generally speaking, the correct answer lies in the right combination of all methods, but in CLIL classrooms special stress should be put on co-operative teaching and learning.
How the co-operative class works
“What shall I as a teacher do then?” you might ask. First of all, co-operative tasks are only one part of CLIL methodology. When you use co-operative learning you remain involved in the class, but take a step back. Never leave students alone whilst doing a co-operative task. You are your students’ guide: go round the class, monitor, encourage, help if necessary, and ensure that everything is going smoothly. If you leave students to themselves, any co-operative task will inevitably break down and create discipline problems.
Co-operative learning means letting students learn from each other when doing exercises, dealing with new vocabulary and content, testing each other or solving problems. Encouraging students to share with one another empowers them and takes some of the pressure off the teacher.
could you help me, mrs. martínez? while i was sitting doing my paperwork, something went wrong with their co-operative task!!
➜ Students love co-operative tasks
Your learners love talking in class, don’t they? Well, let them do it in a productive way! Sitting alone doing an exercise is often no fun at all, but it can be really enjoyable when doing it with your friends.
We encourage others to partici
What do you think? good idea? Do you think this is a correct/ ? else ng ethi Can we think of som ...? ng You wanted to say somethi
• We can only learn to speak by speaking! Co-operative learning gives your students the opportunity to really use English in a real context.
ng? Would you like to add somethi ... hing anyt say 't didn Juan, you
• The best way to have a good or correct idea is to have many ideas! By trying to solve problems together, students develop their ‘thinking’ skills too.
We praise and thank others for their help
• It is much easier to talk to classmates than to the teacher! Co-operative learning builds self-confidence. In a small group, rather than in front of the entire class, even shy students will feel more motivated to talk.
I like your idea! This is brillant/exce llent/marvellous/ wonderful! This is exactly what we need! Thanks for that ide a! We are a great team!
➜ The language of co-operation
Before introducing co-operative tasks into your classroom, make sure you foster co-operative skills and teach your learners some specific interaction vocabulary. You can do this by: • demonstrating co-operation by your own example. • miming and role-playing appropriate and inappropriate behaviour with the students. • displaying a list of common co-operative expressions in the classroom.
We make su
t if we ...?
? How about ... ould ... sh e w k I thin to... ould be good Perhaps it w
erstanding We check und lp he and ask for tion.
es I have a qu Excuse me, nd. re I understa su t no t I'm I’m sorry, bu ? se n, plea ain that agai Can you expl . at e catch th I didn't quit
We agree enthusias You are right.
Absolutely! Exactly! Correct! I totally/completely agree with you. That's exactly what I think. This is what we nee d!
We interrupt or disagree politely Can I just add something? Just a second ... Are you sure this is correct? Yes, but don't you think that ...?
Co-operative learning in the CLIL classroom
➜ Non-verbal collaboration
Don’t forget that non-verbal clues, such as gestures, eye-contact and body movements play an important part in communication. Raise your students’ awareness of this aspect of communication as well. Ask them to think of all possible physical ways to show their state of mind or attitude. Tell them to mime the actions. This is an excellent way to teach them some new words in English, too!
Ask students to prepare a presentation on a topic they choose and bring photos or images related to it. Don’t let them present it in front of the entire class. First each member gives a presentation within the group and the group expresses their opinion. If you want it to be more anonymous tell your students to fill in a mini-questionnaire. The best presentation of each group is then presented in front of the class. In this way the students who have already received recognition from their classmates will feel more confident when presenting to the class.
_ I don't know, Shrug your shoulders I don't care. _ I'm surprised. Raise your eyebrows side _ I listen Nod your head to one actively. ng l times _ I am listeni Nod your head severa or I agree.
_ I am listening. Direct eye contact listening. Giggling _ I am not tely agree. _ olu Gimme five I abs ing. _ want to say someth Open your mouth I Yawning _ I’am bored.
My evaluation 1. I liked the presentation because it was: a) fun b) very interesting c) both fun and interesting 2. I didn’t like the presentation because it: a) wasn’t very interesting b) was a bit difficult
Co-operative techniques in practice Anything can be done co-operatively, from Maths problems to Science projects. Here are some practical ideas to promote ‘student teaches student’ learning. ➜ Jigsaw reading and explaining
Divide the topic or text you want to introduce into 4 or 5 parts. Give each group member one part of the text. Tell students to read their part and then explain it to others. Together, they put the text in the most logical sequence and present it to you.
c) was a bit boring and a bit difficult 3. I could understand: a) everything b) almost everything c) not very much d) nothing 4. What I liked the most in this presentation was: 5. If I were the teacher, I would give my classmate: (from 1 to 10)
➜ Famous inventors
We learn ...
Interviews are a great way to add diversity and fun to contents which children may perceive as difficult or boring. For example, if you are teaching photosynthesis, tell your students to imagine they are famous scientists who have just invented a ‘Photosynthesis Robot’. Tell them to make or draw a ‘model’ of their invention. The group captains come to the front and are interviewed by the rest of the class (the journalists). At the end, the class votes for the best model.
10% of what we read. 20% of what we hear. 30% of what we see. 50% of what we see and hear. 70% of what is discussed. 80% of what we personally experience. 95% of what we teach to someone else.
➜ Animal talk
On another occasion ask them to imagine they suddenly turned into an animal. Assign a different animal to every group and tell them to think about what life is like for that animal. Tell them to develop a role-play between that animal and the journalists. Organize the press conference in front of the class. An example of an interview could be:
Worm: My life is so
K-W-L charts and brainstorming are one of the best ways to practice co-operative learning. Read more about it on the following pages.
difficult! t because you live in
Journalist: Oh, is tha
e living in the soil.
Worm: No, no, no. I lov Journalist: So, what Worm: People don't
It's so cool and dark
is the problem?
Journalist: Why are
e me. People are cra
ful, but they don't lik
Worm: Yes. I'm so use
plants and Worm: I take care of
Classroom management tips
d, you know? (Cont.
soil. I work very har