Kagan Cooperative Learning
'In the last half century many forces have converged to create the abandoned generation — students who are not receiving life skills training outside of school, who, to a frightening extent, are rearing themselves, struggling on their own to formulate values and learn life skills.
Children of the abandoned generation have turned to television and video games in an attempt to fill the socialisation void, to formulate their values. Children today spend 1180 minutes a week watching television; they spend 38 minutes a week in meaningful conversation with a parent.
At the same time supply of positive life skills is down, demand is increasing dramatically. The work world has changed so that social skills are at a premium. Over seventy percent of jobs today involve membership in a team, and the number is increasing. Increased technology in the workplace is associated with interdependence — no one person working alone can design a computer. Teams cooperate with other teams. In today's world teamwork skills are employability skills.'
Spencer Kagan (2003), Addressing the Life Skills Crisis
At St Jude's we have introduced Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures, a set of teaching and learning techniques pioneered by renowned psychologist Dr. Spencer Kagan in America.
These structures involve pupils being divided into small groups and working collaboratively towards a common goal. The structures eliminate the typical classroom scenario of ‘hogs and logs’, whereby few children (the hogs) typically answer all of the questions, allowing the rest of the class (the logs) to be passive. Kagan Structures ensure all children are active participants in learning and that everyone is held accountable. They also enable the children to develop their inter-personal skills through active listening, collaboration and presenting. They are effective because every pupil shares in the successes of the group, having all played their part in the set task.
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