Cooperative Learning in Context
An Educational Innovation in Everyday Classrooms
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Explains why powerful educational innovations like "cooperative learning" do not always reach their full potential in everyday classrooms.
Cooperative Learning in Context examines the real-world implications of cooperative learning techniques used in a culturally diverse, suburban elementary school fourth grade mathematics class and sixth grade social studies class. Evelyn Jacob takes an anthropologist's eye to document not just the successes, but also the failures and missed opportunities exhibited by the participating teachers and students. Six interwoven contextual aspects that affect teaching and learning are explored: task structure, psychological and technical tools, interpersonal interactions and social relationships, individual and social meanings, local cultures and institutions, and larger cultures and institutions. In exploring the implications of the study, Jacob discusses how an understanding of contextual features can enable educators to improve the processes and outcomes of cooperative learning and other powerful educational innovations.
Evelyn Jacob is Professor of Education at George Mason University. She is coeditor with Cathie Jordan of Minority Education: Anthropological Perspectives.
"Jacob shows the importance of context for understanding educational innovations, such as cooperative learning, which show impressive results mostly or entirely in experimental situations. As Jacob convincingly argues, context is a vital dimension of educational innovations put into practice; yet, this crucial point is easily overshadowed or overlooked in the frenzy that so often accompanies reports of experimental success. " — Margaret Eisenhart, University of Colorado at Boulder