Blog Archive

Wednesday 4 December 2019

Challenging Passivity and Engaging Students

Kagan Cooperative Learning Strategies embed structured group work alongside long term learning to make classrooms more effective spaces. These structures are instructional and designed to promote collaboration and communication in the classroom, boost students confidence and retain classroom interaction. They centre around the use of PIEs Principles:

1. Positive interdependence is the most well-established principle in the study of cooperation.  When positive interdependence is in place, individuals are almost certain to cooperate.  In the absence of positive interdependence, they may or may not cooperate.

2. In the cooperative classroom, there is an “I” in team, and that “I” stands for Individual Accountability. In the cooperative classroom, students work together as a team to create and to learn, but ultimately every individual student is responsible for his or her own performance.

3. Equal Participation:  In the cooperative classroom, students participate about equally.  Participation is an integral part of the learning process.  Students learn by interacting with the content and with fellow students.  For equitable educational outcomes, we need participation to be relatively equal.

4. Simultaneous Interaction Active engagement increases student learning.  If students are off task, they are less likely to learn.  If students are only occasionally engaged, they learn less than when they are regularly engaged.  Simultaneous interaction is the most powerful tool we have for increasing active engagement.

Following Hetty's excellent INSET session, we might find it useful to remind ourselves of examples of Kagan Structures that can be applied to multiple classroom scenarios but most importantly as strategies that can be used to challenge the more passive learners we might face. There are multiple strategies but the first five are outlined below.

1. Timed Pair Share - superb for debate and discussion themed learning and ensuring all students are accountable for sharing their views.

2. Timed RoundRobin - encourages the depth of discussion that is not always possible in paired work, in a structured manner.

3. All Write RoundRobin - great for decoding subject specific vocabulary, exam questions or key themes/concepts in a supportive mixed ability environment.

4. Rally Coach - vital when embedding collaboration or supporting peer assessment into lessons.
5. Stand-N-Share - perfect for that 'hinge' point when you want all students to demonstrate their understanding whilst ensuring collaboration.

For further information regarding Kagan visit or speak to RSC if you wish to borrow the books!

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