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Cooperative Learning and Strategies for Inclusion


Cooperative Learning and Strategies for Inclusion

Celebrating Diversity in the Classroom, Second Edition
Volume Editor: JoAnne W. Putnam Ph.D.

ISBN: 978-1-55766-346-7
Pages: 288
Copyright: 1998
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This book supplies educators, classroom support personnel, and administrators with numerous tools for creating positive, inclusive classroom environments for students from preschool through high school.

Reviewing the basics of cooperative learning, the authors explain how to adapt curricula and implement such techniques as multilevel instruction, the Learning Strategies approach, and the use of computer technology. They also offer practical examples of various conceptual and structural strategies that improve the learning, social skills, and self-esteem of children with a range of abilities and cultural backgrounds.

New to this edition: information on conflict resolution, tips for teaching culturally diverse students, additional case studies, results of outcomes research on existing inclusion programs, and a chapter devoted to multiple intelligences.

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About the Contributors
Foreword, by Robert E. Slavin
Preface
Acknowledgments
  1. The Movement Toward Teaching and Learning in Inclusive Classrooms
    JoAnne W. Putnam


  2. The Process of Cooperative Learning
    JoAnne W. Putnam


  3. Curricular and Instructional Adaptations for Including Students with Disabilities in Cooperative Groups
    Ann Nevin


  4. Cultural Diversity and Cooperative Learning
    David W. Johnson and Roger T. Johnson


  5. Supporting Young Children's Development Through Cooperative Activities
    Loraine J. Spenciner and JoAnne W. Putnam


  6. New Cooperative Learning, Multiple Intelligences, and Inclusion
    Spencer Kagan


  7. Participatory Action Research: Supporting Social Relationships in the Cooperative Classroom
    Mary Fisher, Joseph P. Bernazzani, and Luanna H. Meyer


  8. Teaching Students to Manage Conflicts in Diverse Classrooms
    David W. Johnson and Roger T. Johnson


  9. Computers and Cooperative Learning in Diverse Classrooms
    Mary Male


  10. School Programs for Successful Inclusion of All Students
    Anita Jo Jakupcak


  11. The Inclusive School Model: A Framework and Key Strategies for Success
    Gordon L. Porter and Julie A. Stone

Excerpted from Cooperative Learning and Strategies for Inclusion: Celebrating Diversity in the Classroom, Second Edition, edited by JoAnne W. Putnam, Ph.D.

Copyright © 1998 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.




Since the 1970s, professionals who have been involved in the education of children and youth with diverse abilities have encountered rather dramatic changes in approaches to instruction and schooling. I started my career teaching in segregated residential institutions, then moved to a segregated "special" school, then on to a segregated classroom in a general school, and finally into a school where all children are served in general classrooms. Participating in the historical movement of children with disabilities from segregated education to inclusive educational settings has been professionally gratifying, to say the least. However, our work is far from done. Changes need to occur if today's diverse classrooms and schools are to be educationally challenging and nurturing environments that adequately serve the varying needs of children and youth in today's changing world.

The premise of this book is that cooperative learning is fundamental to successfully educating a diversity of learners — children with varying cognitive abilities; developmental and learning disabilities; sensory impairments; and different cultural, racial, linguistic, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Cooperative learning is one powerful method for enabling children to celebrate and benefit from the diversity that characterizes our schools, communities, and society. When properly implemented, cooperative learning benefits students in a number of ways by promoting higher academic achievement levels, imparting social skills to students, and teaching students to value and respect one another.

It is exciting to realize how the research on cooperative learning, multicultural education, and instructional methodology has advanced since the first edition of this book in 1993. Although many educators are convinced of the importance of inclusive classrooms and the benefits that can accrue to all learners, there is reason to believe that full implementation of the essential aspects of cooperative learning, such as positive interdependence and individual accountability, as well as other methods known to support inclusive education, has yet to occur.

This edition introduces a new generation of methods for teaching and learning in diverse, inclusive classrooms that recognize multiple intelligences in all learners. Cooperative structures and instructional strategies that capitalize on student strengths and abilities — as opposed to the past focus on remediating weaknesses and DISabilities — are the thrust of Chapter 6, "New Cooperative Learning, Multiple Intelligences, and Inclusion," by Kagan. A fresh way of organizing instruction in general classrooms is introduced that meets the needs of children with varying capabilities by using an approach called multilevel instruction, which is described in Chapter 11, "An Inclusive School Model: A Framework and Key Strategies for Success," by Porter and Stone. These educational leaders from New Brunswick, Canada, describe how teaming among educators, families, and special services personnel at various levels of the school organization, such as the school level or the district level, works to enhance the education of all children, including First Nations People (i.e., native Canadians), students who are gifted, students who are economically disadvantaged, and children with disabilities. Chapter 4, "Cultural Diversity and Cooperative Learning," by Johnson and Johnson addresses multicultural issues and cooperative learning and elaborates on the need to recognize and respect the unique cultural backgrounds of children in schools. Teachers are encouraged to take advantage of the special strengths and gifts children bring to their groups and instruct in ways that reflect and support diversity.

Also discussed in the new edition are learning strategies that address specific needs of students in the areas of planning, beginning, and completing a learning task. These learning strategies are discussed in Chapter 3, "Curricular and Instructional Adaptations for Including Students with Disabilities in Cooperative Groups" by Nevin. Opportunities for students to apply learning strategies in group situations should be ongoing, incorporating student self-monitoring and teacher feedback. Chapter 9, "Computers and Cooperative Learning in Diverse Classrooms," by Male underscores the importance of computers in the educational process and makes suggestions for merging computer-assisted learning with cooperative group learning. Learning takes place in a variety of situations — when students work alone; when they work with a tutor; when they work at a computer terminal; and when they work in pairs, small groups, or large groups. Cooperative learning is only one method, albeit an important one, for supporting student learning.

The social dimensions of learning have been relatively ignored by educators, as is illustrated by the way we organized classrooms in the past to prevent students from interacting at all (e.g., separating students' workspaces/desks, and materials, insisting that students not talk or share their ideas). A fresh perspective on how teachers can capitalize on the very human need to interact with others is offered in Chapter 7, "Participatory Action Research: Supporting Social Relationships in the Cooperative Classroom," by Fisher, Bernazzani, and Meyer. Admittedly, when students are given permission — or are even encouraged — to interact, it is likely that conflicts will arise. In Chapter 8, "Teaching Students to Manage Conflicts in Diverse Classrooms," by Johnson and Johnson, educators are reassured that conflict is inevitable and, as such, can be the source of many learning opportunities. This chapter discusses the prevention, management, and resolution of conflicts through cooperative learning activities.

The book has been organized to provide illustrations of cooperative learning in a wide variety of settings and grade levels. Chapter 5, "Supporting Young Children's Development Through Cooperative Activities," by Spenciner and Putnam and Chapter 10, "School Programs for Successful Inclusion of All Students," by Jakupcak have been substantially updated to provide current thought and new examples of cooperative learning at the preschool and high school levels. Our goal was to provide a strong and up-to-date theoretical and empirical foundation for cooperative learning in Chapter 1, "The Movement Toward Teaching and Learning in Inclusive Classrooms," and Chapter 2, "The Process of Cooperative Learning," which I have written, followed by chapters dealing with the "new generation" of cooperative approaches, practical suggestions, illustrative examples, and lesson plans.

If you have reflections, experiences, or suggestions that you would like to share with the authors, please contact us. Cooperative learning is timeless, and it can be assured that we will continue exploring how to improve our ways of learning and working together as long as we live.

The Inupiat people, living in the harsh and beautiful Arctic environment along the shores of the Chucki Sea, hold tight to their tradition of cooperation, referred to as Paammaaginqniq. Through Paammaaginqniq, they have managed to protect their lands, honor the traditions of the past, and provide for the future of their children and their community. Through cooperation, Inupiats have built prosperity in a land many would consider the most inhospitable on Earth. Ancient institutions, such as the umialiq (the whaling crew) signify that cooperative learning and behavior is more than a current educational trend; indeed, it is a solution that has passed the test of centuries.

Excerpted from Cooperative Learning and Strategies for Inclusion: Celebrating Diversity in the Classroom, Second Edition, edited by JoAnne W. Putnam, Ph.D.

Copyright © 1998 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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