Providing Recognition and Encouraging Cooperative Learning (Module 2)

Despite the fact that my history of teaching is quite limited, I have already gained much insight into understanding how to recognize my students achievement in an art classroom. It has been my observation that the kind of feedback I give my students needs to be well thought out and I need to explain my expectations well before the project begins.

Chapter 2 of Classroom Instruction that Works is based entirely off of reinforcing effort and providing recognition. It is my experience and belief that in order to get effort from your students, you need to do several things. First, I think that it is important to explain clearly to your students what is expected of them daily. For example, if we are working on an art project that day, I will ask my students to be at a certain point in the process by a specific date. In addition to making expectations clear, it is also important to attract them to an assignment. When students feel excited or interested in a learning activity or project, it has been my observation that they will put in more time and effort into the creation. The best way to get students motivated is by asking them what they want to do within certain boundaries for a project. For example, on a final project I created in a ceramics classroom, I allowed students to pick from 3 different options or create a project they wanted to with my permission. Unlike previous assignments, these students were highly motivated, classroom distractions were down, and quality of work was up. “Students’ increased sense of competence and control contributes to a positive learning environment and their motivation to learn” (Dean, 2012).

In regards to Chapter 3, Dean discusses the idea of cooperative learning. I have always been very against group projects. My memory of being forced to work with my peers usually consisted of myself picking up the slack for everyone else in the group. However, after reading this chapter on cooperative learning, I realized that my teachers had the right idea but they had not prepared us to work in situations like what they were expecting. Dean suggests three things for excellent classroom cooperative learning tasks, “1) include elements of both positive interdependence and individual accountability, 2) keep group size small, and 3) use cooperative learning consistently and systematically” (Dean, 2012). I realized that as an educator, it is my responsibility to prepare my students for the work place. One thing that I can do is I can have them practice working in a “job” like situation. In the work place, groups of people will often need to collaborate together to accomplish a project or task, by having students practice in an environment that welcomes failures and practice they will eventually succeed and become proficient team members.

Dean, C. (2012). Classroom instruction that works research-based strategies for increasing student achievement (Revised/Expanded ed.). Alexandria, Va.: ASCD.


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