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Kagan (Co-Operative Learning)

Co-operative Learning at Curledge Street Academy One of our three key learning values is collaboration.
We believe in teaching the children at Curledge Street Academy the value of being able to collaborate with others and to use it as a means to improving learning.
We actively teach our pupils how to collaborate effectively and equip them with the skills needed to learn through collaboration.
One of the ways in which we teach collaborative skills is through the use of Kagan Co-operative Learning structures.  Co-operative learning is a successful teaching strategy and the structures are used throughout  the school and across the curriculum.
The children are taught to work in a variety of ways in mixed ability teams of four or as pairs.  The teams change regularly to allow children to mix and build relationships with all of their classmates across the year.  Each member of the team takes responsibility for their own learning and is actively involved in supporting the learning of others.
Why use Kagan Co-operative Learning?
We believe there are many benefits to using these co-operative learning structures and there is much evidence and research to support this.  In schools where pupils have been taught through co-operative learning teams it has been found that:
• Achievement is raised
• Gaps between the most able and least able is closed
• Social skills improve
• Communication skills develop more quickly
• Motivation and participation in learning is increased
• Self-esteem of all learners is raised
• Learning behaviour improves
What are Co-operative Learning Structures?
The structures are easy to learn repeatable steps that can be used across the curriculum for teaching any subject or content.  They help to develop thinking skills, recall, communication, information sharing, problem solving, team building and class building.
Some examples of structures we use are as follows:
Rally Robin – in pairs a question with multiple responses is posed.  After ‘think time’ pairs take turns to say an answer or solution.  This is usually for a set time.
Round Robin – similar to Rally Robin but in a team of four, the teacher indicates who should start.  One person might be asked to record responses or all four might be asked to collect answers. Sometimes a pupil might be asked for a specified time – this is called a Timed Round Robin.
Stand-up, Hand-up, Pair-up – the teacher asks a question and gives ‘think time’ then says ‘Stand up, Hand up, Pair up.’  Pupils keep one hand in the air and find the closest partner to meet hands with.  Partners talk using Round Robin and then move on to find another partner.
Think-Pair-Share – A question is posed and the pupils have ‘think time.’  They respond in their pair and then team up with another pair to pool their ideas and responses within the team.
Quiz – Quiz Trade – The teacher prepares a set of question cards for the class or each pupil prepares a card. Pupils ‘stand up, hand up pair up’, partner A quizzes B, Partner B answers, Partner A praises or coaches and partners switch roles, they trade cards and move on.
Numbered Heads Together – Team mates put their ‘heads together’ to reach a consensus. Teams are given numbers 1- 4 , a question is asked of the group, groups works together to come up with an answer they can all express/explain.  The teacher calls one of the numbers within the team to feedback.
Rally Coach – partners take turns, one solving the problem while the other coaches – watches, listens, checks, coaches if necessary and praises.
Staff at school have been gradually introducing structures in the classroom so that the pupils become familiar with how they work.  Many children have actively said how much they enjoy working in their teams of 4.
“Problems are easier to solve if we all put our ideas together,” Year 5 pupil.
“Explaining your thinking to someone else helps you get it right in your own head,” Year 5 pupil.
“Using Rally Robin is good because your partner may have thought of something you didn’t,” Year 4 pupil.
“The groups aren’t about friendship, they are about learning,” Year 4 pupil.
“You get to know the people in your team better and we praise our partners.” Y4
“I like using Rally Robin because you can talk to each other first before writing and you can pinch ideas from each other,”  Year 3 pupil.
“We use structures for team building activities too.”  Year 3 pupil.
Staff have seen the benefits of working with the Kagan structures.  Here are just some of the gains they have experienced with the introduction of this way of working:
• More active engagement and increase in participation
• High quality language used through discussion with other pupils
• Increase in pupils confidence and a rise in self esteem
• Positive relationships in class – pupils willing to work with each other
• Raised expectation for achievement
• Speaking and listening opportunities increased
• Increase in accountability and personal responsibility for learning
• Help and support for each other – lots of positive praise and feedback amongst peers