Mary Gunter is the author of “Instructions-A Model Approach” which presents the Cooperative Learning Model: Improving Achievement using Small Groups. The sub-classes of this model include: Jigsaw, Role-Playing, Team Interview, Graffiti and Think-Pair-Share. This type of teaching technique captures the habitual daydreamer of the classroom, slow readers and class clowns. It draws them into the learning process. Subject areas requiring students to read and comprehend are excellent lessons to use with this model of learning.
Each sub-class incorporates cooperative learning. Cooperative learning benefits the students through positive interdependence, individual accountability, heterogeneity, shared leadership, shared responsibility and social skills. Teachers evaluate the student progress within a cooperative learning environment through observation and intervenes within the groups so they process information effectively.
The Jigsaw Model of cooperative learning provides a student with the help of peers to correctly complete a lesson. A good use for the Jigsaw Model is within reading groups. Each group is responsible for reading a story and gathering the pertinent information as asked by the teacher. This model will help those students who have a difficult time comprehend and retain the meaning of the written word.
The Role-Playing Model provides an outlet for students to become physically and actively involved in the learning process. Limitations are set by the teacher for the amount of movement allowable during role-playing exercises. Small groups of students role-play a reading activity by preparing a small skit. This helps the students to see what is going on within the story to help achieve better comprehension of the written word.
The Team Interview Model is used when several characters are present within a given reading assignment. Small groups of students are established. Each student within the group is assigned a specific character from the reading. The groups interview one another to find out pertinent information concerning their reading. This type of activity requires each student to have read their assignment and to comprehend the activities and meaning of the characters.
The Graffiti Model is writing the answers down to a teacher’s questions. Small groups are established and given large sheets of paper and markers. The teacher asks questions and the group of students collectively answer the question by writing them on the large sheets of paper. This model works well with older students but can be disastrous for the lower elementary grades.
The Think, Pair, Share Model groups students together in pairs. The teacher asks questions to the entire class. The pair of students discuss the answer to the question. A short time is given for the groups to discuss the question. The teacher then asks each group their answer. This helps students who do not comprehend their reading to discuss their answer with someone else prior to answering the question.
Gunter’s learning models work in all subject areas using just slight modifications for the subject matter. Group learning enhances the quality of the classroom and opens the door for other instructional models.