Cooperative Learning in the Foreign Language Classroom

Cooperative Learning is all about communication so it has an obvious  and useful place in a second language classroom.  In this context the teacher gives students  opportunities to  produce the language through speaking and writing in response to language that they are hearing and reading. Opportunities to engage with the language are an integral part of language acquisition and acquisition of communicative competence.  As foreign language teachers structure these cooperative learning opportunities for their students, these principles should be observed (based on Kagan Structures):

  •  Simultaneous Interaction: The optimal form is pair work, which is very frequently included as a stage in the various structures. Simultaneous interaction can easily increase the student’s speaking time.
  • Equal Participation: All students should contribute equally, with no one being forgotten or opting out.
  •  Positive Interdependence: The structures are built up in such a way that the students in a group need each other’s output if they are to solve the task they have been given.
  • Individual Accountability:  Each Student has an important role in the interactional pattern.  Individual accountability is one of the most important motivating factors in cooperative learning. Individual accountability is also implemented when students are being individually assessed.
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2 responses to “Cooperative Learning in the Foreign Language Classroom

  1. Thank you for posting! I’ve been looking for examples of specific activities and/or lesson plans as examples of cooperative learning used in a world language class. I’m especially interested in the types of tasks assigned to each role and how they were held accountable for each student in their group. Can you direct me? Thanks again!

  2. I’m happy to hear that you found this useful. You can find addition details here: http://www.kaganonline.com

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