For this reflection, I chose the cooperative model. It is not one that I think would work best for ALL students, but it is intriguing as a model for individualizing the curriculum. In the cooperative learning model, presented by Glatthorn, Boschee, Whitehead and Boschee (2012), students are grouped in heterogeneous student team of four to five members that work together and help each other. This model also includes an individual portion in which students work on tasks and receive instruction at their own level.
I believe this model would be successful for many students because they would be learning in small groups, from their peers in a safe and supported manner. If the teams were developed thoughtfully, with embedded team-building activities, the group could have the potential to accelerate faster than a traditional classroom model. Students who are more advanced in the curriculum would be challenged to explain and teach for understanding within in their teams. The students that were struggling would have the benefit of both a team of supported peers and an instructor.
If these practices were adopted at my school, there would be quite a few areas that would need to be changed. The first factor would be professional development for teachers in creating and fostering successful student-led teams. This is not a practice that occurs very often at my school, so teacher professional development would be a crucial first step, both in the areas of instructional practices and assessment.
The second area that would need to be looked at, especially at the high school, would be the GPA grading system, with its “every man for himself” philosophy. High performing, GPA conscious, students would either be frustrated that they would receive a “team grade” that did not represent their actual learning or would not be invested to work as a team because of the focus on individual grades. A standards-based grading system at the secondary would help to alleviate some of those issues for students.
Having been a part of highly-functioning teams (both educationally and professionally), I have seen the benefits this model. The engagement and learning much surpassed a traditional model, and the bonds within in this team extremely valuable. It would be my hope that experience could be replicated in student teams as the benefits would be great.Glatthorn, A., Boschee, F., Whitehead, B., & Boschee, B. (2012). Curriculum leadership: Strategies for development and implementation. (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.