Peter Hodne is the Principal of Highlands Elmentary School in Edina, Minnesota. He is a regular guest each summer at the Cooperative Learning Summer Institute. Cooperative learning has been a major part of Highlands for over 20 years. During that time we have used cooperative learning with staff, students and parents. We have seen the tremendous impact that working in cooperative teams can bring to our school.
We initially used cooperative learning because it was so effective in helping our students learn and because having a social goal in a lesson provided a way to help students develop important social skills. We knew that increased learning and the ability to work with others were important for the future of our students.
Now cooperative learning has taken on an even greater role in education, because it provides a method to teach important 21st century skills. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has identified critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration and creativity as key skills for the 21st century.
Cooperative learning helps students develop all of these skills. The academic controversy model is the best way I have found to teach critical thinking skills. When students work in cooperative groups they have many more opportunities to learn how to communicate with others and to practice their communication skills. Collaboration is a natural fit with cooperative learning. Much of the creative work done today is done in teams and cooperative learning provides students with a set of skills and experiences that help them successfully work in groups.
Cooperative learning will continue to help us provide students with the skills they will need to thrive now and in the future.
Peter can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org