Roger Johnson is a founder of the Cooperative Learning Institute. His pioneering work in Cooperative Learning has spanned 5 decades. He is currently a Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota. We think it takes about 2 years to implement cooperative learning in your classroom in a way that it is effective and natural. We also think that your school or district should have a team that has been trained teach cooperative learning and has taken over that responsibility. Maine Township High School District, in Chicago, has been implementing cooperative learning and conflict resolution for more than 10 years. They started with Foundation training for all the administrators (key district office people, school principals, and department chairs from the three High Schools). For several years, they hosted Foundation training from the Cooperative Learning Center and sent key teachers to our summer Institute for further training (Advanced Coop Lng, Conflict Resolution, Assessment in the Cooperative Classroom) and Leadership training (which prepares experienced cooperative learning teachers to teach each of these trainings). They are now teaching all of the trainings in their district regularly.
They have done it all.
One of the reasons that there are trainings beyond the Foundation is to keep people growing in their use of cooperative learning. It is often said that when you think you “have made it” you are at the start of “losing it”. The most effective teachers/schools are always looking for ways to become even better. So what do you do when you have done everything to implement cooperative learning in your schools?
Maine Township decided that a next step would be to get data on how well their students were doing with cooperative learning by organizing a number of Action Research studies. For three years they have trained groups of teachers who wanted to participate, training them in Action Research methods and selecting good questions to study in their classrooms. They have found a new appreciation for the “mountain” of studies that have already been done, and learned that having your own data is influential for continuing to implement cooperative learning even more effectively. As good as they are in implementing cooperative learning, they know they can be even better. What will be their next step?
I would recommend that you visit Maine Township High Schools. You should contact Barbara Dill-Varga (firstname.lastname@example.org).