Cooperative Learning: Effective Team Work! 20+ Resources

Part of the Cool Sites series

Cooperative Learning

Every Friday I am presenting free webinars thanks to American TESOL! We have an incredible time. Recently, we discussed the benefits of cooperative learning. Through cooperative learning students learn effective team work through:

  • Accountability– students realize the contribution of each individual will determine the success of the task.
  • Team building– students learn how to listen to each other, resolve conflicts, delegate tasks, set deadlines and support each other.

The teacher acts as the facilitator walking around the class and ensuring teams are supporting each other. The teams will have problems. A student from at least one of the teams will be lazy. Kids are this way, but this is a teachable moment. We get to help the students learn to resolve these conflicts. If we do not teach them they will not learn. When using cooperative learning, the teacher will think about the:

  • Team formation– It’s important that teams consist of students with different abilities, skills, and cultural backgrounds.
  • Structuring of tasks– Tasks should be designed so that one student cannot complete the task but each member’s contribution is needed.

Students will need to learn how to effectively work with others on problem solving when they enter college and the workforce. Imagine the teams you have been part of and the nightmare it has been!

Please check out the incredible thoughts shared by many educators in this Voicethread!

And here is the webinar I recently did on Cooperative Learning!

Cooperative Learning Classroom Activities

Check out these resources to integrate cooperative learning activities effectively.

Kagan Cooperative Learning-Structures for Success Part 1
Cooperative Learning Research
What Cooperative Learning Looks Like in the Classroom
What Works: Cooperation vs. Competition– Read about my experiences integrating cooperative learning into my young learners classroom
Cooperative Learning Games for Young Learners (PDF)
The different job titles and explanations along with links to Melissa Smith’s Cooperative Learning Project
Silent Card Shuffle (Video)
Several Cooperative Learning Activities on the Kagan Youtube Channel (Videos)
9 Cooperative Learning Activities
The Jigsaw Classroom

Alfie Kohn Resources

Workshops by Alfie Kohn relating to competition and rewards
No Contest: Podcast featuring an interview with Alfie Kohn
Punished by Rewards (Article) by Alfie Kohn
No Contest Excerpts of Alfie Kohn’s book

More Resources

What is Cooperative Learning? Research by the Institute for Character Education
Cooperative Learning Elements Kennesaw State University Resources
Several Cooperative Learning Resources by Cybraryman
Cooperative Learning in the Library by Cybraryman
New Teacher Chat (#NTChat) Archive: How can new teachers make cooperative learning more effective in the classroom?
The Cooperative Learning Network
Cooperative Learning Research and Education Programs


Try a cooperative learning lesson this semester!

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell is a teacher trainer, instructional designer, adjunct professor, and the author of The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers: Small Steps to Transform Your Teaching and Learning to Go: Lesson Ideas for Teaching with Mobile Devices, Cell Phones and BYOT. She has been recognized by the ELTon Awards, The New York Times, the Ministry of Education in Spain, and Microsoft’s Heroes for Education as an innovator in the movement of teacher-driven professional development and education technology. Recently, she was named Woman of the Year 2014 by Star Jone’s National Association of Professional Women and awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, the Twitter chat that spurred over 400 teacher chats. She has trained teachers and taught learners in over 25 countries and has consulted with organizations worldwide such as UNESCO Bangkok, The European Union aPLaNet Project, Cultura Iglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, and VenTESOL. She shares regularly via, Twitter (@ShellTerrell), and Her greatest joy is being the mother of Rosco the pug.


  1. Cooperative learning offers much to increase involvement in class activities—whether they be whole class or with small or large groups. If the “jobs” of each cooperative-learning team are defined (time-keeper, facilitator, recorder, reporter, summarizer, etc.), everyone can be involved and wholly engaged.

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