Cooperative Learning and Gifted Students: Report on Five Case Studies.Report as inadecuate

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This study examined cooperative learning (CL) programs that were successfully meeting the needs of gifted students and identified factors critical to this success. Of 19 programs nominated as models of cooperative learning, 5 sites were selected and visited: Wilton Public Schools, Connecticut; Glenville Elementary School, Connecticut; Mary Taylor Middle School and Camden-Rockport High School, Maine; Pinehurst Middle School, North Carolina; and Harford Heights Elementary School, Maryland. Factors found to be critical or very important at all five sites were leadership from teachers, staff development from both cooperative learning experts and in-house experts, enthusiasm from teachers and students, and the use of cooperative learning in classes where top students were grouped by ability/performance. Several strategies had been specifically developed to meet the needs of gifted students, including, among others: differentiating tasks by complexity, using open-ended or creative tasks, incorporating independent work, and allowing for self-pacing. In settings where CL was used with students grouped by ability, gifted students seemed to thrive. In heterogeneous settings, gifted students identified several concerns, such as having to fill the teacher role, doing all the work, receiving lower grades, doing easy stuff, and feeling uncomfortable if they appeared too smart. In spite of these concerns, students voiced strong support for CL. A cooperative learning checklist is appended. (Contains 15 references.) (JDD)

Descriptors: Ability Grouping, Case Studies, Cooperative Learning, Educational Methods, Elementary Secondary Education, Gifted, Group Experience, Grouping (Instructional Purposes), Heterogeneous Grouping, Instructional Effectiveness, Student Attitudes, Student Needs, Teaching Models

Author: Coleman, Mary Ruth; And Others


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