Engaging Students through Cooperative Learning

Founded in more than 25 years of research, this course will engage students in various forms of cooperative learning including STAD (Student-Teams Achievement-Divisions) which continues to empower students to work together to improve their understanding of mathematics concepts through a collaborative learning approach.


Course at a Glance

About the Course

Some of the most powerful and widely applicable research-proven instructional practices are those of cooperative learning, which are highly effective in engaging and motivating students. When implemented correctly, such practices have been proven to increase students’ achievement in a wide range of content areas at all grade levels. Cooperative learning models will be explored to understand the variables that differentiate group work from true cooperative learning, including individual accountability and group rewards. The effectiveness of student teams to support learning through peer motivation, peer assessment and reteaching will be examined in depth.

Course Objectives

  • Define the concept of cooperative learning and how it relates to today’s learner.
  • Describe how cooperative learning works when there is individual accountability, equal opportunities for success and team recognition built into a task.
  • Describe the four theoretical perspectives of cooperative learning.
  • Consider the impact of cooperative learning on 21st century skills and meeting the cognitive demands of the Common Core State Standards.

Course Syllabus

Week 1: Learn about various models of cooperative learning and their relevance in today’s classroom. Understand how they can help meet the needs of all students when three central concepts are present (individual accountability, equal opportunities for success, and team recognition).

Week 2: Explore the four theoretical perspectives of cooperative on the achievement effects of cooperative learning: motivationalist, social cohesion, cognitive-developmental, and cognitive elaboration, as identified by Dr. Robert Slavin at the Johns Hopkins University.

Week 3: Identify the potential impact of cooperative learning on meeting the needs of the 21st century learning and how it can help students meet the cognitive demands of the Common Core State Standards. 

Recommended Background

Participants should have an understanding of group work and how it can have a positive effect of students’ interactions and academic achievement.

Suggested Readings

Dr. Robert Slavin’s book, Educational Psychology: Theory and Practice (10th Edition)

Course Format

This course provides a brief introduction to cooperative learning and how it can be used effectively in the classroom to create a student-centered classroom. Participants will leave with real strategies that can be utilized in their classroom to engage, empower and motivate students as they strive for their personal best. 


Who should take this course?
This course is intended for teachers and administrators who are looking for ways to incorporate 21st century skills in their current teaching practices, as well as practical classroom applications that can enable students to not only care about their individual learning, but also that of their classmates.

Who will teach the course? 

Paul D. Miller, a project manager at the Success for All Foundation (SFAF), is currently managing two Investing in Innovation (i3) grants: one in middle school math and the other in early childhood. He was the primary developer of PowerTeaching, a professional-development series promoting research-proven instructional practices in mathematics that is currently being used at various schools throughout the U.S. and U.K. He is also a consultant to both the University of York’s Tech Team Maths program and a for a research study that examined the effectiveness of utilizing a cooperative-learning approach with learner response devices for formative assessment in Years 7 and 8 mathematics. Most recently, he served as a developer of professional-learning resources at SFAF working in conjunction with the Johns Hopkins University to establish a new graduate certificate program in cooperative learning. Prior to his work at SFAF, he was a middle/elementary school teacher and a math curriculum coordinator for grades pre-K through 6 in Baltimore, MD. He earned his master’s degree in instructional systems development from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), where he also taught classes in developing evidence-based teaching portfolios within their SUPERSTEM program.