Cooperative learning allows students to work in groups to complete an assignment or project. Each student learns differently, and instructors may use this method to foster new ways of thinking. As well, some students may find they retain information longer when they work with a team. Writing an essay using cooperative learning may seem challenging at first, but this process can help you work with fellow students to expand and combine your ideas, leading to an effective, well-written essay.
Begin your project by meeting to decide your essay topic. Your teacher may assign a topic, but if you have the opportunity to select your own, you will work together to decide the best focus of your essay. Designate one person in the group to write down a list of possible topics suggested by team members. After this brainstorming session, each team member should vote on the subject matter that would best suit the group as a whole. If your team cannot determine your essay topic, try narrowing down the options and making a list of the benefits of writing about each topic. This may help highlight the best option.
Once your group knows the essay topic, you can begin breaking down duties between team members. In cooperative learning, you should not rely on only one or two people in your group to complete the assignment. Instead, delegate tasks between all group members. Make a list of tasks that need to be accomplished. For example, you may need to research to expand your knowledge about the subject. One or more students may enjoy research, so they may volunteer for this aspect of the project. As you assign tasks to each group member, you should also designate specific due dates for everyone. This will help avoid miscommunications and may help your group meet the due date.
Each team member should play a part in the actual writing of the essay. Creating an outline will not only help guide the overall structure of your essay but will breakdown the project in a way that creates sections you can assign or volunteer to write. Help keep one another on track by having specific check in dates to ensure the progress of each group member and to make sure each has what she needs to complete her section.
After each team member completes her portion of the written essay, put the essay together in chronological order. Send a digital copy to each group member or print a copy for each person. If you have a group member with strong grammar skills, you may want to ask this person to take on the initial revision process. Otherwise, the group can go through and discuss grammar and sentence structure, while also paying close attention to the transitions between sections written by different group members. After the first revision, ask each group member to read the essay one last time, checking for grammar or other errors missed during the initial review. Each group member should agree on the accuracy and completeness of the project before turning in the essay.
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