Collaborative learning strategies can improve the learning of subject matter in content area classrooms, but they are only one aspect among many that influence how much learning will take place in a class period. The Directed Reading-Thinking Activity (DR-TA) is an effective teaching/learning strategy to use with content area material. Much of the effectiveness of the DR-TA has to do with teachers getting students to predict what is coming up next. The amount of learning and attention will increase in the classroom when the teacher deliberately gets students to communicate with other students (in groups of four or five) to make meaning and then has each group share that meaning with the rest of the class. A jigsaw strategy can also be used to enhance the understanding of subject matter in various content areas. A modified jigsaw strategy has been used in the Kansas City, Missouri, School District's Comprehension and Cognitive Development Program which enables students to make meaning using three or four different pieces of text which deal with the same subject matter. Combining the use of cooperative learning groups with strategies such as the DR-TA can facilitate the learning of narrative material, and using a strategy such as the modified jigsaw can enhance the learning of non-narrative or expository material. (MG)
Paper presented at the Annual Plains Regional Conference of the International Reading Association (18th, Wichita, KS, October 17-20, 1990).
Collaborative Learning; Directed Reading Thinking Activities; Jigsaw Method; Kansas City Public Schools MO