ERIC Number: ED437115
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-Jul
Cooperative Learning in the Community College Biology Classroom.
Morgan, Doris C.
This paper criticizes traditional methods of science teaching for decreasing student interest in studying science. It describes cooperative learning and its usefulness in teaching biology so that the study of science becomes a social experience. The paper presents two methods used in biology lecture classes: the Introductory (Icebreaker) Workshop and the Small-Group Discussion. An example of each activity is presented in this paper. Students find that working in groups of three to five is less intimidating than raising their hands to ask questions or participating in class discussions. In small groups, students can all participate and the teacher is then free to circulate among the groups as a "guide at the side" rather than a "sage on the stage." Students lower their defenses and are thus more open to real communication and learning. The paper also explores the topics of computer-assisted cooperative learning and field trips. The paper argues that small-group cooperative learning is particularly important in the community college because of the diversity of the students, because students are commuters and do not have the time to get together on a regular basis out of class, and because it maximizes learning through a time-proven and well-researched activity. It gives students an increased chance of achieving course goals. (Contains 13 references.) (VWC)
Descriptors: Biology, Cognitive Development, Cognitive Style, College Science, Community Colleges, Cooperative Learning, Group Activities, Group Discussion, Learning Strategies, Science Education, Student Attitudes, Student Participation, Student Reaction, Teaching Methods, Thinking Skills, Two Year Colleges
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Issues of Education at Community Colleges: Essays by Fellows in the Mid-Career Fellowship Program at Princeton University, 1998-1999; see JC 000 068.