Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

Humanizing the College Classroom: Collaborative Learning and Social Organization among Students

William Rau and Barbara Sherman Heyl
Teaching Sociology
Vol. 18, No. 2 (Apr., 1990), pp. 141-155
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1318484
Page Count: 15
  • Download ($14.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Humanizing the College Classroom: Collaborative Learning and Social Organization among Students
Preview not available

Abstract

We show how to use collaborative learning groups (CLGs) during scheduled class periods to facilitate students' learning. First we discuss faculty members' misgivings about CLGs. Some of these may be related to the human relations school, which led managers to believe that they could exploit workers' informal ties to increase productivity. Sociologists criticized the manipulative tendencies of this school, but critics may have turned the discipline away from the nonexploitative use of small groups and even from the study of group dynamics. As a result, most sociologists are unaware of research on how collaborative learning groups can improve students' academic performance, social skills, and ability to take the perspective of others. We present strategies and procedures for using CLGs in college classrooms. Specifically, we show 1) how to keep groups "on task," 2) how to eliminate "free riders," and 3) how to reduce the number of students who are either dominants or isolates in their groups. Next we examine test data, interaction preferences among classmates, and students' written evaluations of the group experience. We find that students do better on test material which was discussed in group sessions, that connections to classmates increase significantly, and that the great majority of students laud the use of CLGs. Because our results are provisional, we close with a problem-solving agenda that will help to answer unresolved questions about the use and effectiveness of collaborative learning.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
141
    141
  • Thumbnail: Page 
142
    142
  • Thumbnail: Page 
143
    143
  • Thumbnail: Page 
144
    144
  • Thumbnail: Page 
145
    145
  • Thumbnail: Page 
146
    146
  • Thumbnail: Page 
147
    147
  • Thumbnail: Page 
148
    148
  • Thumbnail: Page 
149
    149
  • Thumbnail: Page 
150
    150
  • Thumbnail: Page 
151
    151
  • Thumbnail: Page 
152
    152
  • Thumbnail: Page 
153
    153
  • Thumbnail: Page 
154
    154
  • Thumbnail: Page 
155
    155