e-article . . .
Five Levels of Cooperative Learning
Activities for Adult Learners
Adult learners can participate in Level A cooperative learning activities
even if they are not in the same place at the same time.
- A group poem that grows as new lines/stanzas are added: In the
following poem, the first line lists people who have been influential in
each adult's life; the following lines list what each of these
influential persons did. Learners in different classes or even those who
are in tutoring situations can add their influential person and what that
person did for them to the group poem.
Mrs. Hooper, Old Sam, Mom, Lill
They all made us who we are;
Making us sit still and listen,
Showing us not to be afraid of hard work
Having faith that we could be somebody,
Smiling even when times were bad;
And now duty calls to us.
- Learner-generated lessons: One learner could read a story and select
from it eight key words or short phrases that capture the essence of the
story (Denner and McGinley, 1986). This could be given to another learner
(working with a different tutor, in a different class or in the same
class). This second student would then develop a story line based on
these words and phrases. The story could be written by or dictated by
this second student. Then this student reads the actual story and
compares his version to what the author wrote. The student who designed
the lesson also has an opportunity to read the second student's story and
compare it to what the author wrote. Another student-generated lesson
could be a version of Stauffer's (1976) Directed Reading-Thinking
Activity. Have Student A read a story and select three places where it
would be good to have Student B stop and predict what would happen next.
Often time tutors and their adult learners feel isolated, especially if
the tutoring takes place away from the adult education center. Combine
student/tutor pairs for an interactive activity, like the two just
mentioned, possible even if the learners never meet face to face.
Although this activity requires organization by the tutor trainer, it
helps to establish a sense of community among learners who are basically
working in isolated environments.
- Creation of a adult learner newssheet: Rather than call it a
newspaper which may seem overpowering to teachers or learners who have
not done this before, a class may create a monthly (or even quarterly to
begin with) newssheet. Specific "columns" can be established and students
can submit their contributions.
- Creation of an adult learner anthology: Adult education students from
various classes in the program can contribute to an anthology of
writings. The anthology may have a particular student-chosen theme such
as "We Remember..." or "Our Dreams;" however, most anthologies of student
writings are inclusive of whatever the writer wants to submit. Teachers
can enhance the cooperative nature of this activity by having students
very involved in the production of the anthology and by having an
authors' night autographing party.