Putting the pieces together

ImageI just saw a really excellent jigsaw task at play in a science lesson…

Jigsaw techniques see individual students become experts in a field that they then share with others to up-skill the entire class. That feeling of joy we as teachers experience when a student says “ohhh I get it” can be shared by students, too!

Today I watched a fellow teacher leading some really great learning. In this case, the students each learned about one of the 5 senses, and also a trick to share with their group. The teacher was moving between groups and offering quick guiding reminders, but mostly just enjoyed hearing the unique ways that each person was presenting their ideas. It was a really wonderful thing to experience, there were no “bells and whistles” engagement, just 30 students engaged in the learning process, most likely because they owned it. 

But what really stood out about this lesson was that it was shared by another colleague. The two (I have now been told four) teachers had got together to share not just resources (which people are usually very generous with), or assessment tasks, but rather a pedagogical development discussion where both (all) teachers could develop their ideas. Extraordinary achievement comes when professionals link to create tailor-made opportunities for students to achieve the outcomes they require. 

Seeing the technique in action (outside of my own classroom) took me back to when I was first lectured on this technique about 7 years ago. In a tertiary setting, I was taught how the technique worked by being told how it worked (complete with powerpoint slides). Today I imagined just how much more I would have got out of it by watching it in action, or even better, being a part of it in action. This is something that the teacher training models that I have experienced lacked, teaching excellent pedagogy with excellent pedagogy.

For further reading on the jigsaw technique, especially on its effect on classroom violence, check out some of the links.

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