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Jigsaw Learning

Uploaded by Rikordway on Dec 03, 2002

A Periodical Report on the Jigsaw Technique


A re-emerging technique in today’s classrooms is the jigsaw technique. The jigsaw classroom was first used in 1971 in Austin, Texas (Aronson). It was developed as a way to reduce racial tension in a newly desegregated school district. After many fights and an environment of constant hostility, a research was conducted. The main contributing factor to this hostility was determined to be the competitive environment, between the newly mixed races, in the classroom.

In an attempt to move away from the more competitive classroom and to achieve a more cooperative one, Professor Aronson conducted the first use of the jigsaw strategy. It was first introduced to fifth graders who were to learn about the life of Eleanor Roosevelt (Aronson). The children were arranged in small group that, deliberately, varied greatly in race ethnicity and gender. Each student would then be responsible for a specific part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s life. This is important because in many social groups, some students are viewed as outcasts or “losers.” In one instance during the inaugural use of the jigsaw, for example, an observer heard students calling one little boy names like “stupid” or even making fun of his ability to speak English. Instead of admonishing the group, the observer only pointed out one fact, “Talking to Carlos like that might be fun for you to do, but it is not going to help you learn anything about what Eleanor Roosevelt accomplished at the United Nations---and the exam will be given in about 15 minutes” (Aronson). In the following weeks, Carlos’s group soon realized that in order for them to perform well, they in turn needed Carlos to perform well on his assigned task and therefore took a more encouraging approach (Aronson).

Results like the example mentioned earlier are not rare. Many studies have proven the opposite. Children involved in jigsaw teaching like their classmates more (Aronson). Both white and African American students hated school less and the absenteeism rate among these students dramatically dropped (Aronson). Children involved in jigsaw also out-performed their counterparts who remained in a competitive classroom environment (Aronson).

In the increasingly diverse student bodies of todays schools, there is a need to implement techniques and curriculum that apply to a vast array of cultures. The jigsaw technique is one way of accomplishing this. The entire success or failure of a group depends on the support of the group,...

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Uploaded by:   Rikordway

Date:   12/03/2002

Category:   Miscellaneous

Length:   2 pages (522 words)

Views:   1581

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