What is the best team size and team composition?
Teams of four are best for Cooperative learning because of the following two main reasons based on the principles of cooperative learning:
The first of the two principles is the Simultaneous Principle. What percent of our students are overtly active at any one moment? Or, to phrase it another way, how much Simultaneous Interaction is there. If a teacher asks a question of the class and uses the whole-class question-answer structure, calling on one student to answer, one of his/her thirty students are active at that moment, articulating their thoughts. If the teacher in the same moment asks the same question of the class, but rejects the whole-class structure, instead having his/her students discuss the question in teams of four, in the same time-frame at least one of every four students is actively engaged, articulating their thoughts. It is this increased active participation in cooperative learning that is partially responsible for the greater gains shown among students in cooperative learning. It is far better to have a quarter of the class overtly active than just one student!
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