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Cooperative learning (CL) can be defined as "concepts and techniques for helping students learn together." This page provides information about work related to CL done by me and by others. You can view or download entire copies of some of this work by clicking on the blue links below.

Combining Cooperative Learning with Reading Aloud by Teachers

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This article begins with a section that describes cooperative learning and explains eight cooperative learning principles. The second section discusses the interface between cooperative learning and language pedagogy. Next is a section about the why and how of reading aloud by teachers. The heart of the article resides in the last and longest section which describes techniques for integrating cooperative learning with reading aloud by teachers. These techniques include ones that can be used before, while and after the teacher has read aloud to the class.

Jacobs, G. M., & Hannah, D. (forthcoming). Combining cooperative learning and reading aloud by teachers.

Cooperative Learning and Dictogloss

This online article describes dictogloss, an integrated skills technique for language learning in which students work together to create a reconstructed version of a text read to them by their teacher. The article begins for explaining the basic dictogloss technique, contrasting it with traditional dictation, and citing research related to the use of dictogloss in second language instruction. Next, dictogloss is situated in relation to eight current, overlapping trends in second language teaching. Then, in the key section of the article, a description is provided of how the literature on cooperative learning enables teachers to better understand how dictogloss works and to use dictogloss more effectively. Included in this section is a rationale for using dictogloss with global issues content. Finally, eight variations on the basic dictogloss procedure are presented.

Jacobs, G. M., & Small, J. (2003, April). Combining dictogloss and cooperative learning to promote language learning. The Reading Matrix, 3(1), Available at

The Use of Competition & Cooperation in Teaching

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This is a short commentary about the relative roles of competition and cooperation in teaching.

Helgesen, M., & Jacobs, G. (2003). A response to last issue’s IMHO on competition vs. cooperation. The English Teachers in Japan Journal, 3(3), 23-24.

Extensive Reading and CL

This online article presents a rationale and practical suggestions for adding the element of cooperation among second language learners to the solitary task of silent reading. When extensive reading (ER) is supplemented with cooperative learning (CL), peers may be able enhance ER by: modeling enthusiasm for reading, acting as resources for finding existing reading materials, creating more reading materials, facilitating comprehension, and serving as an interactive audience for sharing about what has been read. A variety of CL techniques are presented with examples of how they can be combined with ER. Photos show a class of upper primary school students in Singapore using some of the CL techniques.

Jacobs, G. M., & Gallo, P. (2002, February). Reading alone together: Enhancing extensive reading via student-student cooperation in second-language instruction. Reading Online, 5(6). Available at:

2003 Book Chapter

Copyright restrictions don't permit me to post this chapter, but I can send a soft copy if you email me at

Jacobs, G. M., & Loh, W. I. (2003). Using cooperative learning in large classes. In M. Cherian & R. Mau (Eds.), Large classes (pp. 142-157). Singapore: McGraw-Hill.

 2002 Book Chapter

Copyright restrictions don't permit me to post this chapter, but I can send a soft copy if you email me at

Jacobs, G. M., & Hall, S. (2002). Implementing cooperative learning. In J. C. Richards & W. A. Renandya (Eds.), Methodology in language teaching: An anthology of current practice (pp. 52-58). New York: Cambridge University Press.

                                  CL and Computers

The Dynamics of Digital Groups: Cooperative Learning in IT-based Language Instruction   [View]   [Download]

This article, written with Christopher S. Ward and Patrick B. Gallo, appeared in Teaching of English Language and Literature (TELL), 13(2), 5-8. This is a journal published by the Singapore Ministry of Education. The article suggests ideas for combining cooperative learning and computer-based language teaching.

Using Cooperative Learning to Integrate Thinking Skills in a Content-Based English Lesson in the Computer Lab

This article presents a lesson plan used in used in a secondary school English class in Singapore. The content of the lesson dealt with endangered species. Thinking skills were integrated into this lesson, which took place in a computer lab. The rationale for the various pedagogic choices is explained.

Tan, G., Gallo, P. B., Jacobs, G. M. & Lee, C. K.-E. (1999). Using cooperative learning to integrate thinking and information technology in a content-based writing lesson. The Internet TESL Journal, 5(8).

The Evolution of Group Activities in ELT Coursebooks

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This article reports a 1997 study conducted with David Crookall and Rosy Thiyagarajali that compares ESL (English as a Second/Foreign Language) coursebooks published from 1993-1996 with those published from 1950-1967 as to the presence of group activities and the type of group activities, communicative or non-communicative. We found significantly more of both group activities and communicative group activities in the more recent coursebooks.


The Teacher's Sourcebook for Cooperative Learning: Practical techniques, basic principles, and frequently asked questions

The title says it all. This book attempts to combine key concepts with practical means of achieving them.

Jacobs, G. M., Power, M. A., Loh, W. I. (2002). The teacher's sourcebook for cooperative learning: Practical techniques, basic principles, and frequently asked questions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Learning Cooperative Learning Via Cooperative Learning: A Sourcebook of Lesson Plans for Teacher Education

This book, which I co-authored, provides cooperative learning lesson plans and readings for educating pre-service and in-service teachers. The unique feature of this book is that in each of the 19 lessons, teachers learn about cooperative learning by taking part in cooperative activities. Cooperative learning is the instructional strategy and the curriculum are one. Topics covered include: CL techniques, components of CL, theory on CL, pros and cons of CL, teaching collaborative skills, CL and assessment, cooperation among teachers, constructing lessons using CL. You can order from Kagan Cooperative Learning.

                          CL FAQs

Four Questions And 53 Answers About Using Cooperative Learning

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From a seminar conducted at the 1995 TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) Convention.

Six Questions And 58 Answers About Using Cooperative Learning

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From a seminar conducted at the 1996 TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) Convention. It was published in 1997 in ThaiTESOL Bulletin, 10(1), 16-25. The authors are Gilbert, G., Goldstein, S., Jacobs, G.M., & Olsen, J.W-B. For information about ThaiTESOL, write c/o Dept of Foreign Languages, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Rama VI Road, Rajdhevi, Bangkok 10400 or or

Cooperative Learning And Second Language Teaching: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)   [View]   [Download]

Since the late 1980s, ES/FL teachers interested in Cooperative Learning (CL) have come together to share ideas at the annual convention of the International TESOL organization. The 1997 convention was no exception. The first four authors hosted a Breakfast Seminar at which about 45 other teachers joined us to begin our day with good food, strong coffee, and good discussion about frequently asked questions (FAQs) in using CL with our second language students. The article provides a list of the questions we discussed and the responses we received. Before and after the convention, we showed our list of questions to others and added their responses. The fifth author added her own views as well as helping to compile those of others. We included everyone's responses, even when one response seemed to contradict a previous one.

Jacobs, G.M., Gilbert, C.C., Lopriore, L. Goldstein, S., & Thiragarajali, R. (1997). Cooperative learning and second language teaching: FAQs. Perspectives/TESOL-Italy, 23(2), 55-60.

An Investigation of the Structure of Group Activities in ELT Coursebooks  

Jacobs, G. M., & Ball, J. (1996). Copyright laws do not permit me to put this article on my site, but if you write to me, I can send you a soft copy. ELT Journal, 50, 99-107. The URL of ELT Journal is:


                               Book Reviews

Cross-age Tutoring

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A review of Samway, Katharine Davies, Whang, Gail, Pippitt, M. (1995). Buddy reading: Cross-age tutoring in a multicultural school. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, pp. 145.

Elements of Cooperative Learning Techniques

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A review of Kagan, Miguel & Kagan, Spencer. 1992. Advanced cooperative learning: Playing with elements. San Juan Capistrano, CA: Kagan Cooperative Learning.

Multiple Intelligences and Cooperative Learning

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This is a review of two books on multiple intelligences: Multiple Intelligences In The Classroom by Thomas Armstrong; Multiple Intelligences: Evaluating The Theory; Validating The Vision by Spencer Kagan. The review appeared in RELC Journal, 28(2), 165-171.

Nurture Assumption    [View]   [Download]

A review of the book: Harris, J. R. (1998). The nurture assumption: Why children turn out the way they do. New York: The Free Press. The book argues that peers play a more important role in children’s development than do the children’s parents.

The Practical Theorist: The Life and Work of Kurt Lewin

A review of a biography of a scholar whose work in the first half of the 20th century had a profound effect on cooperative learning and other areas of education and psychology.

Because We Can Change the World: A Practical Guide to Building Cooperative, Inclusive Classroom Communities

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A review of a book with a vision of classrooms from preschool to middle school in which students develop courage, in which all students are included and valued, where everyone feels free to be themselves and share who they are with others, with cooperation valued as part of the what and how of learning, and where teachers and students feel physically and emotionally safe. The book is full of activities, songs, games, and children’s literature for achieving this vision.


George M Jacobs
Tel: 65-9389-8360 (mobile)