The Reciprocal Learning Strategy
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The Reciprocal Learning Strategy

Hi.This is Jennifer Gonzalez for
Cult of Pedagogy In this video I’ll show you how to use the
Reciprocal Learning strategy. They say the best way to learn something
is to teach it to someone else. In Reciprocal Learning, that’s exactly what students do. Working in pairs, students take turns coaching each other
through the material. Reciprocal Learning works best with the practice and application of material, when students have already been introduced to a topic or skill
and are ready to practice it. Because students need a basic understanding of the topic
to coach each other, this is not a good strategy for introducing new material. Tasks that work well with Reciprocal Learning are
those with one right answer, rather than the open-ended kind. What’s great about this strategy is that it’s effective with
both declarative learning — — facts and information that students recall,
like identifying the different systems of the body — and procedural learning, which develops skills,
like being able to solve a geometry proof. Here’s how it works: Start by creating Reciprocal Learning sheets for your class: a “Player A” set, and a “Player B” set. For this example, students will balance chemical equations. Player A gets a set of questions,
and Player B gets a different set. The answers to Player A’s questions are
on the bottom of Player B’s sheet, and the answers to Player B’s are at the bottom of Player A’s sheet. Next put students into pairs.
To ensure that both partners can help each other, make the partnerships as evenly matched
as possible in terms of understanding the material. Reciprocal Learning is not where
advanced students “tutor” others; both students take on the role of coach and player. In the first round, Student A is the player. She works through the problems on her sheet,
while Student B is the coach, using the hints on his sheet to help
Student A reach the answers. When Student A has problems, you help
the coach — Student B — not the player. In Round 2, the roles switch.
Student B now works through the problems on his sheet, and Student A takes on the role of coach. These tips will help you get the most out of Reciprocal Learning. The first few times you use this strategy,
have a pair of students model the process for the rest of the class. Have them demonstrate helpful and not helpful behaviors. Be sure everyone understands the importance of
not giving your partner the answer, but coaching them — giving them hints, reminding them of what
you learned in the lesson, and praising them when they finally
reach the answer themselves. Seat students side by side, rather than facing each other. A side-by-side arrangement allows coaches to
see their players’ work more clearly and this arrangement feels more helpful
than a face-to-face arrangement, which sets up a more judgmental dynamic. Add a “Cooperative Challenge” to the bottom of both worksheets. This is an extra task for both students to complete together, which they can do only if they finish the regular questions early. Also, when students are in the role of Player,
have them fold up the bottom half of their sheets. This will prevent the coach from peeking at their own answers. And when the lesson is over, to get
benefits that go beyond your content, have students reflect on how well they
performed in the roles of player and coach, and how they could improve next time. This strategy, along with several other variations,
comes from Silver, Strong, and Perini’s outstanding book, The Strategic Teacher, which contains complete descriptions of
20 research-based strategies for teaching any subject. I hope this has been helpful, and that Reciprocal Learning offers you
new ways to stretch your teaching. Thanks for watching, and have a great day.

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