It is not always easy to teach students to work together, but it can be much easier if you follow simple steps, and if you are consistent. Students of all ages need to learn how to work in a group, or even in partners, for a variety of reasons. Group work should put a student in dual roles, as both a teacher and a student. When students are asked to teach a concept or apply newly learned knowledge, it is further cemented in their memory and becomes more accessible to them later when they need the concept or knowledge. There are many good reasons to encourage students to work together, so it is important to learn how to teach students to work together.
The two most important words when it comes to students working together are structure and consistency. If students are left to their own devises, they will end up talking, joking, and playing around instead of working. In worst case scenarios, students might turn on each other, because children can be thoughtless and cruel. But if students know exactly what they are supposed to do and what is expected from them, they will be more focused while working in groups or partnerships. You should give each student a list of clear questions, concerns, or areas of focus, with pointed and unambiguous instructions. If you have an hour to work with, then the sheet you give them should be able to fill the entire amount of time.
You should also be consistent. Your instructions should always follow the same format or template. And if students do not work together, the results should be fair and equal to everybody.
Working in Teams
A cooperative learning program gives students an education that involves more than just rote memorization.
Cooperative learning in culturally diverse classrooms
Cooperative learning is one of the best ways to teach students practical applications of new knowledge.