Blog om undervisning i dansk og historie på gymnasiet

Cooperative Learning in History

3 min­ut­ters læsning
Inside-Outside circle
Inside-Out­side circle

I was intro­duced to Coop­er­a­tive Learn­ing struc­tures more than a year ago by a colleague/fellow. She taught a course of 4 lessons or work­shops at my school.

What can I say. I am a bit slow.

This week I tried some of Spencer Kagan’s CL-struc­tures in my classes.

The ‘Inside-Out­side Cir­cle’ seemed to work well, not least for the stu­dents who tend to hide them­selves a bit dur­ing tra­di­tion­al class­room ping-pong teacher-stu­dent sessions.

I split the stu­dents in two groups; the tallest vs. the short­est (the cri­te­ria is arbi­trary, but it is a bit of fun to line up accord­ing to height). The short­est form the inner cir­cle, the tallest form the out­er cir­cle, fac­ing a short peer. For 1–2 min­utes they do a small assign­ment in pairs , before they rotate to a new part­ner and a new assignment.

(In the video above, the stu­dents are in the school yard, but I asked the stu­dents to move tables and chairs to make room inside the class­room. Actu­al­ly, it might be bet­ter to go outside.)

In a course on the Palestinean con­flict I sim­ply put the­ses ques­tions on the class­room pro­jec­tor for the stu­dents to read. For every 1–2 min­utes and every let­ter, the out­er cir­cle rotat­ed, like in the video above.


a) Bring the best ques­tion from your group work and quiz each other.

b) ( inner cir­cle ) — Explain why the 1967 war was a ” dis­as­ter” for the Pales­tini­ans — and which ter­ri­to­ries Israel captured .

c) The tall (out­er cir­cle ) — Explain what the PLO is, and why it was cre­at­ed. What are its goals and means. The small­est : React to the expla­na­tion as an Israeli.

d) You are Jew­ish Israelis and meet  in your local super­mar­ket: The short­est: Tell the tall about PLO. Dis­cuss how Israel should deal with it.

e) The short (inner cir­cle ) — Explain why Sadat would attack Israel in 1973.

f) the tall (out­er cir­cle ) : Explain a Dane why oil prices sud­den­ly quadropled in Den­mark in 1973 (oil crisis)

g) The small­est ( inner cir­cle ) : Explain why the PLO was expelled from Jordan ?

h) In 1974 the PLO obtains observ­er sta­tus at the UN. The tall (you are palestinean): Explain why this is rea­son­able. The small­est (you are Israeli) : What are your concerns?
i). The small­est : You are an Amer­i­can jew,  who sup­port Israel. Explain why the Unit­ed States and Israel have a ” spe­cial rela­tion ‑ship .” The tallest : Ask why he/she does­n’t live in Israel?
j) The high­est : Explain what AIPAC is — and why crit­ics believe it could jeop­ar­dize U.S. inter­ests in the Mid­dle East.

k) What have you learned from a‑j? 

It is noisy and a bit chaot­ic. But also fun. The stu­dents engage dif­fer­ent­ly with each oth­er, than they would with me. They smile and laugh more. And they def­i­nite­ly speak more over­all, than they do in class­room sessions.

The cir­cle ses­sion takes about twen­ty min­utes, so my plan for this unit was:

1) Group work: Quiz and swap.

2) Cir­cle Session

3) Class­room discussion.

I will definit­ly use this struc­ture again — and try some of the oth­er struc­tures as well.

Even as an old fart, it is nev­er too late to expand your ped­a­gog­i­cal palette. 😉






Skriv et svar

Din e-mailadresse vil ikke blive publiceret. Krævede felter er markeret med *