How do you learn best? When you’re thinking through a problem, do you approach it with research and introspection or do you talk it through with someone? Many of us do a combination of both. Yet in our adult lives, our group learning opportunities can feel limited. We may not often have the chance to find opportunities for intentional conversations with others working towards reflection and growth.
Researchers have identified 3 broad categories for learning: individual learning, competitive learning, and cooperative group learning. You may have opportunity for research-based and hands-on individual learning and probably inadvertently experience the second category–after all, we live in a competitive world. And when much of education focuses on test scores and other competitive criteria, it’s hard to avoid that type of learning. But cooperative learning, which can feel so nourishing, often seems rare.
Professor Elliot Aronson’s jigsaw model, a cooperative learning technique that has been used in thousands of classrooms, shows the great effectiveness of group learning. The jigsaw model reminds us that, “Just as in a jigsaw puzzle, each piece — each student’s part — is essential for the completion and full understanding of the final product.” It’s a nice visual for reminding even adults how our strengths complement one another.
And Aronson’s model for cooperative learning worked well–even in tough circumstances like permeating the discord of racial integration in the Texas school where he pioneered the strategy a half-century ago. It worked so well that one of the students in that pilot classroom, known as Carlos, credits Aronson with saving his life (read the boy’s letter, Kleenex in hand). And the concept of cooperative learning can still achieve remarkable results today.
While group learning can hold tremendous learning opportunities for children, cooperative projects can be even more valuable for adults because adults bring life experience to the group context. Blending backgrounds and perspectives into a collective knowledge base results in a richness and complexity from which everyone in the group can benefit. Wouldn’t it be lovely to be able to enjoy accumulated group wisdom, rather than feeling like you have to figure everything out on your own?
Because I feel the need for thinking and discussing with others, and because I know so many of my readers do too, I’m excited to launch a new group learning opportunity. Called Pushing Past the Pages, it’s a group coaching opportunity with a book club feel. The group provides a place for you to dive into big concepts that affect both your well-being and that of the people around you (including children, students, and coachees) in a format that’s convenient for your schedule.
And the best part is . . .
. . . you won’t be adventuring alone. You’ll be learning with me and a small group of thinkers and doers, being together in community to learn and practice skills that build ready minds. Together, we’ll push ‘past the pages’ of engaging and informative books and create intentional conversations to support ongoing growth and development. There will be weekly discussions (online or in-person depending on your location) over a period of time that offer opportunities to reflect on and learn about different topics, ideas and approaches. Additional resources to help us mobilize what we’re learning will also be included!
Check out our list of upcoming Pushing Past the Pages groups, on topics such as resilience, stress and anxiety, and coaching with compassion. I would love to have your voice in this intentional space for reflection and discussion. What additional topics would you like me to offer in this group learning format? Comment below with ideas you’d like us to explore as a group. Together, we can learn and grow our compassionate understanding of our ourselves and those around us.
Do join us, won’t you? And please do bring this learning and connection to your social circles by sharing Pushing Past the Pages with a colleague, coachee, or friend.
Hope to see you soon! Thank you for being here!