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The Jigsaw Classroom experiment, was conducted by Elliot Aronson in 1971, compared traditional competitive classroom learning with interdependent cooperative learning. The experiment, conducted in the Austin, Texas school system following desegregation, was spurred by interracial fighting between students in the schools.
The experiment involved forming learning groups (jigsaw groups) where each student relied on other students in their group to acquire information necessary to succeed on an exam. The groups were racially integrated and required cooperation between members in order to achieve academic success.
When compared to traditional classrooms where students competed individually, students in the cooperative jigsaw groups demonstrated lower discrimination, fewer stereotyped attitudes, and higher academic achievement.
The jigsaw classroom in related to the contact hypothesis, that if groups of separate ingroups and outgroups come together on a task their biases will disperse. These things need to be satisfied before this will work:
- Equal status among members in the contact groups.
- Work together on a task for which all will have to come together to complete the task.
- Social norms support in.
- People in authority support it.
- Personal communications among the members.
References & Bibliography
- Aronson, E., & Gonzalez, A. (1988). Desegregation, jigsaw and the Mexican-American experience. In P. Katz and D. Taylor (Eds.), Eliminating racism. New York: Plenum.
- Aronson, E., & Goode, E. (1980). Training teachers to implement jigsaw learning: A manual for teachers. In S. Sharan, P. Hare, C. Webb, and R. Hertz-Lazarowitz (Eds.), Cooperation in Education (pp. 47-81). Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press.
- Aronson, E., Blaney, N., Stephin, C., Sikes, J., & Snapp, M. (1978). The jigsaw classroom. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publishing Company.
- Aronson, E., & Patnoe, S. (1997). The jigsaw classroom: Building cooperation in the classroom (2nd ed.). New York: Addison Wesley Longman.
- Carroll, D. W. (1986). Use of the jigsaw technique in laboratory and discussion classes. Teaching of Psychology, 13, 208-210.
- Clarke, J. (1994). Pieces of the puzzle: The jigsaw method. In S. Sharan (Ed.), Handbook of cooperative learning methods. Westport CT: Greenwood Press.
- Aronson, E., & Thibodeau, R. (1992). The jigsaw classroom: A cooperative strategy for reducing prejudice. In J. Lynch, C. Modgil, and S. Modgil (Eds.), Cultural diversity in the schools. London: Falmer Press.
- Aronson, E., & Yates, S. (1983). Cooperation in the classroom: The impact of the jigsaw method on inter-ethnic relations, classroom performance and self-esteem. In H. Blumberg and P. Hare (Eds.), Small groups. London: John Wiley & Sons.
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