To complete my master's degree, I have to create a professional project in lieu of a thesis. This project will be an 8 hour training session for my colleagues. The biggest piece of enlightenment came to me during our study of cooperative learning. Not having an undergrad degree in education, I was never made fully aware of the difference between group work and cooperative learning.
When my professor approached the topic of cooperative learning in the classroom, she fascinated me with her connection of the classroom to the body of Christ. In my paraphrase, this is what she said, "Each person is individually responsible for his or her own actions, but the bigger picture is to see that everyone in the group succeeds; each part of the body has a role in this success. The foot, the hand, the eyes, the mouth ... are all important, and although they may have different responsibilities, every single piece is necessary, and it is vital that these parts all work together in unity."
The goal of my professional project will be to train the teachers to create this atmosphere of unity in the classroom, using the example of the body of Christ. As Christians, we should already be striving to work together in community, in unity. We should want others to succeed as much as we want to be successful ourselves. Christianity is not a competition. Neither is education.
I want my classroom to be effective in teaching children to take personal responsibility for their role as an individual, but also as a citizen. Students need a deeper understanding of how their actions do not merely affect themselves. I intend to incorporate cooperative learning skills and activities to build this atmosphere where students learn to work together so that all have the opportunity to be successful citizens.