Jigsaw Classroom


Jigsaw ClassroomBack when I was in college staying in a hostel dorm, fun starts at midnight – the day before the exam. Most of the students will not have a clue about what to read, leave aside having ample time to prepare. To make things easy, sometimes my friends and I used to split the entire syllabus into parts. Each person prepares their part all night and next day morning teach the rest of us.

It used to work most of the time. Its saves us time and it’s easy to remember concepts when I friend teaches us in our common language as opposed to reading directly from the book and extracting the meaning for all the scientific terms.

What we practiced above is called a Jigsaw classroom in psychological terms. Official definition sates – “The jigsaw classroom as a group learning format, created by American social psychologist Elliot Aronson. Rather than compete against each other, students are encouraged to cooperate in the learning process. A structure is created where small groups of students are each given a part of the material to learn, and are responsible for teaching it to the other students in the class.”

Not very different from what we did back in those days, only difference being we did not know that what we practiced is a valid scientific theory and we did it because we were lazy and wanted save time while the actual theory is intentional. It’s similar to the divide and conquer rule.

3 weeks back my company had to release a project on tight deadline. They realized based on the members working on the team there is no way they can achieve it. So they pulled in people from other teams, divided the work across everyone and completed the project on time. A perfect example of divide and conquer. If you observer closely events in your life, you will notice that lot of things are based on this common theory. Splitting the work and getting things done is the motto.

I am sure most of us are already practicing it but did not realize it so far. Now that we know about it, we should make sure we use it even more to help us in our personal growth and well being.

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