|Student Teams-Achievement Divisions
STAD is probably the most common form of cooperative learning. This is primarily because STAD is the model that is most closely related to traditional teaching. A STAD class will begin with a teacher lecture or speech of some sorts. This is the part of STAD that is traditional. In all of the other models for cooperative learning, the teacher plays a much smaller role in classroom discussions. Following the lecture, there will be what is called team-study. This will involve a group of four or five students discussing or doing homework from that day's lecture. These groups will represent diversity in terms of academic ability, gender, and ethnicity. The teamwork in STAD is the most important aspect. It is designed for students to gain the ability to work together with others to learn the material. Students within the teams can work however they choose, as long as they work together. They can work with partners within the team and report back to the other team members, or work indvidually and report back to the other team members. The key is to make certain that every team member has a say, and that no final decisions are made without the approval of everyone in the team.
This process will continue everyday for an entire unit or chapter. It will then be followed up with a test for each individual student. It is important in the testing process to have an individual improvement score for each student. That means that the teacher will establish with each student a minimum goal score for a particular test based on past scores and improvements. Then, after the student has taken the test, compare the goal score with the actual score to get the improvement score. You can also establish team improvement scores by adding up the improvement scores of each individual within a team.
This may seem to be nothing more than a traditional classroom with group work, but the difference is that after the test, the teacher will assess each student both individually and as part of their team-study group. That is, a student will not just be graded on his or her individual homework, test, and class participation, but will also be graded on his or her group's work, participation in the group, and the group's participation in the entire class.
The STAD model of cooperative learning is a very good model to introduce cooperative learning. It is very easily implemented, and is not a far stretch from the familiarity of a traditional classroom. The STAD model will help the teacher become more comfortable with the cooperative learning process, and allow the student to have a better learning environment.