© 2012 GIA.
Imagine entering a classroom full of excitement. A classroom that buzzes with activity and enthusiasm. A classroom full of joyful social interaction, a desire to excel, and where students are happy, motivated, and brimming with ideas.
Imagine being the teacher in that classroom, walking from group to group, observing as learning takes place among the students—without directly being involved in the teaching. For many teachers, this might sound like an impossible dream, but I’m thrilled to tell you it is not. I’ve seen it happen many times through an approach called cooperative learning.
When cooperative learning is set in place, the students become teachers of other students, and the teacher becomes the facilitator. Ideas come from the students, and develop into learning and activity. Students become more independent and responsible for their own learning, and are more capable of applying what they have learned to solve problems within the framework of the subject.
The teacher clearly will realize that the students are excited to learn, to share their ideas, and to work with their peers. And the teacher learns, too! Cooperative learning creates a happy, enthusiastic environment that benefits everyone, and helps students thrive in the 21st Century. My dream for you is that you discover how cooperative learning can enhance and even transform your music teaching, and provide your students with opportunities to embrace music with the joy and natural abandon that children possess.
Carol Huffman has taught and lectured on music education throughout the U.S. and Canada. She is currently Adjunct Professor at Indiana University’s Jacob School of Music, where she teaches courses on early childhood and elementary general music education.
"Making Music Cooperatively: Using Cooperative Learning in Your Active Music-Making Classroom has changed the way I teach and the way my students learn. Carol [Huffman] has done an excellent job explaining the principles of cooperative learning and guiding the music teacher in how to be successful implementing it in the music classroom." —Peggy Benkeser, Music Teacher at Cliff Valley School