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Volume 16, Number 3
May/June 2000

Building a Bridge Between Research and Practice


At Parkway South High School in suburban St. Louis, students in Karen Bettis's French classes come prepared to work together. Since the school went to a block schedule of 90-minute classes last year, Bettis has been able to use group work in nearly every class. "I like working with groups because I see the positive benefits," she says.

During her 24-year teaching career, Bettis has attended several workshops on cooperative learning, yet she doesn't use any specific model of cooperative learning. "I know I don't follow all the rules of cooperative-learning activities," she says. "I choose what will work for my class." Defining the "rules" of cooperative learning can be confusing, especially when researchers disagree about what works best. Meanwhile, teachers like Bettis are taking the basic concepts behind cooperative learning and experimenting with ways to apply them in the classroom.

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