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Jigsaw Method in Teaching

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Our classrooms are still lingering on chalk to talk method but it does not mean that teachers are less equipped. They are full of resources, and they know how to interpret the lessons well in a forty minutes classroom but what they still miss is to dig out the real creativity of the student in their teaching. What matters in today’s teaching is not what the teachers teach but what the students learn. Teaching seems ineffective as the teacher’s inability to take control over the classroom without involving the entire class for learning. Teachers are frustrated since the outcome is always negative.

In such context, jigsaw method of teaching may be fruitful for any teacher. This innovative teaching technique jigsaw invented by Elliot Aronson and his group of friends in University of Texas, is a cooperative learning method that aims to increase students’ effectiveness through learning by doing actions and their participation as a team.  In other words, jigsaw is a collaborative learning approach that allows students to become participating “experts” during the lesson presentations. It also provides an opportunity for students to express their ideas in a particular subject and share their learning with their peers.  This method endorses both self and peer teaching that requires students to understand the subject matter at deeper level and engage in conversation, sorting out the problem, and acquiring the knowledge.

Like the jigsaw puzzle, each student in a group serves as the effective component and is responsible for learning and understanding the assigned task. After collecting the prior information each student unites their group and share each other what they have learned and experienced enabling and supporting all to grapple the whole subject matter. Each student’s part is essential as each box has its important role in completing the puzzle.

This technique enhances cooperation and collaboration between students encouraging them for achieving a better balance between competition and cooperation in learning. It fosters caring and supportive environment among students regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, socio-cultural, and economic backgrounds. While facilitating to achieve harmony in the multicultural classrooms it boosts self esteem and resilience and better reading and comprehension skills.

It develops cooperation, personal responsibility, teamwork and other interpersonal skills in the students. They transmit their ideas as teacher from the front of the classroom helping each other as the resource to have mastery over the subject matter. This helps in better learning environment, improves their motivation, and learning is no more burden and tiresome job for them. Students gather, analyze, and share appropriate ideas and information to their peers and everyone has at least a new idea to convey to their other friends. Instead of being indifferent to each other, students engage in cooperative learning and work together to maximize each other’s learning. There is no sense of rivalry either.

As a form of team work this teaching strategy helps students to develop skills for working independently in a team. Though they are interdependent to each other, they come up with a unique idea since each individual is the unique in him. Using jigsaw in the classroom improves the teamwork, class dynamics, and creates the trust filled environment among the peers. Effectiveness of teaching depends on teaching methods and this jigsaw method may be the best teaching strategy at the present since this method exposes the student to challenging situations and provides them with opportunities for interaction, consultation, cooperation, discussion with themselves and their teacher. It makes learning easier and students learn quicker when it becomes fun for them.

Bhoj Kumar Dhamala (M.A/ M.Phil-English, and a lecturer at Pushpalal Memorial College, Chabahil, Kathamndu)

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