A re-emerging technique in today’s classrooms is the jigsaw technique. The jigsaw classroom was first used in 1971 in Austin, Texas Aronson. It was developed as a way to reduce racial tension in a newly desegregated school district. After many fights and an environment of constant hostility, a research was conducted. The main contributing factor to this hostility was determined to be the competitive environment, between the newly mixed races, in the classroom.
In an attempt to move away from the more competitive classroom and to achieve a more cooperative one, Professor Aronson conducted the first use of the jigsaw strategy. It was first introduced to fifth graders who were to learn about the life of Eleanor Roosevelt Aronson. The children were arranged in small group that, deliberately, varied greatly in race ethnicity and gender. Each student would then be responsible for a specific part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s life. This is important because in many social groups, some students are viewed as outcasts or “losers. In one instance during the inaugural use of the jigsaw, for example, an observer heard students calling one little boy names like “stupid” or even making fun of his ability to speak English. Instead of admonishing the group, the observer only pointed out one fact, “Talking to Carlos like that might be fun for you to do, but it is not going to help you learn anything about what Eleanor Roosevelt accomplished at the United Nations—and the exam will be given in about 15 minutes” Aronson.Order now
In the following weeks, Carlos’s group soon realized that in order for them to perform well, they in turn needed Carlos to perform well on his assigned task and therefore took a more encouraging approach Aronson. Results like the example mentioned earlier are not rare. Many studies have proven the opposite. Children involved in jigsaw teaching like their classmates more Aronson. Both white and African American students hated school less and the absenteeism rate among these students dramatically dropped Aronson.
Children involved in jigsaw also out-performed their counterparts who remained in a competitive classroom environment Aronson. In the increasingly diverse student bodies of todays schools, there is a need to implement techniques and curriculum that apply to a vast array of cultures. The jigsaw technique is one way of accomplishing this. The entire success or failure of a group depends on the support of the group, as a whole, that is given to each individual member.
Every member is valued the same, as the group must rely on each member to obtain the full amount of information needed to pass a test. The jigsaw technique also allows members of a group to get to know each other regardless of race or sex and also regardless of whether or not the members would have spoken outside of the group. This in turn teaches understanding of each other and ones background. For these reasons alone, jigsaw is a worth while technique that I feel would be an invaluable part of any class that I would teach.