Carol Smith co-publishes article on cooperative learning in physical education

Having watched physical education majors struggle with engaging students in a meaningful reflective process while teaching cooperative learning and adventure-based learning, the associate professor of wellness and her co-authors developed the "Sunday afternoon drive" debrief model to provide the framework for a student-centered reflection for upper elementary through university-age students.   

Carol Smith, assistant professor of wellness, recently co-published an article titled "A Model for Group Processing in Cooperative Learning" in the March 2019 issue of the Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

Group processing is arguably the pivotal element when implementing cooperative learning (CL). It is the primary vehicle to help group members reflect on behaviors that impede or enable group work. Participating in group processing facilitates students' understanding of their own personal and social development as they recognize how they have negotiated conflict, worked together to overcome struggles, and developed a new understanding of their group members.

Despite the pivotal role it plays within CL, group processing is often forfeited due to lack of time, the misguided notion that students reflect by simply engaging in the activities, or because teachers do not know how to facilitate an effective group-processing session. To counter these challenges, there is a need for a structured, student-centered approach.

Borrowing from the authors' work in adventure-based learning, this article proposes that the Sunday afternoon drive debrief model provides an approach that prioritizes group processing for teachers using CL. While the Sunday afternoon drive model is briefly explained in this article, the main focus is on specific pedagogical strategies that have been used while implementing CL.

Carol Smith is an associate professor in the Department of Education and Wellness at Elon University. Sue Sutherland is an associate professor in the Department of Human Sciences at The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. Paul T. Stuhr is an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology at California State University – San Marcos in San Marcos, CA. James Ressler is an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL. Anne Wiggin is a physical educator at Iotla Valley Elementary School in Franklin, NC.

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