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Chronic stress creates distress – the kind of stress you or your students have little control over, such as a bad boss, an ill family member, etc. This stress can have serious long-term consequences for your health. On the other hand, transient stress, which students have some control over, isn’t generally harmful to health – it is instead a eustress (good stress) that can improve cognition, working memory, and physical strength. The neural chemicals released by transient stress may explain why students are more efficient and focused when studying for a nerve-racking test rather than simply lounging around and studying for a nerve-racking test rather than simply lounging around “studying” at their leisure. Transient stress releases hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol in the brain. In moderate amounts, these molecules enhance the connections between neurons. But too much stress, even if it’s just transient, changes the effects of the glucocorticoid “oil” so nothing flows

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Call To Action


Socioemotional learning is the process of developing the self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, relationship skills, and social awareness that are vital for school, work, and life success. As child grow older, their need for socioemotional learning grows more sophisticated. Students often need coaching to learn to share, take turns, set boundaries, manage conflict, and be assertive when they need to be. Collaborative learning groups are those with a common goal, an equal distribution of workload, and close contact within the group while they work toward the goal. These can provide students with support, feedback, a sense of belonging, and opportunities for friendship.
Research indicates that the “social buffering” provided by supportive group members can reduce a student’s skyrocketing stress hormone levels when they encounter new and difficult tasks. Well-done collaborative learning can provide opportunities to enhance students’ self-control, patience, social problem-solving skills, self-esteem, and emotional intelligence.


The more assistance working memory gets from the prior knowledge stored in long-term memory, the easier it is for students, especially students with less working memory capacity, to learn new material. Background training. It increases the size of the pieces of information that your working memory can hold. The transformative effect of education is not that it changes students’ working memory capacity. Education instead changes the amount of knowledge held in long-term memory.

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The term inclusivity means reaching out to include those whoa re commonly marginalized or excluded. An inclusive classroom describes teaching students who receive special education services and general education students in the same classroom. Learning is not the same for everyone, and a one-size-fits-all approach rarely works for every brain. Because working memory capacities and background knowledge can vary dramatically from student to student, the instruction teachers provide shouldn’t look the same for everyone. Enter differentiation. Differentiation means teaching the same content and skills to all students but using different approaches to meet individual needs.


When designing any collaborative learning experience, you may wish to consider these components of cooperative learning:

  • Positive interdependence: ask yourself, does each student have a role? Are roles linked in a way that individual members rely on other members of the group? Is the workload equally distributed?
  • Individual accountability: how is each student responsible for their own learning? What artifacts will I collect from individual students to provide evidence
  • Face-to-face interaction: are interactions set up so that the group sometimes must meet face-to-face, as opposed to each member doing their own thing and then just stapling the products together?
  • Social skill: what social skills need to be taught or reinforced
  • Positive interdependence: ask yourself, does each student have a role? Are roles linked in a way that individual members rely on other members of the group? Is the workload equally distributed?

Prep the activity. Collaborative groups work best when everyone has a role and students contribute equally. Plot the responsibilities for each role that you assign to each member of the group. A typical set of roles for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) topics include:

• Coordinator: keeps everyone on task and makes sure everyone is involved
• Recorder: prepares the final solution to be submitted
• Monitor: confirms that everyone understands both the solution and the strategy used to get it
• Checker: double-checks work before it is handed in. Ensures agreement is reached on the next meeting time and roles are assigned for next assignment. For teams of three, the same person should cover the monitor and checker roles Define social skills. On the board, present your behavioural expectations for students. Examples of behavioural expectations include:
Addressing group members by name Remaining with the group Taking turns speaking – and don’t go on too long when it is your turn to speak
Actively listen to one another Define an appropriate noise level Disagree cimultiplevilly Integrate group members’ ideas Standard procedures for collaborative group work include:
1. Assign the task | 2. Specify the amount of time you are giving | 3. Follow up with students before they get started
4. Keep students on the clock and monitor their progress | 5. Use the “three before me” approach | 6. Provide a transition cue