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Jigsaw Techniques- Meaning| Procedure & Advantages

Jigsaw Techniques- Meaning| Procedure & Advantages


The jigsaw technique is a part of cooperative learning and a technique of organizing classroom activity in which students are dependent upon one other to succeed. Strength of classroom is broken down into many small groups and breaks assignments into pieces that the group assembles to complete the jigsaw puzzles.

This technique splits classes into mixed groups to work on small problems that the group collects into a final outcome.

For e.g.- In class, assignment is divided into topics. Students are then split into groups in which each member is assigned with a topic. Working individually each student learns about his or her topic and present it to their group. Then, students gather into groups which was divided by topic. Each member again gives presentation in their group. In same group, students reconcile points of view and synthesize information. They create a final report. Finally the groups that was allotted reconvene and hear to presentations from each member. The final presentation is given by all the group members with an understanding of their own material, as well as the findings that have emerged from the topic specific group discussion.

History of Jigsaw Technique

In 1950s, America was facing desegregation of public schools. In 1954, Supreme Court of US created a legal requirement for integration of public schools. Therefore, schools were plugged with fights, discrimination and hate crimes. While supremacist groups and hateful white students terrorized new students. This prevented students from feeling safe in their school and harmed all their learning abilities. Students could hardly sit in the same room together without incident, very few worked together. This created problems for teachers, students, parents, communities and the country alike, entire generations of students were distracted from learning by hatred and discrimination.

In 1971, Dr. Elliot Aronson was hired to advise an Austin, Texas administrative district, on the way to defuse the issues of hostile classrooms and distrusts between the scholars or students, so Dr. E. Aronson look a psychological approach to fix the problem in the classroom.

It was quickly realized that the competitive nature of the classroom students to taunt each other and discriminate against those different than them. In order to counter this problem, students were placed in diversified groups and they would be required to work together and present the topic assigned to them. Students were having difficulty adjusting to the blending or mixing of ethnicity in the classroom. Aronson created an atmosphere for increased collaboration and reduction of the resistance to work together with one another. Aronson created assignment that made every member of the group equally important. The students had to pay attention and obtain much information from other group members. This allows each members of the group to add a small piece of the larger picture. This taught the students to rely on each other and reduced their competitive attitude towards each other because they need everyone in their group to perform well as their grades depends on the other students.

Procedure to conduct Jigsaw activity

Jigsaw activity could be completed by following some steps which are as follows:

  1. Divide students into jigsaw group of 5-6 persons.
  2. Appoint one student from each group as the leader.
  3. Divide the day’s lesson into 5-6 segments.
  4. Assign each student to learn one segment from the topic given to the group.
  5. Provide some time to students to read over their segment at least twice and become familiar with it.
  6. Form temporary “expert groups” by having one student from each jigsaw group join other students assigned to the same segment.
  7. Bring student to back into their jigsaw groups.
  8. Each student is asked to present their segment to the group.
  9. Check the progress of each groups.

Advantages of Jigsaw Technique

Jigsaw technique or activity is an important strategy of the classroom teaching. Some of its advantages are:

  • Jigsaw activity is easy to learn.
  • All the students are engaged in the activity and plays an equally important role.
  • Most teacher and student enjoy working and learning from it.
  • It can be used along with other teaching strategies.
  • It is effective even if only used for an hour per day.
  • Students’ communication and social skills are also developed.
  • Cooperation, team work spirit, etc. skills are inculcated in the students.

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