Jigsaw Classroom Technique

The jigsaw classroom technique restructures traditional classrooms to engineer reductions in tensions between groups of students and to improve academic performance. It is the clearest and most potent operationalization of the contact hypothesis, which itself is social psychology's preeminent theoretical perspective on reducing intergroup hostilities. This entry describes the jigsaw classroom technique's historical and theoretical context, as well as the implementation, outcomes, and evaluations of the technique.

Social psychology has long been concerned with understanding prejudice and working toward its reduction and elimination. Gordon Allport's 1954 volume, The Nature of Prejudice, provided the landmark social psychological analysis of prejudice and its etiology, as well as a framework—the contact hypothesis—for developing interventions to reduce prejudice and intergroup hostilities. The contact hypothesis asserts that prejudice and intergroup conflict ...

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