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Jigsaw Classroom

Social psychologist Elliot Aronson introduced the jigsaw classroom in 1971, while a professor at the University of Texas at Austin. It was first used as a teaching/learning strategy to help defuse a potentially explosive situation in Austin—its racially segregated schools were slowly desegregating. The primary purpose of the technique was to help teachers eliminate desegregated social patterns that emerged in racially diverse classrooms; likewise, it was applied by teachers for defusing violence in desegregated schools, as well as easing social problems among diverse students.

It is frequently used in elementary and secondary classrooms and, although less a fixture in college classrooms, it is nonetheless applicable. The name jigsaw is derived from its method of having each student become an informational puzzle piece; that is, students assemble ...

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