Ben Johnson served as an administrator in large and small schools, and at a charter school. He was the assistant superintendent of the Natalia Independent School District where he helped bring about major improvements in student learning.
"Good Morning! You are seated in groups because you will be working together to find real solutions to real problems. You will have to collaborate with your group members to arrive at a solution. Are you ready?"
No response. Timid nods.
"Ok, your first assignment is to invent a product that fills a real need. Then create a marketing plan for a company that sells this product. Determine the price of your product and your target audience, and design a sales poster and presentation explaining the benefits of the product or reasons your target audience would want to buy this product."
No response. No action.
The typical first day silence lasted a whole week. Students who were used to being told what to do and what to think, now had to think in ways in which they were not accustomed, and even worse, they had to do it with other students from other schools. They had to collaborate in a manner for which their years of cooperative learning in middle and grade school had not prepared them.