Pedagogical literacies: A hidden benefit of the jigsaw technique


  • David Jay Anglia Ruskin University ARU, Cambridge
  • Sarah Etchells Anglia Ruskin University ARU, Cambridge
  • Stephanie Dimond-Bayir Anglia Ruskin University ARU, Cambridge


jigsaw, cooperative learning, pedagogical literacy, approaches to learning, engagement, cooperation, active learning


The jigsaw technique is a cooperative learning method in which students become “experts” in different areas, before sharing their expertise in “jigsaw” groups (Aronson & Patnoe 2011). It has become well established in primary and secondary classrooms, and is increasingly advocated in higher education. However, little is known about the specific impact of the technique on the pedagogical literacies of students and teaching staff. In this study, a series of five action research cycles was implemented, in order to investigate the technique across a range of disciplines. The findings clearly point to a positive impact on pedagogical literacies for both students and staff. Benefits for students included greater engagement with the topic and reflection on their learning conditions, and the acquisition of real-world skills. Staff reported opportunities for expansion of their pedagogical repertoire and facilitation of student-centred learning. It is therefore argued that higher education practitioners in diverse disciplines should make increased use of the jigsaw technique.