Chris Lowe is a Kagan trainer and the operator of Kagan Korea, a Kagan franchise located in Seoul that teaches Korean and international educators about the power of Kagan structures and theory. He is a former dance sports professional and his hair sweeps up to a central point high above his head like the spike on a rhinoceros.
He was the keynote speaker at the Korean Council of Overseas Schools annual educators conference, and I later attended several of his breakout sessions and lectures. His engaging style and fluent use of cooperative learning structures quickly convinced me of the power of structured interaction. I was doing some of the structures three days later when I returned to my classroom on Monday.
It was no great secret why his work was so effective. He made little tweaks to the tried and true conversational tricks that teachers use in their classrooms: "Turn and Talk" became "Rally Robin." "Discuss with your group" became "Round Robin." "Think about this question" became "Timed Pair Share" with your neighbor.
Three simple structures were enough to drastically change my practice in class. I started to wonder: how can I make all my interactions more collaborative? How can I turn my math and science classes into a place where students discuss and use the academic vocabulary as a routine to make it natural?
I worked hard the rest of that year to do what I could on my own, and when I heard they were offering a Kagan workshop the following September, I sprang for the chance to build up my skills.