PCK, TPACK and Jigsaw

I am familiar with PCK and TPACK from earlier courses and when I first encountered it, I found it an extremely useful framework to adopt as a teaching philosophy because it allows me to visually explore the areas of my teaching I can reflect and improve on. That is, PCK “identifies the distinctive bodies of knowledge for teaching” (Shulman, p. 8) where pedagogy and content knowledge is the blend of where effective teaching can be established. Furthermore, the introduction of technology as another body of knowledge is relevant to learning environments today because it has the ability to influence both content and pedagogy in positive ways. Overall, TPACK incorporates all the elements an educator needs to master and understand in order to create an effective technology integrated learning environment for all types of learners.

An example of PCK I have used is jigsaw cooperative learning, where students participate in a collaborative learning environment. Individually, students are each responsible for one part of the content knowledge. Students then come back together to share their learning with one another through discussion and exchanges. Together, they form a more complete picture of the topic of study. Each student also becomes an expert on one aspect of the topic. It is considered PCK because of the intertwining of the strategy of jigsaw cooperative learning with the content knowledge and this type of learning environment depends on the topic of study.Specifically, if individual students are only knowledgeable about one part of a topic, the emphasis of learning should be the collaborative nature of the experience, rather than just the content because each individual student should not then be assessed on the entire topic.

Shulman, L.S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4 -14.


  1. Hi Gloria,

    I enjoyed reading your example of jigsaw cooperative learning. This sounds like a great way to encourage independent thinking with the ultimate intention of collaboration with peers – a neat mix of the two. I also like that in this case, students are given the opportunity to teach students. While I do not have a citation for this next comment, I have been told many times during my teaching career that the best way for a student to learn is to know the material well enough to be able to teach another. In your example, not only do students have the opportunity to learn from a peer (which, of course, is much more exciting for students than learning from their teacher), but they are also given the opportunity to teach their peers, allowing them that next level of understanding as well as the pride of being an “expert.”

  2. Hi Gloria,
    I think the jigsaw examples is a great way to develop cooperative learning skills among your students. Each student is given the opportunity to demonstrate their area of expertise and have a stake in the group project. The collaborative nature of that activity fits in nicely with the PCK principles. These types of activities are so much more meaningful to student learning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *