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Cooperative Learning

There are many benefits from using Cooperative Learning. Students will appreciate the value of teamwork and make a positive contribution when working with others to solve problems and complete tasks. Students learn research skills more readily when skills are shared through cooperative learning. Cooperative Learning allows students to enhance their ability to manage ideas and information in collaboration with others.

Cooperative Learning allows students to observe, imitate, and learn from each other. Students keep each other on task and share a sense of accomplishment. The encouragement, support, and approval of peers build motivation and make learning an enjoyable experience. In addition, with advances in technology and changes in the workforce infrastructure, the teamwork and cooperation learned through Cooperative Learning activities is of high value for the future success for the students.

What is Cooperative Learning?

Cooperative Learning is a method of teaching and learning in which students form teams for structured activities to achieve a common goal. They are individually accountable for their work, and the work of the entire group. Members of cooperative teams work together and have clearly defined roles. Merely putting students in groups and letting them work together is not enough to constitute Cooperative Learning.

Cooperative Learning should include five essentials:

  1. Positive Interdependence
    Students realize that each individual affects the work and success of the others. The work is structured so that students must share information in order to complete their cooperative tasks.

  2. Student-to-Student Interaction
    The teacher openly encourages students to help each other. Students share resources with each other, provide constructive feedback, challenge other members' reasoning and ideas, keep an open mind, act in a trustworthy way, and promote a safe feeling for all by reducing anxiety.

  3. Individual Accountability
    Even though students work together, they also perform independently. Each individual's performance is assessed. Students must take personal responsibility for working toward the group goal(s).

  4. Social Skills
    Students learn and use appropriate social skills that include leadership, decision-making, trust building, communication, and conflict-management.

  5. Group Process
    To better develop the group process, students must analyze how well they are achieving their goals while maintaining effective working relationships.

What are some Cooperative Learning Approaches?

To be successful, Cooperative Learning tasks are designed by teachers so that students are required to depend on one another to complete the assigned tasks and to master content and skills. There are many Cooperative Learning approaches that are designed to achieve different objectives. When these approaches are used frequently and correctly, students will acquire the positive results of Cooperative Learning. Several Cooperative Learning approaches are described below.

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